Uncertain future for Tring’s only petrol station and motorist centre

GV of Shell Garage in Tring PNL-161110-123949001
GV of Shell Garage in Tring PNL-161110-123949001

Tring could lose its only petrol station and a motorist centre if plans to bulldoze them and build retirement flats are given the green light.

Staff at the Shell garage and Market Auto Centre in Brook Street were surprised to learn that there are proposals for 35 apartments on their site.

It would mean demolishing the garage and motorist centre to make way for the development which includes a garden and car park.

Drivers would have to travel three miles to Cow Roast or Aston Clinton for the nearest petrol station.

A planning application is yet to be submitted but there was a public exhibition of the draft proposals at Tring School last week.

Doug Tait, who runs the motorist centre, is frantically looking for an alternative site but he ‘has his fingers crossed’ that the application is thrown out.

“It’s a shame having been here for 24 years,” he said. “We will certainly contest it because we’ve built up a regular customer base – they are gobsmacked.

“But it’s a big site, it was always going to happen. I wasn’t surprised (to hear).”

The Mayor of Tring Mike Hicks has concerns about the plans but he thinks ‘development is inevitable’.

“It looks a bit cramped to me,” he said. “Tring is under a lot of pressure and it is sad that a lot of young people are being driven out of the town because they can’t afford to live here.

“It’s also sad that we might lose a petrol station but we can’t complain in planning terms for losing a facility.

“They (the developers) want to make a feature out of part of it (the building). It might look awful, it might look nice.

“A lot of people do use that garage and they will have to go somewhere else. Gardeners who want to get a gallon of petrol for the mower are going to be stuck.”

There are also concerns about traffic movement, an ‘insufficient’ number of bays and that residents of Nursery Gardens could be faced with a view of a brick wall through their windows.

A spokesman for the developer agent Peter Brett stressed that they are only draft plans and that there are expected to be ‘some amendments to the scheme’. She added: “We have had a number of responses from the public and we are currently going through them.”