BP’s proposal to build a new petrol station at the top of Udimore Road was turned down by Rother District Council (RDC) on Wednesday, May 30.
The proposal to build the petrol station had already been rejected by Rye Town Council on the grounds of the “adverse affect on rural character of area and entrance to the High Weald AONB” and its “unduly prominent and intrusive impact on the landscape.” The application also received substantial local opposition with a petition signed by residents and a further 74 letters of objection sent to RDC. The issue of increased traffic that the garage would generate was highlighted along with the fact that the petrol station would be perched on top of an elevated ridge and visible for miles around. Both the Rye Conservation Society and Rother Environmental Group (REG) opposed the plan. REG pointed out that BP is “pursuing an out of date technology which relies on the burning of fossil fuels” in reference to the UK Government’s decision to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
There were though a dozen letters of support for the development, with a few people pointing out that Rye needed an additional petrol station. The Rye Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group’s view was “that this is the right proposal but in the wrong place” and also recommended refusal.
On balance RDC rejected the scheme because the BP petrol station “and the associated built structures would result in an undesirable encroachment into open countryside beyond the established development edge, representing a discordant and damaging feature on the edge of the town boundary. It would adversely affect not only the entrance to the AONB, travelling southwest along the Udimore Road, but also, heading east, on the outskirts of the medieval town of Rye.”
Only time will tell if BP will appeal or submit another revised application but it will have some very stiff opposition to overcome if it does.
Image from BP’s application