Trust hoping to turn gas on again for drivers in Newcastleton
Villagers won't have to step on the gas and motor for miles every time they want to fill up if a planning bid submitted this week is approved.
Scottish Borders Council has received an application for the demolition and rebuilding of a former petrol station at the heart of Newcastleton.
The existing filling station in North Hermitage Street is unoccupied and said to be of no architectural merit.
The building is in poor condition, with both its walls and roof being deemed structurally unsafe.
The plan is to build an unmanned fuel station with electric vehicle-charging points and a community store on the site, owned by Newcastleton and District Community Trust.
A trust report outlines the benefits to villagers of the project, saying: “Consultation was undertaken as part of the community development plan questionnaire circulated to 685 households.
“This provided valuable insights into habits – shopping, distances travelled to purchase fuel and the frustrations with connectivity.
“There is no fuel available for a round trip of 50 miles or 60 minutes, thus support for reinstating fuel is high, with 82% stating they will use the pumps, 50% recognising the benefits of convenience, avoiding unnecessary travel and saving money.
“The impact of just a fraction of those savings being spent in our local economy will have enormous impact.
“It will create confidence among businesses to expand and create jobs.
“It will enhance existing services and enable us to develop new ones to tackle some of the community concerns.
“This study concludes that without fuel, the community will face a continuing decline in our services and the gradual erosion of rural community life.”
The report also says that, if successful, the project would provide the community with benefits for “generations to come”.
It adds: “It is considered that the scale of the proposal is appropriate and that the scale of the development would not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the conservation area.
“The site and existing area are in a poor state and detract from the street scene. The proposed development will revitalise the area and improve the visual appearance of the surrounding area and adjoining residential properties.
“The project will help deliver social, environmental and economic benefits for generations to come, helping sustain our remote community.”