12:32pm Thursday 23rd February 2012
By Alex Winter
The last petrol station on the east of Chippenham has closed, with motorists being forced to take a detour to fill up their cars.
The Total garage in London Road has come to the end of its lease and Chippenham Motor Company has snapped up the premises.
It is due to reopen with space to display up to 50 more cars for sale in early March.
The company hopes that three or more new sales jobs will be created through the extension, which will create room for a larger forecourt on which to display cars.
Nigel Barnes, an ambulance driver based at RAF Lyneham, lives on the east of the town in Wood Lane and said he is frustrated that the garage is set to close.
“I hadn’t been aware that it was closing until I visited and saw that all but one of the pumps had tags on them stopping motorists from using them,” he said.
“I went inside and the shelves were empty too.
“I’d wondered if they were refurbishing but they told me the lease was up and they weren’t going to be renewing it. There isn’t one for me until I get to Lyneham, and then I have to go a mile further and double back.
“It’s a silly thing but a frustrating one, and it will affect a lot of people. I wasn’t aware of any notice telling motorists the garage would be closing, so it was a bit of a surprise, and it is inconvenient.”
Calne mayor Glenis Ansell, who works at the Credit Union in Redland, Chippenham, said it was a real shame the garage would be closing.
“I always fill up my car there when I’m on my way to work,” she said.
“The staff are always nice and polite. It’s such a shame to lose this facility.
“There’s nowhere to fill up your car all the way to Calne.”
The garage was manned by employees who also complete shifts at the garage on Rowden Hill, but a spokesperson was unable to confirm if there would be any job losses as a result of the changes.
Rob Perks, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “It seems like a real shame that this garage has had to close. It was always priced very well.
“While it’s good news that the Chippenham Motor Company will be taking on the premises, it’s yet another sign that supermarkets are pricing all the competition out of the market.
“These smaller petrol stations are forced to compete and often they just can’t. It’s very unfortunate indeed.”
Total had not responded to a request for a comment by the time the Gazette went to press.
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