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Plans to turn the old Tollgate Hotel in Gravesend into a petrol station approved by Gravesham council

16 January 2014
by Thom Morris

The 114 room hotel will now be demolished to make way for the drive-thru restaurant, with car park, 16-pump petrol station, and shop.

The plans went Gravesham councillors last night.

The Tollgate Hotel, in Watling Street, Gravesend.

The Tollgate Hotel, in Watling Street, Gravesend.

In total there were 33 objection letters, 363 circular letters and a petition opposing the idea signed by 1,784 people.

Members of the regulatory board seemed keen to not grant permission, desperately seeking a legal way the plans could be turned down.

However, the plans were sound and no planning objections, including highway fears, could be found.

Cllr Lee Croxton said: "I think all of us would like to see a hotel, but unfortunately we have to determine what's in front of us now, according to planning law.

"If I could find a lawful reason, I would turn it down. I think it's going to be chaos, but there is no legal grounds. I have to support it".

A protest was held against the plans.

A protest was held against the plans.

Cllr John Burden asked: "Is there any highways objections we can use so we can say no?"

To which the answer was no.

In total, about 40 people attended the meeting to discover the decision.

Cllr Burden said: "We have to take the advice from our officers and I'm not willing to go against it."

The Tollgate Hotel was bought by the Highways Agency under a compulsory purchase order in November 2006 for £4.85 million when the A2 was widened.

Once that was finished, for several years it was offered for sale and marketed as a site suitable for continued hotel use.

Simon Privett is angry about plans to build a new BP garage opposite his BP garage

Simon Privett is angry about plans to build a new BP garage opposite his BP garage

The restaurant is likely to employ 65 staff. Deliveries of stock to McDonald’s would roughly be three times a week.

The petrol station expects one delivery each day for both petrol and stock.

The plans have angered the owner of the existing BP petrol station on land opposite the Tollgate site, who was not informed of the idea by his supplier.

Simon Privett, who bought his garage in 1998, said he would cause as much trouble as he could and refuse to close, as BP wants.

Despite Mr Privett organising a petition, holding demonstrations and putting up signs, the planning officer said: “Competition between businesses or diversion of trade is not a material planning consideration.

“The question of need or whether there are too many already are also not material considerations to the determination of the planning application.

“It is considered that on balance there are no overriding reasons on planning policy, highway, design or other planning considerations to reject the current proposal.”

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