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Tenterden drivers angry over high petrol prices at Esso garages in Ashford Road and Rolvenden Road

Drivers are complaining that they are being left out of pocket because of the high cost of petrol at garages in Tenterden.

Motorists say they have no real choice but to pay more at the pump – or face a costly and inconvenient journey out of town in search of a cheaper deal.

As the cost of petrol has plummeted across Ashford borough in recent weeks, with prices at Tesco in Willesborough and Sainsbury’s Bybrook dipping below the £1 per litre mark, at 99.9p, the indicator boards in Tenterden have stayed resolutely fixed.

The Esso garage in Ashford Road, St Michael's
The Esso garage in Ashford Road, St Michael's

Tenterden’s two petrol stations – the Esso garages at Ashford Road and CB Motors in Rolvenden Road, were both charging the same price – £105.9 per litre.

Businessman Guy Day is fuming over the higher cost of fuel in town and said: “The two garages always seem to charge the same high price and it’s a liberty.

“The average fill-up is around 40 litres, meaning at the current prices people are paying £2 over the top for their petrol.

“It is costing the Tenterden economy as it’s money that people will not have to spend in the shops.”

Guy Day is unhappy with the high cost of petrol in Tenterden
Guy Day is unhappy with the high cost of petrol in Tenterden

The care agency and newspaper delivery boss added: “It’s not always easy for people to go out of town to Peasmarsh and Ashford to find cheaper petrol, especially the elderly.”

His concerns were echoed by Alan Pickering, chairman of High Halden Parish Council, who said: “People living in Tenterden seem to be paying a premium for their petrol as the garages have a captive market.

“I think the companies see Tenterden as a wealthy retirement town and I’m upset that people are having to pay more for their petrol.”

The Esso garage in Rolvenden Road, Tenterden
The Esso garage in Rolvenden Road, Tenterden

But Michael Eggleshaw, boss of the CB Motors petrol station, has hit back at critics, saying that he constantly reviews prices against similar garages in Staplehurst, Headcorn and Cranbrook to ensure he remains competitive.

He said a small business cannot compete with the retail giants.

Mr Eggleshaw said: “My petrol station is not a Tesco or Sainsbury’s. These businesses do a lot more volume and have a much higher turnover than me.”

He added: “When I have 50-60 thousand litres left in the ground, I can’t just drop the fuel price immediately like the supermarkets who sell petrol quickly. I have to base my charge on what I paid for it in the first place.”

The boss said that he worked on very small margins and had to factor in staffing and electricity costs and what he described as Tenterden’s “colossal” business rates in his calculations.

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