Postwick petrol station plans refused after concerns Norwich’s drinking water supply could be contaminated
- Credit: Mike Page
Plans for a petrol station near Norwich have been turned down after councillors heard there was a 'real risk' the city's drinking water supply could become contaminated.
Monte Blackburn and Pigeon Investments were hoping to build the petrol station, along with a drive-through KFC and Starbucks, in the heart of the Postwick Hub.
The site is located next to the A47 and A1042, and has previously been used as a vehicle compound.
Speaking at Broadland District Council's planning committee meeting on Wednesday, Nick Walters, from Anglian Water, raised concerns about the potential impact on a nearby ground water source.
The company's borehole, which provides drinking water to more than 60,000 people in Norwich, is located 200m away from the proposed development.
But Mr Walters said the petrol station's three underground storage tanks sat above a chalk deposit, which Anglian Water extracts ground water from.
He said: 'It is clear we are in a very sensitive location and there is a real risk of serious or irreversible impact on a highly vulnerable ground water extraction site.
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'Anything that goes into the ground at that point will reach our source.'
Mr Walters told councillors there were 'very serious' health implications to drinking hydrocarbons, and it could take days to pick up any traces of contamination.
He also questioned why the Environment Agency had chosen to 'disregard' its own principles by not objecting the to plans.
Marcus Bell, from Environmental Protection Strategies, which worked with the applicant on the scheme, said the proposed type of storage tanks had 'never leaked' at previous sites.
He said they were made up of two skins, with compressed air in between, which is monitored by a third-party company to detect any leak.
Despite Mr Bell's assurances, Conservative councillor for Hellesdon South East ward, Tony Adams, said: 'I have never ever known Anglian Water to raise an objection. Now that they have, and raised it on very good grounds, I think we should listen to what they have to say.'
He put forward a motion to refuse the plans. Committee members voted nine-two in favour of refusing the application.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: 'Whilst the Environment Agency normally objects to applications of this nature in Source Protection Zone 1 (SPZ1), each site is assessed individually and we will work with applicants where risks can be clearly mitigated through planning conditions.
'Due to the innovative design of the proposed underground fuel storage tanks and pipework we have removed our initial objection to this application. However, we have imposed strict conditions on the application all of which need to be met and all of which have safeguards built in to ensure we are consulted before, during and after construction.'