Safety concerns over former filling station

Councillor Merson at the disused petrol station in Ellon
Councillor Merson at the disused petrol station in Ellon

An Ellon councillor is seeking assurances that a derelict filling station - labelled by many in the community as an eyesore - has been properly decommissioned.

Councillor Rob Merson fears that old fuel in tanks beneath the former Craighall Filling Station in South Road could potentially cause pollution.

The disused Texaco Garage

The disused Texaco Garage

A safety report on the site is overdue and contamination tests have recently been carried out. The owners, Regency Oils, have until May 29 to submit a report to the council.

The filling station stopped trading in October, 2011.

Regency Oils tabled an application at the beginning of last year to demolish the garage and create 16 flats.

Before it can be considered by Formartine Area Committee, the land contamination survey has to be completed.

Councillor Merson, a former managing director of a fuel distribution company, contacted council environmental officials and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to ensure that the site is safe.

He said: “The deteriorating state of this property has been the subject of considerable concern and criticism by the local community, given that it occupies a ‘gateway’ site to the town.

“I have recently been given reason for concern that the filling station may now present a significant pollution hazard.”

The councillor has pointed out the decommissioning of underground fuel storage tanks is a matter of good practice and statutory regulation.

Ellon Community Council called for the owners to tidy up the rundown forecourt last year, but it remains untouched.

Chairman, Sandy McDougall, said that while the community council are pleased to see action being taken to progress the planning application, they do not consider the plans a suitable development for the site.

In a letter to planners earlier this year, the community council said: “The architectural style of the properties put forward is not in keeping with the nature of the surrounding structure.

“Ellon has a rich architectural heritage and members feel this should be protected and any development on the site should reflect and enhance that heritage.”

Regency Oils were contacted by the Times for comment but have not so far responded.