South Tyneside residents’ fear over car wash plans

SITE WORRIES ... Coun John McCabe with College Road residents Ann Hanwell and Phil George outside Mill Lane filling station.
SITE WORRIES ... Coun John McCabe with College Road residents Ann Hanwell and Phil George outside Mill Lane filling station.

PLANS for a new car wash complex in Hebburn are creating waves among local residents.

There are concerns about a scheme to convert Mill Lane Service Station into a hand car wash centre.

Residents in nearby College Road say they already have problems with water spray from an existing car wash at the site blowing into their homes.

There are also fears over floodlighting and the loss of parking spaces and a popular shop on the forecourt.

Complaints about the scheme have already been lodged with South Tyneside Council, which will consider the application in the next few weeks.

Ann Hanwell, 61, who has lived in College Road, just yards from the garage, for more than 30 years, said: “I just fear that the spray from the cars will blow across our homes if the site isn’t properly screened.

“For years, residents have had an arrangement with the garage, so we can park on an area of the forecourt. But looking at the plans, this won’t be possible.

“I’m not objecting to the car wash scheme per se, but I worry that all the necessary screening won’t be in place.

“And the shop in the garage, which is a popular local facility, will go under the plans.”

Fellow College Road resident Phil George, 36, whose grandfather owned the garage for many years, said: “I just wonder how long a car wash business will last, as we don’t want to be left with an empty site.

“Plus, we don’t want to see floodlights sweeping into our homes when cars are being washed at night.”

Coun John McCabe, who has been contacted by concerned residents, said: “I just want local residents to have a peaceful life. We know from other places how garages can create problems for residents and I want to ensure all the necessary precautions are in place, for spray and so forth, if this scheme goes ahead.”

No one was available for comment at Mill Lane Service Station, which the Gazette has been told is in the process of being sold.

The planning application for a change of use from a forecourt to a hand car wash was submitted to South Tyneside Council on July 27.

The application states that the existing shop on the site would be used for the sale of car cleaning and car-related products. All existing machinery on the site, including petrol pumps, a vacuum machine and air machine, will be removed by specialists.

A motor pump system will be used, to reduce noise, while the store room inside the shop will be soundproofed, to reduce potential disturbance to visitors.

If approved, the new car wash centre would open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 9am until 5pm on Sundays.

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