Fury over garage closure

MOTORISTS in Portishead are furious over the five-day closure of the town’s only petrol station.

Waitrose Garage in Station Road will undergo refurbishment next week because Shell is now providing the fuel for Waitrose Garages nationwide.

Drivers say they are angry at the lack of advance warning provided by Waitrose.

The garage will close at 9pm on Sunday and will reopen again at 6am on Saturday, to allow for the re-branding of the forecourt.

It has long been a bone of contention that Waitrose Garage is the only petrol facility in Portishead, the second largest town in North Somerset. When it was only half the size, Portishead was served by up to six different petrol stations.

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David Smyth from local taxi firm Heardy Cars said: “This is really bad for the people of Portishead.

“We have received no warning about the closure and a town with no petrol for the coming week will cause all sorts of problems, not only to taxi drivers but all drivers. However, now the Times has alerted us to this, our drivers will be filling up outside Portishead to ensure our full service is maintained in the town.”

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A Waitrose spokesman said: “This move will mean better products and services for Waitrose fuel customers, including new checkout technology and access to fuel promotions and the Shell Drivers’ Club.

“We have worked with Shell to ensure we minimise the impact on customers but the closure of the forecourt has been necessary to allow the forecourt to be re-branded as Shell, with new totems, re-branded pumps and canopy.

“The shop will remain under Waitrose branding and will continue to be staffed by Waitrose Partners.”

Portishead councillor David Pasley said he thought Waitrose would have shown more public concern.

He said: “This is one occasion when Waitrose could have pulled on its community spirited hat and realised that it is more than just a business to the people of Portishead, it is a community service that people can’t do without.”

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