Speculation over Clist and Rattle site

A BUSINESS that has operated in Portishead High Street for almost 40 years has closed, giving rise to speculation the land could be used for a new petrol station.

On Friday, Renault dealership Clist and Rattle, which moved into the former Jenkins and Vickey coach station at 120 High Street in 1973, closed its doors for the last time, moving the business to its Flax Bourton head office.

Now, people in the town are asking if this could be the site earmarked for a new Sainsbury’s garage.

Plans are under way for the supermarket chain to build a 30,000sqft store in Serbert Way and, with only one petrol station in the town, Sainsbury’s has vowed to search for a suitable site for a second.

Residents say that 120 High Street once sold petrol and would be the ideal spot.

Matt Westley who runs stationery and printing shop Morgan Westley in High Street said: “It does make you wonder if Sainsbury’s is involved here.”

Others in the town fear developers could apply for flats to be built, while shoppers are calling for the council to buy the land and turn it into a car park.

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Stuart Pine of Greenfield Park said: “Portishead continues to grow in size but our local shops aren’t benefiting because of a lack of parking facilities which drives people to shop out of town.

“The council should do the right thing and buy up this land and dedicate it for public parking.”

Martin Randall of Harbour Road agrees. He said: “Parking problems in Portishead especially in High Street, are highlighted regularly at PACT meetings as one of the bug bears of the town.

“Here is an opportunity for the council to do something about it.”

Clist and Rattle managing director Paul Clist said: “We have moved the Portishead business to our head office to enable us to provide improved customer service. It will mean more staff available to our clients and allow the day to day operation to be in the care of the hands-on owners of the business.

“The Portishead site is now in the hands of our agents and I don’t think they have been approached by Sainsbury’s at this stage.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said the supermarket business had not expressed an interest in the site.