North West Wales

Last petrol station closes in Blaenau Ffestiniog

Image caption Blaenau Ffestiniog needs a petrol garage say a regeneration group

The closure of the last garage selling petrol in Blaenau Ffestiniog has left motorists facing an eight mile (12km) journey to buy fuel.

Another garage in the Gwynedd town, which currently only sells diesel, is looking to plug the gap.

The town's regeneration project, Blaenau Ymlaen, said a petrol garage was essential to support the town's businesses.

The AA described the closure of rural filling stations as a major concern.

Local people said the 'Commercial' garage was the third to close in the area in the past five years.

It means motorists in the town will now have to drive eight miles (12km) to Penrhyndeudraeth or 12 miles (19km) to Betws-y-Coed.

Gron Jones, owner of Moduron Moelwyn Motors, said he had already been in touch with a company to see how much it would cost him to stock petrol in addition to the diesel he currently sells.

"One of the problems is that I've used the tanks to store diesel for six years, and they'd need to be cleaned out," he said.

The garage owner said there was "no profit" from selling petrol, unless vast amounts were sold.

Regeneration

Added to this, annual checks, which often cost £200 a go, pushed up the costs.

"We make about 2p in the pound, and you'd need to sell over a million lites to make it worth it.

"Really you make more money selling sweets, and that's why you often see petrol stations doing that," he added.

Mr Jones last sold petrol six years ago, but when he started doing MOTs he said the workshop was much busier, and it was not worth selling petrol.

"I am looking at it now though with a view to getting more people to use the other services I offer at the garage," he added.

Economy

Bob Cole, the chairman of regeneration group Blaenau Ymlaen (Blaenau Forward) said new businesses were opening along the town's high street, including a butchers and beautician.

He said local people were investing in the town, and it was essential that a petrol garage was available.

Of Mr Jones' plan, to look into selling petrol, Mr Cole said it was the kind of enterprise the town needed, especially with plans to create bike trails, and capitalise on the town's industrial heritage.

Tourism

"The place will take off in the next three to five years as whatever happens with cuts now, we have European funding in place," he added.

Andrew Howard, from AA public affairs, said the closure of rural filling stations was due to a variety of reasons.

He said it included higher prices because they were not able to buy the fuel in blulk, whilst they still had overheads.

Also they might have older equipment, "so it is all stacked against them".

Mr Howard added that despite this something needs to be done because the filling stations are vital for the communities they serve.

"It's not good for the people who live there if they forget to fill up, and it's not good for tourism," he said.

"People do still tour, and they expect to find filling stations, it's not the outback in Australia."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites