'Fighting to the end'

PUBLISHED: 02:01 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:06 10 June 2010

MORE than 200 people have rallied round to support an Exmouth garage which faces closure if county council road changes go ahead. Hundreds of letters of support have been winging their way to Bentley's Garage in the wake of Devon County Council's decision

MORE than 200 people have rallied round to support an Exmouth garage which faces closure if county council road changes go ahead.Hundreds of letters of support have been winging their way to Bentley's Garage in the wake of Devon County Council's decision to resurrect plans to demolish Chapel Hill roundabout to make way for a paved community space. Managing director John Bentley said the garage was heartened by the public stand and hoped the county council would take notice of people's views.But Journal reader Jenny Evans said Bentley's Garage did not represent the people of Chapel Hill."I cannot believe that being against the project is just a road safety issue. We need the influx of pedestrians to make the businesses of Chapel Hill work," she said.Mr Bentley is concerned the garage will be forced to stop selling petrol - and concentrate solely on the sale of vehicles - claiming access for petrol tankers will be difficult if the council pedestrianises Chapel Hill and reverses High Street traffic."We are prepared to fight to the end. We will be seeking legal advice on the proposals and the decision making process of the council as well as what our legal position would be in respect of financial compensation should the changes go ahead and adversely affect our business," said Mr Bentley. "We are concerned about the impact this would have on our customers' ability to reach the garage and it could have a significant impact on the volume of business."Any vehicle attempting to access the site from the Strand area of Exmouth will need to cross the pedestrianised area and a traffic junction. All our fuel delivery and transporters would come from this direction. The fuel tankers can only unload fuel from the nearside of the vehicle, which means they will need to face the traffic flow to deliver to the garage."Since the county council resurrected dormant plans to demolish the Chapel Hill roundabout to make way for a 'community space', Exmouth has been divided in its opinion - the Journal's on-line poll shows 53.54 per cent of voters are in favour of the changes with 46.46 per cent against. Many letters against the changes say the plan is a 'waste of money'. Others fear they will lose the 'personal touch' if Bentley's cease selling petrol.One letter sent to Bentley's said: "Being a young mum, this is the only place I can go to get petrol and let my children stay in the car.

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