Top Gear star criticises plans to turn England’s oldest petrol station into home

A brick building with two petrol filling stations in the front garden
A planning application has been sibmitted to turn the historic building into a residential unit, as well as for renovations for be made to the property (Image credit: Google Earth)

Plans to turn the oldest petrol station in England into a house has prompted a campaign to protect the historical structure.

Planning permission and listed building consent has been requested to undertake renovations at the property called Glendore, located in the small village of Turnastone, Herefordshire.

But the request to turn the landmark into a residential unit has prompted protestations with claims the building "must be given a better future" and that "It should be a museum!"

Why is the petrol station listed?

Glendore, also known as 'The Old Garage', is a Grade II listed building as it is believed to be the oldest petrol station in England dating back to 1919.

There are two surviving petrol pumps in the front garden still standing, which are also listed.

The house has been used for a number of purposes over the years as the property was also a garage, workshop, bicycle shop, a taxi service, a post office, newsagent, coal merchant and also was previously used as a home up until 2005.

However, it is now argued the property that includes flagstone flooring, salting slab, and two arched windowed bedrooms, is in need renovation with many of its features dating back to the early 20th century.

Application to change to residential use

The owners have submitted an application for planning permission and listed building consent for alterations to Glendore, as well as changing the use of the building to a residential setting.

The application outlined the plans for the: "Refurbishment and single-storey extension of Glendore, including change of use of former shop floor space, repair of existing outbuilding, erection of detached garage and formation of access with related change of use of land to form part of the residential planning unit and associated drainage work."

The application added the historically significant part of the building and its grounds would not be altered and the work would preserve the building.

The front wall is a stone structure where the petrol pumps sit next to with hedges above them making an arch

The building, which is currently listed as use for a shop, has been applied to be changed to a residential purpose so it can be used for housing (Image credit: Google Earth)

'Keep it as it is', cry objectors

Objections were raised against the application with concerns the historical significance of the property will be lost if changed.

Former Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell objected to the planning application, stating: "England's oldest surviving petrol station should be preserved just as that. It should be a museum! Don't change the use to Residential. Keep it as it is."

He feels the application should be rejected as the "conversion will damage the historic features listed by Natural England".

One neighbouring homeowner of Glendour, Charles Ramsey, added: "I really was shocked to see this historic petrol station was applying to be turned into a home! It must be given a better future. This is a national treasure. I know from my own experience that this is best preserved by keeping its use the same or similar to original use."

However, one Turnastone resident, Cynrhia Comyn, offered her support for the application stating  endorsed the application, saying: "Turnastone is a small village with very few inhabitants (at present 6 in the village itself) so to have two more people who actually intend living here and maintaining a charming old house is a considerable benefit to the village and the rest of us."

Historic England offered no objection to the works and Herefordshire Council were approached for comment.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.