PLANS to increase parking and introduce electric charging points at a petrol station have been thrown out for a second time.

The owners of the BP Bradwell Service Station, which is on the A120 west, had been seeking planning permission to create ten new parking spaces, three of which would offer charging for electric cars.

Members of Braintree Council's planning committee ruled against the plans during a meeting, where they agreed with officers' recommendation that the expansion of the site and increased parking would harm the rural landscape.

Despite those concerns, Bradwell Parish Council had given its backing to the scheme and a petition set up in support of the plans had gathered more than 150 signatures.

However, Lynette Bowers-Flint rubbished the validity of the petition after seeing people from as far away as Wales signing the document.

She said: "It's obvious if members have had a look online at that petition that it was obviously placed on the counter for customers to sign, not local people because there are signatures on there from Walton-on-the-Naze to Wales.

"I you're living in Walton-on-the-Naze or Cardiff in Wales, I don't think your actually going to be affected by this development it's fair to say.

"If you live in Bradwell, then you are and you will struggle extremely hard to find anybody who has signed."

A spokesman for the petrol station, who spoke before the plans were refused, stated the introduction of electric charging points was needed as there were no facilities available between Braintree and Colchester.

He also pointed out extra spaces would help prevent "accidents and flare-ups" happening in the garage forecourt.

The spokesman added: "We are continually seeking to improve our facilities to meet customer needs and employ the latest environmental standards.

"The site is not a rural and quiet petrol filling station. It forms a crucial part of the local fuel and retail infrastructure on a major arterial road.

"The site suffers from a severe lack of parking with only three formal parking spaces currently. This impacts on the effectiveness of the business."

In May 2018, a similar bid for 13 new spaces was refused by Braintree Council but an appeal was lodged against that decision and is ongoing.

The plans were denied over fears it "would remove an area of land which forms an intrinsic landscape buffer between the petrol station and the Blackwater Valley beyond."