Residents of England’s most remote village filled their cars at the areas only local petrol station today (Wednesday 21 March 2012) for the first time in four years.
The re-opening of the petrol station in Kielder Village means its 180 residents, hundreds of thousands of tourists and large rural businesses based there, such as Northumbrian Water and Forestry Commission, no longer need to complete a 35 mile round trip to get fuel.
The £90,000 project responsible for the turn around has been deemed a resounding success and the newly opened un-staffed station, run by a local community group, is thought to be the only one of its kind in England.
Tom Grimwood, chair of Kielder Limited, the volunteer run community charity that will manage the station, said: “It’s a delight to see petrol flowing from the pumps at Kielder once again. We’ve been on such a journey fighting to re-open the station since it closed in 2008 and the hard work has finally paid off – it’s a dream come true.”
Steve Webb, owner of Kielder Village Store and Post Office said: “The positive impact this will have on the whole area must not be underestimated. We are now able to offer the local resident, business or visitor as seven day a week fuel supply. The saved time, mileage and confidence to travel around the area knowing Kielder has fuel again is very comforting. Well done to all who made it happen.”
The petrol station will not be staffed so customers pay by credit or debit card prior to filling up. It is open for fuel from 7am to 7pm (with longer opening hours during the summer) seven days a week. There will also be an electric hook up point later in the year.
Elisabeth Rowark, director of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “Kielder Limited has done brilliantly over the last few years; generating profit from Kielder Campsite which has been used to match the funding for this project. Seeing a rural business thrive during such hard economic times is positively inspiring. The service it provides will not only cater for the local community, but also some half a million visitors who come to enjoy the activities Kielder Water & Forest Park has to offer.”
Funding for the ground breaking project has come from Northumberland Uplands Local Action Group (NULAG) – LEADER, Kielder Limited, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Northumberland County Council through its social enterprise and regeneration services. Forecourt Solutions from County Durham carried out the building work to get the petrol station up and running again and Lloyds TSB invested in the project.
NULAG’s chair, Michael Nixon, said: “We have been delighted to support this nationally important project. I hope that other communities will be inspired by this example to pursue their own aspirations.”
Councillor Tom Brechany, executive member responsible for regeneration at Northumberland County Council, added: “The council is pleased to have been able to support such an important and innovative project. The sustainability of Kielder and surrounding communities is built upon a range of vital community services, one of which is the provision of fuel. This is essential in a rural area where many households and businesses are dependent upon personal transport for access to services and employment opportunities.”
For more information contact Tom Grimwood on 01434 250 240 or Elisabeth Rowark on 01661 855 536.
Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.
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