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New owners 'upbeat' over derelict Helmsdale A9 filling station – but they haven't seen it yet!

By Caroline McMorran

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The leader of Helmsdale Community Council has said she has had a “very positive” conversation with one of the new owners of the port’s dilapidated former filling station, who has yet to see the site.

Community council chairperson Alison Cowie did not disclose the identity of the couple who have bought the site, but said they were from Newcastle.

The filling station closed in 2008 due to falling sales and the need for new infrastructure.
The filling station closed in 2008 due to falling sales and the need for new infrastructure.

It was revealed at the council’s February meeting that the service station had changed hands. The facility, located on the A9 at Stafford Street, closed in 2008 due to falling sales and the need to reinvest in its infrastructure.

Ms Cowie gave an update to members of the community council at the group’s March meeting, which took place in Helmsdale Community Centre last Thursday.

She said: “I’ve had a very positive conversation with the lady who has bought the site, but she hasn’t actually seen it. She lives in Newcastle and her husband is a builder and has a big building business and they are going to work on the site themselves.

“She was very upbeat about it and has spoken to someone in the local authority."

Ms Cowie said that the new owners were very keen to have a shop or kiosk on the site and were also considering providing electric charging points.

“She was very positive about it. I told her they would probably have to replace the (fuel) tanks and she said that they could do that themselves. I said that it would be brilliant if she could open it up and also asked if there was any possibility, when she came to view it that she could possibly clear the site up because it is looking bad.”

Ms Cowie added that she had suggested the couple contact Helmsdale and District Devlopment Trust (HDDT) to learn about the challenges it had previously faced in trying to get the filling station up and running.

Trust development manager Mary Stewart, who was present at the meeting, said: “The funding was a major issue.”

And Trust vice-chairperson Ruth Whittaker, who was also present, said: “One of the final nails in the coffin was the price of fuel. Also the forecourt is small and hopeless for HGVs."

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