PLANS to double the size of a vehicle repair centre in Poole have been approved, despite fears that the expansion could cause job losses due to restrictions to an access road.

Seven business owners signed a petition against the application citing concerns about larger vehicles being able to get through to their premises.

However, Poole council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for the new, larger replacement building, although councillors admitted it had been a “difficult” decision.

Concerns revolved around land ownership with car parking spaces allocated on a section of land which is used as access to the businesses behind the garage.

Plans included creating parking spaces for employees and customers in front of the building on land owned by the company but which has been partly been used as an access road to other businesses since the 1970s.

Cllr Malcolm Farrell said that while he was not opposed to Auto Motion’s redevelopment, the extension of car parking to include the land would make it impossible for larger vehicles to get by, warning that it could lead to some firms closing.

He also raised concerns about the safety of school children walking through the site with the expansion of the site saying that it “increases the risk greatly”.

“I’m happy for progress but not when it affects a number of other businesses including job losses,” he added.

However, the committee’s chairman, Cllr Andy Garner-Watts, said that the access issue, which was exacerbated by parked cars, was not something that they would be able to resolve through the application.

“It’s difficult but people will park wherever they can and it makes it very difficult for heavy vehicles to get round.

“But the owner owns that land and he has a right to do with it what he wishes.

“If there’s a right of way, we are not aware of it and permitted development rights would allow them to put a fence around the site if they wished anyway.”

The committee had been recommended to grant permission for the scheme by planning officers who said that it would not “prejudice” lorries’ access to other businesses’ sites.

The committee agreed to grant permission for the scheme with six councillors voting in favour and one against, with one abstaining.