YET another petrol filling station in York is to shut.

The closure of Total's Bristow garage, in Fulford Road, will leave local motorists facing a two-mile round journey to fill up at the nearest remaining station in Fulford.

It is just the latest in a spate of garage closures in the city as supermarkets continue to provide cut-price competition.

The closure comes less than a year after TotalFina applied for permission to expand the filling station and turn it into a 24-hour operation.

City of York Council planners refused permission last October after several local residents protested over noise and health concerns, and the impact on neighbouring properties.

Total said today that the service station, in its current format, "was not and would not have made an operational return for Total UK in the longer-term".

A spokesman said: "To continue trading, the service station would have required major capital investment to its facilities and infrastructure in line with legislative and operational requirements.

"However, despite strenuous planning efforts by TOTAL UK to improve the service station, which included a proposed rebuild, permission has been consistently frustrated by the local authority.

"The excessive specification demands made by the local authority have thwarted our ambitions, resulting in a planning refusal.

"Therefore, having examined all the possibilities to continue to trade at Bristows Service Station as a viable business, Total regrets having to close the service station, and regrets any inconvenience caused to its customers."

He said Total UK would complete a thorough decommissioning of the site, following the closure.

"When this process is completed, the property will be marketed for sale for an alternative use."

Other filling stations to close in recent times in York include one in Gale Lane, Foxwood, which shut partly because of shoplifting problems in the convenience store. Stations have also closed in Piccadilly, Huntington Road, Foss Islands Road, Clarence Street and Monkgate.

Ray Walsh, who owned the franchise for a station which closed in Clarence Street, blamed a combination of factors for the decision, including rising oil prices and sheer lack of business.

Mr Walsh said then: "One of the things is competition with supermarkets, but that's not the whole story. There is no margin and you can't get a reasonable deal with oil companies."

Updated: 08:50 Tuesday, May 20, 2003