Mystery of unopened multi-million pound garage on A419 revealed

IT’S a sight is familiar to the thousands of motorists who travel along the A419 every day.

A brand new multi-million pound BP garage appears ready to open, complete with an M&S store and newspaper racks in place.

But it’s been left completely untouched for months with no workers in sight.

Motorists passing southbound along the dual carriageway near Cricklade saw the new garage take shape only to see the work grind to a halt.

Michael Austen bought the Seven Bridges land years ago and allowed BP to build the new petrol station and Marks & Spencer store.

He said things were going smoothly until an unexpected hurdle brought progress crashing to a halt.

Mr Austen said: “BP has invested millions into this build so they really want to have it open as quickly as possible.

“They came across factors with the build related to utilities and the highway that were not seen from the outset, which caused a significant setback.

“One of the major water supply lines for Swindon is beneath the ground where the exit sliproad would have originally been built.

“So, a new build proposal had to be put together and approved by Thames Water and the Highways Agency.

“This took some time because with a project like this, they have to be thorough and everything has to be just right.”

But after the long wait and unforeseen delays, there is at last light at the end of the tunnel.

Mr Austen and a BP spokesman both told the Adver that opening day may soon be upon us.

The BP spokesman said: “Necessary work is continuing on site and we remain on course to open to our customers later this year.”

Mr Austen added: “They now have the new proposal and it has been agreed. There is just four or five weeks work left to install the exit road.

“A start date for this work has not yet been set but I imagine that BP is very keen to get this sorted because of how much has been invested into it. I’d like to confirm that I am only the landlord that rents the site and have got nothing to do with the project itself.”

In addition to this site, Mr Austen has snapped up several other plots of land worth around £6 million over the last 18 months. He manages Cricklade dealership Big Van World.

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