Plans for a potential 12th service station on the stretch of the Sturt Highway that passes through Wagga have perplexed a councillor, a truck driver and a rival petrol station owner.

The $1.8 million proposal submitted to Wagga City Council would see a Liberty petrol station capable of fuelling up to 16 cars and four trucks built on an empty field in East Wagga.

The proposed business would have direct access from Hammond Avenue and plans to operate 24/7, with the application stating it would be an “aesthetically pleasing and functional development” on underutilised land.

Planning documents also claim the business will “deliver additional services and facilities for residents and employees within the area”.

However, the Liberty fuel stop is just 200 metres away from the site of a proposed $2.5 million Ampol petrol station which has just been placed on public exhibition.

If both service stations are given the tick of approval and built, the 12 kilometre stretch of road between Forest Hill and Moorong will have exactly 12 petrol stations.

Wagga councillor Mick Henderson said more competition could bring benefits but admitted he was puzzled by the thought of adding even more petrol stations to the highway.

“I honestly thought, realistically, we had enough service stations already to service the residents of Wagga plus all incoming and outgoing traffic,” he said. “The demand isn’t there for more petrol stations.”

Cr Henderson said other regional centres he’d visited usually only had two or three fuel stops on their main thoroughfare and he wasn’t sure why the major petroleum companies had set their sights on the Riverina city.

Paul Seaman owns the Swift Service Centre on Fitzmaurice Street and was just as confused by the sudden boom in competitors.

“I’m guessing they’ve done their research but I definitely don’t think there is an under-supply of service stations here,” he said.

“There’s not much I can do about it as a small business except try and compete I guess … it just means everyone gets a smaller piece of the pie.”

DETAILS: The site plan for the proposed Liberty petrol station at 226-236 Hammond Avenue. Picture: MCHP Architects

The proposed Liberty petrol station includes a dedicated area with amenities for truck drivers.

Local truckie Bruce Dodds said there is a need for more refuelling stations for the big vehicles in Wagga, but he didn’t expect four spots to make a big difference.

“At the moment it’s really hard to get a park when you’re in a B-double and you end up having to wait,” he said. “If they’re just building more petrol stations mostly for cars they’re not fixing that problem.”

Mr Dodds said the dedicated BP truck stop on the corner of the Sturt Highway and Tasman Road could have been the perfect solution to that problem if it had been made significantly bigger.

He said if the push to get a truck bypass established around Wagga goes through, new petrol stations should be built on that rather than adding even more to the highway through Wagga.

“If they’re going to spend millions building petrol stations that’s where they should be putting them,” Mr Dodds said.

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