A NEW service station with a 24-hour fast food restaurant and coffee shop is expected to open next year after it was given the go-ahead by East Lothian councillors at a meeting this week.

More than 200 jobs are expected to be created when Euro Garages opens its new service station on the site of the former Raceland karting centre, near Gladsmuir.

And the company pledged to employ local people who were able to “walk or cycle to work easily” on the new development.

It includes a 24-hour petrol station and fast food drive-thru, with additional fast food and coffee shop drive thrus open daily on the site.

In a planning statement to East Lothian Council, Euro Garages stated that the site would be its first development to include a McDonald’s franchise in it after creating a partnership with the burger chain.

But at the start of the planning committee meeting where the plans were being decided on Tuesday, Euro Garages asked for the statement to be amended, stating they “do not name brands at this stage”.

The international company has 104 Starbucks, 50 Burger Kings, 167 Subways and 104 Greggs bakeries already operating out of its sites across the UK and around the world.

Tom Jeremiah, group planning director at Euro Garages Group, said: “We take our responsibility to local employment seriously and this development could deliver up to 209 jobs in a range of full and part-time roles.

“We aim to employ people who can walk or cycle to work easily, prioritising local people and creating jobs for residents of East Lothian. This will support the local economy and ensure people don’t need to travel to Edinburgh to access employment opportunities.”

At the meeting, concerns were raised about a decision not to provide lorry parking at the site, despite offering lorries refuelling stations.

Rob Buffham, Euro Garages planning manager, told the meeting: “Our experience of other sites is HGV parking comes with a lot of problems. Local constabularies want CCTV and security fencing.

“It is recognised by police these days that they are a focus for crime so we are not providing it.”

Councillor Norman Hampshire, planning convenor, raised concerns about the lack of a lorry park, pointing to the next stop point on the journey south at Asda, Dunbar, where there are also petrol filling services and a McDonald’s.

Mr Hampshire said: “We have problems with HGVs at the McDonald’s at Asda  where they park all over the place. We need to find a way for them to park safely without causing hazards to anyone else.”

Councillor Sue Kempson said that while she would support the planning application, she was “very upset about the attitude to the HGVs”. She said: “There is an attitude of ‘we do not want them’ –  well you are going to get them.”

Mr Buffham highlighted that an access road leading to the pumps for HGVs had space for lorries to queue on the site.

Euro Garages has already agreed to set aside part of the site which may be required to widen the country road to its east to serve the new Blindwells settlement planned for the area in the future.

Mr Jeremiah said: “This is an important development for East Lothian and we are thrilled the council have approved our application.

“There are only limited roadside services on this stretch of the A1, and existing services are dated. They cannot offer the modern requirements motorists now demand, including electric vehicle charging points along with high-quality drive-thru retail.”

Mr Hampshire hoped that part of the land would eventually bring a motel to the site which he said would complete the services development. The plans were approved unanimously, with conditions added to increase the number of bicycle parking spots from 16 to 30 to accommodate large groups and ensure construction traffic only entered the site from the A1 access.