A commercial unit is set to open alongside a new petrol station in Farnborough.

Rushmoor Borough Council has approved plans to redevelop a former office site, which has been vacant for more than two years.

The applicant, Summerbrook, originally submitted the plan alongside an application to redevelop the west part of Aldrin Place, off Summit Avenue, and erect a Morrisons petrol filling station.

However, the application was recommend to be refused by the committee last October 9, as the shops were seen as a threat to trade in Farnborough town centre.

The applicant withdrew the plans before the meeting and submitted another application for the petrol station only, which was granted planning permission on October 23. This gave time to look more closely at the proposal for the commercial building and this application was then submitted on November 1 last year.

It is not yet known which tenants will occupy the building, however, it has the potential to be sub-divided into up to six separate units for a mix of uses, including retail, restaurant, takeaway or storage and distribution.

Councillor Rod Cooper, representing St Mark’s Ward, said: “In general I think the proposed development looks like a good scheme, but I would hope that we are absolutely water tight on not allowing any variance of its uses.”

Cllr Jennifer Evans, representing the Wellington ward, also expressed concern that some of the potential uses of the building were similar to the retail spaces in the town centre.

However Gareth Lyon, the committee chairman, said: “The interests of the town centre will be very much at heart in this development.”

A spokesman for Rapleys LLP, an agent for Summerbrook, said: “The scheme will deliver significant regeneration benefits in terms of the recycling of vacant employment land, provide employment opportunities and improve the economic profile of the area.

"The proposal seeks to bring the site back into an economically active use and provides a scale of development that will specifically address local needs for additional facilities.”

The 10,800sqm brownfield site opposite Morrisons supermarket is vacant after the offices that once stood there were demolished in April 2012 when no interest had been shown in the two-storey building.

Developers plan to begin work as soon as possible and open the new petrol station and commercial unit in the spring.