A HOMEOWNER has hit back at former Top Gear host Tiff Needell after becoming embroiled in a row over turning 'England's oldest petrol station' into a house.

Mike and Ashley Clark purchased Glendore in Turnastone for £300,000 last February.

They have since spent thousands of pounds renovating the grade II-listed property after planning permission was granted to convert the historic site.

Ex-racing driver Mr Needell, who presented the BBC show in the 80s and 90s, joined a campaign with other motoring enthusiasts to try and stop the couple "ruining a part of history."

But grandfather-of-three and software engineer Mr Clark says he has saved the neglected building from falling into a state of disrepair.


He and his wife are also restoring the old petrol station to its former glory and pointed out the building had already been used as a home for 100 years. As well as getting permission to add a single-storey extension, detached garage and new access road, the pair say they will restore the two pumps and reattach old signage.

"The petrol station history was a feature that appealed to us," he said.

"There was a lot of interest in it but because it was a bit neglected, with damaged walls, I think that put some people off. If we hadn't bought it, the building would have fallen down because there was a great big crack running through it.

"We're not changing the appearance, we are going to restore it so it looks like it did in its heyday. We want to preserve the heritage of the place, not destroy it.


"So you can imagine my surprise when people began saying we were getting comments on the property from the likes of Tiff Needell."

Mr Clark said he does not "dislike Tiff in the slightest", but that he has got it wrong as the house has been a house for 100 years, starting life as a farmhouse.

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He said he agrees is needs to be saved, and that is what they are doing.

"We're keeping everything the way it was and restoring it to its former glory, so to see the comments Tiff made was really strange," he said.

"I'd be very happy for Tiff to come here and take a look at what we're doing as I think he would actually be quite pleased," he said.

The building’s use as a filling station dates from 1919 and was last used so in 2010, but it has been abandoned ever since.