THE pumps will run dry when one of mid Hampshire’s last village petrol stations stops selling fuel at the end of April.

Drivers will no longer be able to tank up at Williams’ Garage in Otterbourne, but there is good news for shoppers.

Ted and Pete Whieldon, who run the firm, plan to expand the village stores when the petrol pumps are removed.

They have decided to stop selling fuel because the 1970s storage tanks beneath the site in Main Road are too old to maintain.

Not only would new ones be costly, but the garage is on a sensitive plot beside a brook that feeds into the River Itchen.

As a result, they expect that the Environment Agency and Southern Water would impose stricter rules to protect drinking supplies.

Because of the costs and red tape, the Whieldons have decided that enlarging the already-successful shop is a better bet.

They told the Chronicle: “With the decommissioning of the fuel our intentions are to develop the shop into a larger sales area to offer a more exciting choice of goods.

“It will include local fresh produce of meat and vegetables, a larger choice of chilled and frozen foods, larger range of wines and spirits, and an area for customers to have a cup of coffee and extra parking to make the village shop more friendly.”

It would take several months to remove all the petrol pumps and extend the village stores, which is likely to need planning permission.

If approved, the enlarged shop – which is part of the Budgens group – could also have an outside seating area.

The vehicle repair firm behind the petrol station will keep trading and will not be affected by the filling station’s closure.

The vehicle workshop has recently taken on two apprentices, which means around 40 people now work at the site.

The Whieldons bought the garage in 1995 after the death of Leslie Williams and the filling station traded under the Jet branding before switching to Esso.