Plans for new motorway service station with hotel in Buckinghamshire to be debated at public inquiry

A public inquiry is scheduled for August

Friday, 18th June 2021, 11:41 am
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 11:42 am

The fate of a major motorway service station boasting a new hotel, significant parking, and a complex new junction will be debated at a public inquiry two months from now.

Extra Motorway Services has submitted to Bucks Council an outline application for a new roadside service area on land known as Warren Farm, between Junction 16 and 17 of the M25, near Chalfont St Peter.

The development will have a facilities building with retail and a food court, a filling station, and a 100-bedroom hotel, according to council documents.

Stock image
Stock image

There will also be parking facilities (1,030 light vehicle/52 disabled, 200 HGV, 18 coach, 22 motorcycle), a service yard, vehicle circulation, electric vehicle (EV) charge points, and outdoor spaces such as a children’s play area, and a new lake.

Essential infrastructure will also be installed, including a junction crossing the M25 in the form of a single overbridge loop giving access to the site, with slip roads north and southbound, and a roundabout within the site itself.

A 42-hectare area outside the site referred to as “community lands” will be enhanced “for improved recreation and leisure activity”.

The application, first submitted in July 2019, has since been subject to amendments.

Developers said their proposal, which took more than 18 months to put together and submit, addressed a “significant road safety need for this location on the motorway network”.

In March, the applicant appealed on grounds of non-determination.

As a result, Bucks Council is no longer the decision maker – but it is still required to consider the application. A public inquiry is scheduled for August.

The scheme is “inappropriate development”, resulting in “spatial and visual harm” in the Green Belt, council documents state.

However, it is also acknowledged the service station would “address a 44-mile gap in provision” between Cobham and South Mimms, delivering “significant benefits” for road user safety – while also creating 340 full-time jobs, and investment.

“It is concluded that all of the harms are clearly outweighed by all of the benefits,” council documents state. “Very special circumstances do exist in this case.”

A total of 222 letters of objection have been received; 15 in support.

The matter will also be discussed during a Strategic Sites Committee, on June 23.