Residents vow to fight new motorway service area

Kirby Hill RAMS

3:58pm 20th April 2017
(Updated 5:31pm 21st April 2017)

Another battle is brewing over plans for a motorway service area near Boroughbridge.

Irish company Applegreen has earmarked land next to the A1(M) at Kirby Hill, despite three previous schemes being blocked over the last 20 years.

Campaign group Kirby Hill RAMS (Residents Against Motorway Services) has repeatedly raised concerns about the potential impact of such a scheme.

In 1996, developer Heather Ive Associates submitted plans for a motorway service area on a greenfield site, just 500 yards from Kirby Hill.

It prompted local residents to launch their 'No Services Here' campaign, which attracted the support of seven local councils and more than 5,000 people, including celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

Gareth Owens, Chairman of Kirby Hill RAMS, said: "Government guidance recommends that MSAs are situated a maximum of 28 miles or 30 minutes' driving time apart on the motorway network.

"The situation on the A1(M) has developed over the last 20 years and now there is a new MSA 12 miles south of Kirby Hill at Wetherby. Exactly 28 miles north of Wetherby are Leeming Bar Services, which already have planning permission to upgrade to an MSA. So, there is absolutely no need for another MSA at Kirby Hill, nor is there any justification for the substantial harm it would cause to the North Yorkshire landscape and to the small rural community on its doorstep.

"Applegreen seem desperate to have a successful MSA development in mainland UK. Kirby Hill will not be it. I have written to Applegreen's Development Director, Eugene Moore, explaining the risks and issues, and advising him that if he proceeds, Kirby Hill will be the rock that breaks the company's UK strategy.

"I hope that he takes note. This is an inappropriate site for an MSA. Applegreen's proposals are not welcome nor needed here and Kirby Hill RAMS is committed to defeating them."

Kirby Hill motorway service area

Proposed site for motorway service area at Kirby Hill

In response to the concerns raised by campaigners, Nick Roberts, Planning Advisor for Applegreen, said: "MSAs perform an important road safety function by providing opportunities for the travelling public to stop and take a break in the course of their journey. The national guidance relevant to assessing the need for MSAs in England has changed since the last proposal for a facility at Kirby Hill was determined in 2012.

"In September 2013, the Government published guidance on the provision of roadside facilities on motorways within its DfT Circular 02/13, which recommends that the maximum distance between MSAs should be no more than 28 miles and that the distance between services can be shorter, with the minimum distance only dictated by compliance with highway design safety standards.

"The Circular also states that local planning authorities should not need to consider the merits of the spacing of sites beyond conformity with the maximum and minimum spacing criteria.

"At present, the spacing of MSAs on the A1(M) includes a gap between the Wetherby and Durham motorway services of over 60 miles. If Leeming Bar Rest Area is taken into account, which is not an MSA, the distance from Wetherby Services to Leeming Bar is 28.8 miles and requires a 2.6km detour from the A1(M)."

Applegreen has organised two community consultation events to present its proposals, as part of a pre-planning application consultation exercise.

They will be held on Thursday 27 April and Friday 28 April, at the Best Western Crown Hotel in Boroughbridge, from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

More information about the project at

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