Appeal over plan for major motorway service station in Bucks thrown out by government agency
Planners said scheme, which could have created 340 jobs, would create substantial harm to green belt
The Planning Inspectorate has rejected an appeal by Extra Motorway Services 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 scheme included a 100-bed hotel, and a new junction crossing the M25 in the form of a single overbridge loop giving access to the site.
A 42-hectare area outside the site referred to as “community lands” was also planned for ‘recreation and leisure activities’.
The application, first submitted in July 2019, was appealed in March on grounds of non-determination.
“The appeal is dismissed and outline planning permission for the erection of a motorway service area (MSA)…is refused,” stated the Planning Inspectorate.
It found the scheme would create “substantial harm” to the Green Belt, “significant harm” to the character and appearance of the area, and “moderate harm” to agricultural land.
Conditions and planning contributions (Section 106) would not mitigate these to an “acceptable level”.
While it found the economic, social, and environmental benefits “substantial”, harms at an alternative site in Iver Heath (Colne Valley Motorway Service Area) would be “considerably less”.
“There is a reasonable prospect that the Iver Heath site could be delivered in that there do not appear to be any insurmountable obstacles,” it wrote.
It also found there are “some uncertainties as to the utility of the community land and parts of the appeal site for safe landings post development,” relating to concerns raised by Bickerton’s Aerodromes Ltd (Denham Aerodrome).
Up to 340 full-time jobs would have been created.