Plans for multi-million pound service station on A1(M) rejected by Harrogate Borough Council

Councillors have blocked plans for another multi-million pound motorway service station on the A1(M) near Boroughbridge and Ripon.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 8:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 8:30 pm

Service station operators Moto Hospitality wanted to build a £30million rest stop on farmland at Hutton Conyers in a scheme which would have created 200 jobs.

But members of Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee have today refused the application, saying they could not support development of the site when there are already a number of service stations in the area.

The rejected plans included a petrol filling station, Costa coffee drive-through, 366 car parking spaces and more for HGVs and coaches.

The decision comes as another application for a service station near Ripon continues through the planning process.

Irish petrol forecourt retailer Applegreen is battling to build a rest stop in Kirby Hill near Boroughbridge, after councillors rejected an application last year.

The application - the fifth at the site in the last 24 years - has been met with local opposition and is set to go before a public inquiry later this year.

At today's meeting, Steve Masters, property director at Moto Hospitality, told councillors the Covid-19 pandemic had shown there is a demand for the service station at Hutton Conyers and that logistics industry leaders had given their backing.

However, councillors disputed this and argued that it would cause substantial harm to the open countryside.

Councillor Gordon Gledson, chairman of Hewick and Hutton Parish Council, said: "We already have a motorway service area at Wetherby, only 17 miles to the south, and another at Leeming, only 11 miles to the north.

"I do not think there is a need for another."

Councillor Pat Marsh also claimed the service station would not benefit the local economy in Ripon.

She said: "If you can travel five miles into Ripon and help Ripon's economy by actually staying in Ripon, eating in Ripon or whatever - why build here? I just think it is wrong."

The rejected plans included a petrol filling station, Costa coffee drive-through, 366 car parking spaces and more for HGVs and coaches.

Councillor Robert Windass was the only committee member to speak in favour of the proposals and raised concerns over what the decision could mean for the Kirby Hill appeal.

He said: "I am concerned that if we refuse this application we might let the even more harmful scheme at Kirby Hill - which members have already refused - in through the back door."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter