|Facilities | Rating | Reviews|
|Road:||M3 northbound between J4a and J5|
MAP AND DIRECTIONS
|Telephone number:||01252 621656|
|Signposted from the road?||Yes|
|Previous operators:||Trusthouse Forte|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, connected by The Scott Mills Bridge (covered footbridge).|
|Visit Fleet/Welcome Break's official website|
Fleet south-westbound currently has no HGV or coach parking, and limited facilities, as detailed below. Northbound is fully open.
Catering: KFC, McDonald's, Starbucks, Starbucks Drive Thru, Subway, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
southbound only: Harry Ramsden's Shops: Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Welcome Break Gaming, small dog walking area, picnic area, The Scott Mills Bridge
northbound only: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point
southbound only: Changing Places Motel: Days Inn (southbound only) Forecourt: Shell (with: Autogas LPG), Select, Deli2go, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £27, or £29 to include a £9 meal voucher.
Note that Fleet southbound currently has no coach or HGV parking.
Prices can be paid in the shop with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.
Trivia and History
Full details: History:Fleet
Fleet is one of two Welcome Break services which have a McDonald's. It has attracted somewhat of a cult following, with compliments being paid about the variety of fast food facilities offered here from road users around the south.
On BBC Southern Counties Radio, Jeremy Clarkson described the "Fleet cheat" where you use the services' back exit to avoid queues on the motorway, but he was told there were now rising bollards in use, to which he suggested getting a Hummvee.
On 20 January 2016, it was officially announced that the footbridge was to be renamed 'The Scott Mills Bridge' after a campaign by BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills was launched to get as many things to be named after him as possible. An official opening ceremony took place on Wednesday 16 March 2016 and a plaque has been placed on the southbound side to mark the renaming. The bridge survived the fire, but needs refurbishment.
On the night of 14 December 2016, the southbound services were severely damaged by a large fire, which started in a faulty coffee machine by the KFC unit and spread to the majority of the building, leaving only the new entrance. UKNIP has photos of the fire.
The northbound services opened shortly after, and the southbound filling station opened on 16 December 2016. The bridge passed a final assessment on the same day. The southbound filling station was later closed again to manage the traffic.
The southbound amenity building is awaiting demolition, and its car park was closed while temporary arrangements were sought. These were expected to open on 8 January 2017, but the toilets, entrances, bridge access (benefiting from a new coat of paint) and facilities associated with the car park were able to open early on 3 January. The WHSmith unit reopened on the southbound side on 11 January with a Harry Ramsden's truck parking outside. A temporary Starbucks is due to open at the end of January, in addition to the existing drive thru. Full facilities, which will be provided in a temporary building located in the HGV park, will open in Spring.
Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.
In May 2012 and August 2011, Visit England rated the northbound services as 3 stars and the southbound side as 4 stars.
In 2008 the services won a five star loo award.
The services were inspected by the AA on the 24th and 25th of March 2007. These are their results:
|Road safety and parking:||Acceptable|
|Outdoor facilities:||Very Poor|
|Access and indoor facilities:||Very Poor|
|Family Friendliness:||Very Poor|
The services were said to be well signed and supervised, with a good shop and clean facilities. The biggest problem raised was the lack of disabled access. The lack of outside space and cold snacks were also highlighted.
In 2006 and again in 2007, the toilets at the petrol station were given a three star loo award. The services themselves were rated four-star.
In 2005 the whole services won a five star loo award.
In 2004, Good Housekeeping rated the services as one star, complaining of its "dirty car park", "old buildings" and "terrible" food.
In 1992 the services won the entire Loo of the Year competition.
In 1977 Egon Ronay rated the restaurant as "acceptable" and the café as "poor". He found the building design created a pleasant atmosphere, but it was ruined by very slow service with long queues.
A government service station critic wrote highly about Fleet, his favourite services, in 1975, saying: "a pleasant and tranquil dignified sort of place where people rarely have to be herded like cattle and one to which you could take a planning committee to show them that a service area need not be brash and gaudy and garish, there are already signs that it may not stay this way".
|none on M3|
South Mimms (M25 north, 52 miles)
Cobham (M25 south, 23 miles)
Toddington (M1 north, 18 miles)
|Services on the M3||
Winchester (25 miles)|
Popham (A303, 18 miles)
|South Mimms (M25 north, 52 miles)||Welcome Break services||none|
Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. They are moderated by Facebook.