Kempshott services was a planned service area on the M3 between J6 and J7. Originally these services would have been at the bottom end of the M3 where it split into the A33 to Southampton and the A303 to Exeter, making it the last major service area before the south coast. There are four 'ghost slips' and two clearly-shaped fields. The Observer Road Atlas of 1976 has the services marked as open but unnamed.
It is one of the 'original three' services planned for the M3, along with Fleet and Trumps Green. The plan was that Trumps Green and Kempshott would open first, with Fleet opening later. All three were subject to a difficult planning process, and at Kempshott several alternative sites were examined, including one at Andwell.
Two proposals to run the services were received, but both the Planning Authority and the Landscape Advisory Sub Committee felt that they did not do the location justice, so they re-opened it to new tenders. There was little interest, and with Trumps Green struggling to pass a public inquiry, the plans were changed and the Ministry accepted Fleet would do the job for the time being.
One problem with Kempshott is a lack of space: the next junction to the east is three miles away, west is one mile away and the one after that heading west is two miles away. Fleet, which until recently was the only service station on the M3, is located 13 miles from Kempshott. In some respects this was therefore the perfect place to serve traffic before the routes split.
Rear access would have been provided to Beggarwood Lane (northbound) and to the unnamed, diverted road crossing the bridge (southbound), which is still in use as a farm access today.
The land which was reserved for the northbound service area was recently sacrificed and used for Basingstoke's ever-growing housing estates. Whilst the cones were out, the 'ghost slips' on the northbound side were also removed, with the onslip becoming an emergency lay-by. It's not clear why this happened, as other 'ghost slips' have survived various roadworks.
Until 1985, the original Popham services catered for traffic heading south along what is now the M3.
In the 1990s a nearby site was planned at Basingstoke, and in 2000 Winchester services opened, however the location of these services still leaves traffic heading for the A303 without a large service area. The new Popham provides some facilities for A303 traffic.
In September 2016, Applegreen made a surprising announcement that they had planned a new service area to be built on the site of Kempshott. Talks are currently ongoing.
Applegreen are keen to break into the UK market, but the decision to use a slightly crowded section of the M3 is an odd one. They are likely to face objections on traffic grounds, and allegations that their plan for a small site will only take traffic away from more capable facilities.
They are proposing parking spaces for 245 cars, 22 lorries, 5 coaches, 7 caravans and 16 motorcycles. At 4.5 hectares, site is larger than the very first plan (as is often the case), and its looped sliproad would use a new onslip but the existing offslip. A separate drive thru coffee unit would be built, alongside the two-storey amenity building with a driver's lounge, a small restaurant, combined filling station and shop, and picnic area. It would be very similar to their existing motorway services.
It's not clear whether Moto's decision is related to Applegreen's plans, but it is certainly related to Moto's recent announcement of a planned development at Rugby. It is eight years since Moto opened any wholly new services.
Some concern has been raised about the need for the development, and the suitability of the site.
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