Motorway Services Online

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Other Unbuilt Services

This page lists any services which we know were once planned, but what we know is very vague. If more can be found, the exact location being the most important detail, then they can be moved onto their own page.

If you have any information, please edit this page.

Wootton Bassett

On the M4 between J16 and J17, ruled out in favour of Leigh Delamere.

There appears to have been both a 1960s/1970s plan and a 1994 plan.

East Bower

On the M5 between J23 and J24, ruled out in favour of Bridgwater. Traffic levels were forecast to start out low but grow.

North Petherton

On the M5 between J24 and J25.

Ashes Copse

On the M4 between J12 and J13. Due to open December 1971. Traffic levels thought to be extremely low. 23 miles east of Membury.

Broughton

When Britain's first motorway - the M6 Preston Bypass - was built, a small parcel of land was reserved for future use as a service area, to open as part of the extension of the motorway. The planned layout of what's now M6 J32 was changed, bringing it very close to the future site of the services.

It was expected to face strong objections. A lot of earth moving would have been required to build the services.

Other sites were looked at, slightly further south and slightly west.

In 1962 Granada were accused of trying to block the services by over-engineering Forton. In the end it was dropped after a disagreement over whether it should have a maintenance compound.

Preston

A second service area near Preston, on the M65, to be built instead of Blackburn with Darwen. Location unknown.

Doncaster

A service area was proposed at the southern end of the M18, more recent than Hatfield. In 1995, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council suggested they preferred M18 J3 as a suitable service area site, and have suggested they have approved a planned service area here.

Lizard Hill

Early plans for services on the M54, between J3 and J4, now superseded by Telford. In the 1970s it was labelled "needed but not urgently".

A1(M) Services

Several services have been proposed around Micklefield, Aberford and Brahmas but very little is known about them. Before that Fortes wanted services at Knebworth. Much of this will rise from Forte's concerns they would lose many Little Chef's to A1 upgrades.

Church Broughton

A proposed service area on the unbuilt M64.

Featherstone

1960s documents make a comparison to a planned service area on the M54 near Wolverhampton. It's assumed this would have been around J1 - there's no evidence of that.

Walton-on-the-Hill

One of the favoured sites of a service area on the southern section of the M25. Others at Leatherhead, Godstone and New Haw were also considered, with their exact locations unknown. The Leatherhead plan (at Rawhurst Farm) was dropped after the path of the M25 was changed.

Walton-on-the-Hill could have been a staggered site near Frith Park, described as "attractive stopping place that Surrey would be proud to offer to the motorway traveller". Some objectors argued Colnbrook and Sevenoaks would be enough, others said a small service area would be possible, while a third group believed a small service area would be instantly overworked.

Other options included Addlestone Combelands, Rye Wood, Bookham Road and Poynters Farm

Agden

Proposed on the M56 east of the M6, expected to open in February 1971, at the same time as Chester. It was then placed on a reserve list to possibly become a picnic area, citing low traffic levels.

Further M56 services were proposed at Frodsham in 1994.

Eastham Rake

A service station on the M53 sounds odd, but traffic levels were expected to be quite good. Eastham Rake would probably have been just west of the unbuilt junction between J4 and J5. It was due to open in June 1973.

Later on, the Ministry said "it's hard to justify on this short motorway, but as it had been argued in the face of strong opposition, it should not be given up - let the market decide if it is necessary".

Forte built a Little Chef/Travelodge combination at the junction here at roughly the same time.

Newton Regis

This and Friday Lane were the favoured sites on the M42. Also called Austrey Meadows. An alternative was considered on the A42 at Willersley Woodside.

Another site called Black Firs was proposed to open in 1978.

Shipley Bridge

On the M23, also called Shepheard's Hurst. Exact location not known. At one point, both Shipley Bridge and Woodmansterne would have served the M23, but it was later decided short motorways such as the M23 did not require service stations. It was expected to open in 1974, and traffic levels were expected to grow.

Shipley Bridge was quickly dropped because there were already facilities available on the A23 not too far to the south.

In addition to Shipley Bridge, three sites immediately north of the Gatwick Airport exit were briefly explored.

Birmingham Western Orbital

Documents for this unbuilt motorway confirm it would have had an MSA near the southern end. An opening date of 1995 was given. Prior to this, "several sites" were analysed, generally on its central section, including Holly Bush and High Lodge/Stourton, but it was noted that these were in scenic areas.

Birmingham Area

In 1997, the national press reported the Pakistani Welfare Association would be building a halal motorway service area near Birmingham. One report said it would be near Spaghetti Junction while another said it could be on the M5 or M6, so it may have just been speculative. No trading name was provided but the papers dubbed it "Balti Break".

Hunton

Reserved infill site on the M6 - location not clear.

Chesterton

Confusingly, the M40 extension passes two villages called Chesterton - but one of them was a reserve site for an MSA that was expected to be built as soon as possible. Gaydon was the other one, so it's likely to be the Chesterton near J9.

Pitmore Copse/Chandler's Ford

Documents from 1972 reveal discussions with Shell about a possible service area on the M3, which hadn't been built at the time. It's believed the Ministry took over Shell's planning application for a service area on what was the A33. It was later decided Kempshott would be enough.

Pitmore Copse would have been six miles north of Rownhams, and could have been reserved for lorries heading to Southampton Docks. This would place it immediately north of today's M3 J12.

Incidentally, Rownhams initially was very under-used. This would have made things worse - but it could have been offered as an alternative.

Food on the Move

The following services were identified in David Lawrence's book Food on the Move that had not been previously known, and little can be found out about them:

  • Eskrigg M6 - confirmed as a reserve infill site, somewhere near the A590, added later than the rest, postponed until 1980
  • Daresbury M56
  • Chapel Grove M6 - is it Chapel Green near Corley?
  • Ballard's Ash M4 - confirmed as a reserve infill site
  • Ridgeway M4
  • Knight's Farm M4
  • Datchet M4 - confirmed as a reserve infill site