Road: M1 at J19
(also accessible to traffic on the M6 and the A14)
Location: Swinford, Leicestershire
Date planned: 1987-2003
Operator: Esso, Texaco
Grid reference: SP562789
See also: Harborough Magna, Lutterworth
There have been two plans for a trunk road service area at Swinford, east of J19 of the M1 (the Catthorpe Interchange). Today this is a very congested junction with plans afoot to replace it with a series of flyovers. Had any services been built here, the improvements would have had to be a lot more complicated (or scaled-down, depending on how you look at it).
As well as the two listed below, several hotels have been proposed around the major junction, all of which have been rejected.
Despite both the two main plans being successful and hanging around for a while, neither of them ever materialised, which with hindsight can only be a good thing. The other problem is that any services built here would be missing the vital access to the M1 south, so it's possible that the planned services were only aimed at A14 traffic or there were plans to add the missing sliproads to the junction.
The first plan was put forward by Esso in 1988, which is odd as the junction itself wasn't finished until 1994. The initial application was rejected but permission was granted after it went to appeal, subject to certain conditions, the details of which aren't clear. The services would have included a Travelodge motel and other usual features, occupying a 7-hectare plot of land.
From 1998 to 2003 Texaco relentlessly applied for permission to build a petrol station, restaurant and lodge at the junction. Only once was their plan approved, subject to certain conditions, which Texaco then unsuccessfully appealed against.
As part of their environmental statement relating to the proposed improvements at the Catthorpe Interchange, the Highways Agency noted that there was a service area planned on the A14 eastbound, but made it clear they didn't know whether it had been dropped or not.