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Whiteley

Whiteley:

Road: M27 between J8 and J9
Location: Segensworth, Fareham, Hampshire
Other names: Meon Valey
Date planned: 1976-2003
Operator: Esso
Grid reference: SU539080

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Photos:

Meon Valley westbound onslip.jpg
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The M27 was originally billed as the Southampton-Chichester motorway, so several services were needed. Whiteley services would have been 12 miles from the M27's only other service area at Rownhams, and 13 miles from Emsworth eastbound services on the A27 which has plenty of room to expand, had the road been built as motorway.

Growth at the ports at Portsmouth and Southampton have meant that the Highways Agency and Hampshire County Council are hoping to address problems with a lack of HGV parking along the M27 corridor, and one of the options being considered is a new service area, which could put Meon back on the cards.

The names Whiteley and Meon Valley have been used interchangebly during the planning processes. 'Whiteley' was generall reserved for the earliest plans.

Design

The M27 has a series of closely space junctions, which is why an unusual layout was drawn up here. The westbound sliproad at J9 began a mile early, with the services being accessed from it, much like Washington southbound although it's not clear whether traffic would have been able to rejoin the M27 without using the junction. There are two 'ghost slips', showing where the services would have been. The land appears to have been prepared for the services, and access to the local road network is included.

On the eastbound side, the opposite sliproad is a normal length, but splits into two at the start, one joining the M27 and the other running alongside it (much like the original layout at Burtonwood). This spare sliproad (which includes road markings but is now coned off) acts as a maintenance road, and stops at the highway boundary, where the services would have been. This maintenance road is home to Britain's first (and only) motorway solar panel.

With hindsight the services would have been a bad idea as traffic would have had to pass through J9, which is now very busy, however the long westbound offslip is useful when traffic queues back from the junction.

The services were planned several times, in 1990 the government included the site of these services as part of their strategic programme to reduce the gaps between existing services, under the name 'Meon Valley'. The most recent one was put forward by Esso and given permission in 2001. It is unlikely that anything will come of this.

The latest plans were designed by the same architect who designed Norton Canes services.

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