What do you get if you cross cheap land with a hungry operator?
In 2016 Euro Garages purchased land in the north-east corner of the M40 J11, with the intention of creating a new motorway service area and a large employment area on land which had been zoned for use by an employer. It would have been accessed from a new roundabout on the A361, using the narrow band of land next to it. There was to be a number of offices, a warehouse towards the north, and a petrol station and amenity building towards the south.
Since the opening of the M40, land around its junctions has become increasingly attractive to developers. At Banbury, a large retail park, a motel and restaurants have all already set up, leading to concerns from residents that the junction won't be able to take any additional traffic.
For Euro Garages, who already own a smaller petrol station nearby, this could have proven to be one of their most lucrative sites, especially if Highways England were to agree to signs being placed on the M40.
In 2017 the proposal was withdrawn after the planned car park was criticised, but in 2018 a new application was made with the planned hotel and pub dropped. This showed an amenity building with tall windows and a round, grass roof. Euro Garages believed this had support from the local authorities.
Oxfordshire County Council were deeply opposed to the plans on traffic and planning grounds. Cherwell District Council voted unanimously to refuse planning permission, calling it "a glaring monstrosity", calling the proposed road improvements insufficient, pointing out that a service station doesn't constitute the type of employment the land was identified for and arguing that there was no need for it.