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Fleet services

Fleet
Welcome Break
Facilities | Rating | ReviewsFleet services
Road:M3 between J4a and J5

MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Address:Welcome Break
M3 Services
Fleet Services
Fleet
Hampshire
GU51 1AA
Telephone number:01252 621656
Signposted from the road?Yes
Opened:1973
Previous operators:Trusthouse Forte
Grid reference:SU798558
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.
Visit Fleet/Welcome Break's official website
Facebook Page
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Fleet south-westbound currently has no HGV parking, as detailed below. North-eastbound is fully open. The bridge is closed.

Facilities

updated August 2017

Northbound

Catering: KFC, McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point, Welcome Break Gaming, small dog walking area, picnic area Motel: none Forecourt: Shell (with: Autogas LPG), Select, Deli2go, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Air1 AdBlue

Southbound

Catering: Burger King, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Harry Ramsden's, Starbucks, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Little Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Game Zone, picnic tables Motel: Days Innbook Forecourt: Shell (with: Autogas LPG), Select, Deli2go, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which caravans and coaches must pay £27, or £29 to include a £9 meal voucher.

Note that Fleet southbound currently has no HGV parking.

Prices can be paid in the shop with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.

Trivia and History

Scott Mills Bridge sign.
The Scott Mills plaque.

Full details: History:Fleet

Fleet is one of two Welcome Break services which have a McDonald's. The service area has attracted somewhat of a cult following, with compliments being paid about the variety of fast food facilities offered here being paid by road users around the south.

On BBC Southern Counties Radio, Jeremy Clarkson spoke highly of the "Fleet cheat" where you use the services' back exit to avoid queues on the motorway, but he was told there were now rising bollards in use.

On 20 January 2016, it was officially announced that the footbridge was to be renamed 'The Scott Mills Bridge' after a campaign by BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills was launched to get as many things to be named after him as possible. An official opening ceremony took place on 16 March 2016 and a plaque was placed on the southbound side to mark the renaming. The bridge survived the fire, but is currently closed.

Fire

Fleet services fire.
The fire-damaged restaurant area.

On the night of 14 December 2016, the southbound services were severely damaged by a large fire, which started in a faulty coffee machine by the KFC unit and spread to the majority of the building, leaving only the new entrance. UKNIP has photos of the fire.

The northbound services opened shortly after, and the southbound filling station opened on 16 December 2016. The bridge passed a final assessment on the same day. The southbound filling station was later closed again to help manage the traffic.

Fleet temporary motorway services.
The temporary service area.

On 3 January 2017 the southbound toilets, entrances, bridge access (benefiting from a new coat of paint) and facilities associated with the car park were temporarily opened earlier than expected, with boards separating the damaged dining area. Other facilities were available via the bridge.

On 11 January WHSmith reopened, and a temporary Harry Ramsden's truck was parked outside. A temporary Starbucks opened at the end of January, in addition to the existing drive thru.

Full facilities, which are provided in a temporary building located in the HGV park, opened on 23 March 2017, offering Burger King, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Harry Ramsden's, Starbucks, WHSmith, and the motorway network's first branded Little Waitrose. The temporary building had formerly been used as a food hall for athletes during the London 2012 Olympics.

Replacement Building

The opening of the temporary southbound building allows for the destroyed southbound services, including the salvaged portion, to be demolished. This will be replaced by a new, taller and airier building.

Seven food units and two shopping units will be provided around the side of the building, with internal and external seating areas overlooking the forest by the hotel. Two entrances will be maintained and the footbridge access will be reconnected. Toilets will be in the far corner.

Most of the franchises in the new units have not yet been named, but in May 2017 Welcome Break confirmed Pizza Express would be one of them.

The new building is expected to be open by Easter 2018.

Survey Results

Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.

In 2015, both sides of the services were rated 4 stars by Visit England.

In May 2012 and August 2011, Visit England rated the north-eastbound services as 3 stars and the south-westbound side as 4 stars.

In 2008 the services won a five star loo award.

The services were inspected by the AA on the 24th and 25th of March 2007. These are their results:

Category:Rating:
Road safety and parking:Acceptable
Outdoor facilities:Very Poor
Access and indoor facilities:Very Poor
Catering:Acceptable
Shop:Very Good
Family Friendliness:Very Poor
Service:Good
Hygiene:Good
Pricing:Poor

The services were said to be well signed and supervised, with a good shop and clean facilities. The biggest problem raised was the lack of disabled access. The lack of outside space and cold snacks were also highlighted.

In 2006 and again in 2007, the toilets at the petrol station were given a three star loo award. The services themselves were rated four-star.

In 2005 the whole services won a five star loo award.

In 2004, Good Housekeeping rated the services as one star, complaining of its "dirty car park", "old buildings" and "terrible" food.

In 1992 the services won the entire Loo of the Year competition.

In 1991, a Which? survey rated the services as "average".

In 1977 Egon Ronay rated the restaurant as "acceptable" and the café as "poor". He found the building design created a pleasant atmosphere, but it was ruined by very slow service with long queues.

A government service station critic wrote highly about Fleet, his favourite services, in 1975, saying: "a pleasant and tranquil dignified sort of place where people rarely have to be herded like cattle and one to which you could take a planning committee to show them that a service area need not be brash and gaudy and garish, there are already signs that it may not stay this way".

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
none on M3
South Mimms (M25 north, 52 miles)
Cobham (M25 south, 23 miles)
Toddington (M1 north, 18 miles)
Services on the M3 Winchester (25 miles)
Popham (A303, 18 miles)
South Mimms (M25 north, 52 miles) Welcome Break services none

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