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Warren Copse

Warren Copse:

Road: M4 between J8/9 and J10
Location: Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire
Other names: Great Hazes, Great Wood, Maidenhead
Date planned: 1970-1986, 1996-2005
Operator: Extra, Roadchef
Grid reference: SU745965 (SABRE Maps)
See also: Maidenhead

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Looking towards Great Hazes.jpg
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This page refers to several services which have been proposed on the M4 between J8/9 and J10.

Original Plans

In 1968, a public inquiry was held into the construction of the M4, which included Warren Copse services. Citing "technical problems", the Ministry removed the service station from the inquiry, and pursued it separately. It was planned for a 34 acre site with single-storey buildings, an internal footbridge. Berkshire County Council objected, claiming Warren Copse would ruin the area's natural beauty, that it was a haven for wildlife and too close to the village of Shurlock Row - there were conflicting claims over whether the residents would have a view of the services. This was debated in Prime Minister's Questions.

To compensate for their complaint, Berkshire County Council suggested a service station be built at Upperwood Farm (also called Earley). The Ministry didn't have a preference so changed their plans to building Upperwood Farm as it had the council on side. Upperwood Farm would have had a single-storey building and a pedestrian footbridge and a Rear Access, but would have required a building called Rushy Mead to be demolished.

While the Ministry were preparing to get the planning for the services going, in 1974 the local government restructure brought about a new Berkshire County Council, who formally withdrew their support for Upperwood Farm and claimed that there was no need for any services between the existing ones at Heston and Membury, a gap of 55 miles. They suggested a service area could be built at Field Farm, but went on to say they wouldn't support it.

A joint public inquiry was then held, which considered building both Warren Copse and Upperwood Farm. This would have been the main service area, with smaller infill sites being built at Ashes Copse near Theale to the west, and at Datchet to the east. Cornered by environmental concerns, the plans for the main service area was dropped, and the infill sites were never pursued.

Newer Plans

As part of a review of services to the west of the M25, the subject of services here came back in the late '90s. This time the two main sites were at Great Hazes and Great Wood, both roughly in the same location as Warren Copse. Great Wood itself had three versions proposed at this time: one from Roadchef, and two from Extra. Two of them would have been for westbound traffic only, and one would have used a motorway junction to provide access in both direction.

The Great Hazes site was proposed by Extra under the name Maidenhead, not to be confused with Granada's own plans also called Maidenhead. Extra's Great Hazes would have also used a new motorway junction to provide access in both directions, and would have been extremely similar to their plan at Great Wood. There is another unresearched plan which would have been eastbound only.

Although the site designs were very similar to Cobham, the amenity building would have been boxed in by approach roads. The westbound-only plan was almost identical, and included a redundant roundabout on the approach road.

They were all rejected and went to appeal and a public inquiry, but in the end it was decided that just Cobham on the M25 would be the best place for a service area.

It looks like all of the plans for Great Hazes and Great Wood were put forward by Extra.