Harlow services was a proposal put forward by a private developer which was initially laughed out, but later turned to be taken seriously.
Loomglow had identified a plot of land within the middle of the large roundabout at M11 J7, which was being held by the Department of Transport. The Department of Transport pointed out the land was too small to build a suitable service area, and the unusual access and egress arrangement involving the middle of the roundabout would prove dangerous. However Loomglow repeatedly pushed for it, and as the number of problems to overcome at Birchanger became clear they started to seriously consider the Harlow option as an alternative. In the event, Birchanger was able to be acquired and tendered.
Although not stated, facilities at Harlow would likely had to be minimal, with a small building, and parking spaces for cars only. The land was eventually put to use as a VOSA weighbridge. The lane it's built on was a leftover from when the roundabout was built, and would have been reversed if the services had been built, to make better use of the space. This meant traffic travelling north would have had to have made a complete lap of the roundabout when it wanted to get in and get out.
When the M11 was first being designed, it was assumed there would be a service area "in the Harlow area", which was mid-way between Chigwell and Newport. A 46-acre site close to the village of Sheering, called Moor Hall was identified with the intention of only building it when the other two were open and at capacity.
It was a 46-acre, attractively-landscaped site, described in one report as "unsuitable except as a last resort".