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Kirby Hill

Kirby Hill:

Road: A1(M) between J48 and J49
Location: Kirby Hill, North Yorkshire
Other names: Vale of York
Date planned: 1997-2008, 2017
Operator: Applegreen
Grid reference: SE384691 (SABRE Maps)
See also: Baldersby Gate, Knaresborough

Google Maps link


Kirby Hill site.jpg

An extremely controversial service area, Kirby Hill was proposed in 1997 and 2003, and in both cases it was defeated by the Residents Against Motorway Services (RAMS)website.


Changes made to government legislation in 2007 meant that Heather Ive, the developer, believed that a smaller motorway service area could and should be built despite the new one 13 miles south at Wetherby. In March 2009 the plans were defeated again.

This section of road was part of a larger problem, with the A1 having so few services between Doncaster and Darlington. With the road being upgraded to continuous motorway (meaning that the trunk road services along the route either upgrade or are demolished) there was a need for action. Planning permission was granted for for the Wetherby services after the 2003 public inquiry and permission for Leeming Bar to be upgraded was granted after the 2010 public inquiry.

Between the southbound services and the motorway is a parallel road, the A168, which in the 2007 proposal would have been carried over the sliproads on a bridge. The bridge wouldn't meet the height requirements for abnormal loads, which presented the services with a significant stumbling block: there is no reason why the abnormal loads bay can't be included outside of the rest of the services, but connecting this to the rest of the sliproads would be complicated.

A service area was previously proposed near here by Welcome Break.

Applegreen Plan

As part of their plan to break in to the UK, in 2017 Applegreen proposed a new service area here, under the name Vale of York. Their plan had all the facilities on the western side, with a green roof covering the 50,000 sq ft buildings. A drive thru coffee shop would also have been provided, as well as parking for 364 cars, 90 HGVs, 20 motorcycles, 18 coaches and 13 caravans.

Two new elevated roundabouts and an overbridge would have carried southbound traffic into the site. Construction of the elevated roundabouts would have required diverting the present course of the A168, which runs parallel to the motorway.

Residents' group Kirby Hill RAMS re-started its campaign. Applegreen withdrew their proposal the following December, citing complications with land ownership. In January 2018, they submitted another proposal which was substantially the same.

On 19 November 2019, a decision was made. Planning officers recommended approval, but Harrogate Borough Council's Planning Committee voted 10-0 against. The reasons for rejection were that the scheme was contrary to the Local Plan; it represented an unjustified encroachment into the open countryside; it was not sustainable development and it would harm the local environment and the economy of the nearby market town of Boroughbridge, which is accessible via A1(M) Junction 48.

Applegreen and Welcome Break are now appealing the decision. The Yorkshire Post has taken an editorial position against the application.


Wetherby (12 miles) Services on the A1(M) Leeming Bar (15 miles)
Durham (53 miles)

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