Leeds Skelton Lake services
On 30 March 2020, Britain's newest motorway service area quietly opened at Leeds Skelton Lake.
Due to COVID-19, and in keeping with every other service station in the country, it is currently operating the bare minimum facilities. The owners say they wanted to get some facilities open for those who need them.
COVID-19 update: These details were updated on 1 July 2020, with changes caused by COVID-19.
Catering: Burger King, Starbucks, Upper Crust (plus The Pasty Shop) Shops: Urban Express Main Amenities: Changing Places, Showers Hotel: Ramada Charging Points: IONITY Forecourt: Texaco, Spar, Costa Express, Tango Ice Blast, Air1 AdBlue
Free short-stay parking is available. Further details are not available.
Leeds Skelton Lake Services
🌍 Operators (Official Websites):
Trivia and Design
Although Skelton Lake calls itself a service station, the documentation makes it clear that it intends to attract customers from a new housing estate being built opposite. Until 2013 this wouldn't have been allowed, but changes to the planning laws do now allow service stations to do several jobs at once.
The new building takes all the successes of Cobham and Beaconsfield and mixes the work done at Gloucester to create what it deems to be a "new concept", where its natural features (grass roof, tree-lined approach roads, access to the lake) are the building's main selling point, not forgetting the view of the lake. There is a wildlife and visitor centre here too.
There is a central area with four kiosks, and an additional nine units around it, with a two-storey motel joined on. Timber louvres furnish the appearance of the green-roofed building.
The new brand partners are very similar to what's offered by Welcome Break, with a hint of Roadchef. Many of them are operated by SSP, including new retail and takeaway brand Urban Express. London-based ethical farmers market Sourced Market recently announced they will be at the services, which Extra revealed was a partnership inspired by Westmorland.
This is the only motorway service area to genuinely have two names. Its promoters couldn't decide between 'Leeds' or 'Skelton Lake', so they took both.
The motorway here only opened in 1999, opening a new corridor for development and for services. Between 1997 and 2005, Extra had several plans for a service area and a Travelodge here rejected. At the time the junction hadn't opened: it had been delayed and didn't open until 2009.
The missing junction was the main reason the service area wasn't built when the Secretary of State was called in to consider five proposed service areas in the Yorkshire area in 2005. He said that there was a "pressing need" for a new service area, and the problem with Skelton Lake (called Skelton Grange at the time) was that it couldn't be built quickly. This, and the fact it was too far south of the existing services, meant the plan was refused even though the Secretary of State was impressed by Skelton Lake's job opportunities and limited environmental damage.
By the time the East Leeds Link Road was finished, Extra were encountering their own financial difficulties and didn't make any proposals.
In Spring 2016, Extra submitted a new £50m plan for a service station here, creating 300 jobs. It was hoped that this would be open by Autumn 2017. They had been, for the previous few years, been fighting for permission to open services down the road at Sheffield too.
In October 2016, the proposals were approved in principle by Leeds City Council. Further approval was granted in March 2018 with an expected opening date in summer 2019. Extra awarded the filling station contract to Jos Richardson and Son, who will operate it as Texaco and Spar on behalf of Valero, in what Extra called "an important new strategic relationship".
The opening date slipped back several times, with the petrol station finally opening on 30 March 2020. The main facilities remained closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the first few facilities in the main building opening on 1 July 2020.
| Woolley Edge (13 miles)|
Hartshead Moor (M62 west, 16 miles)
|Services on the M1||Wetherby (A1(M) north, 17 miles)|
|none nearby||Extra services||none nearby|
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