Pease Pottage services
The largest services between London and Brighton, Pease Pottage has been grown a lot since it opened. Even so, it still occupies a small site and, being close to Gatwick and London, can quickly get very busy.
COVID-19 update: These details were updated on 3 July 2020, with changes caused by COVID-19.
Catering: Burger King, Costa, Greggs, West Cornwall Pasty Co, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, M&S Coffee to Go Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Main Amenities: Showers Hotel: none Charging Points: Ecotricity Forecourt: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue, LPG (BP Autogas)
First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £31. HGVs can pay £33 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2455.
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Pease Pottage Motorway Services Area
- 📞 Telephone number: 01293 562852
- 🗺 Grid reference: TQ263332
- 📌 what3words: ///apparatus.latest.materials
Trivia and History
The service area was built by Welcome Break. When Granada were forced to sell Welcome Break's motorway services, they were able to make the point that it wasn't a motorway service area, allowing them to keep it. As a result Pease Pottage went on to be branded Granada, and now Moto.
Significant damage was done to the service area in a robbery which took place in November 1993.
Full details: M23 Service Area Planning
Consideration was given to providing the M23 with a service area at Shipley Bridge near Gatwick. Government policy later said that the M23 was too short to need any service areas.
Forte's branches of Little Chefs offered them good coverage of the road network, but many of these were having to close due to road improvements. This seemed likely to effect their branches along the A23, so they were keen to get in early with a new facility which would allow them to keep their stronghold on the road.
The Pease Pottage plan was registered in 1986, and was clearly going to be larger than a typical Little Chef. It opened in 1992 under Forte's Welcome Break brand. It was built on the remaining section of a piece of land called Whalebone Wood, most of which had been destroyed when the motorway junction was built.
Dedicated pedants will observe that the road signs around Pease Pottage are a little unusual, and there is a reason for this.
At the time Pease Pottage was built, the planning of motorway services was strictly regulated. Forte designed Pease Pottage on the basis that it would cater for the A23 only, which meant it would face a much easier examination. As soon as it opened Forte began arguing that signs should be placed on the motorway anyway, and while the Department for Transport tried to argue this wasn't correct and wouldn't be necessary, to maintain good relations they eventually agreed in 1994 to placing a few signs. More signs have since been added, and now nobody in government circles would know that Pease Pottage was never supposed to be signed from the motorway.
On Brighton Road, black-and-white signs were used, which at the time meant "local facility". These were changed to the correct blue in 2010.
On the motorway, the label "Pease Pottage services" was often stuck on to existing signs as an afterthought. Other signs were placed in the wrong order, or with sections missing. On the main advance sign, an error was made and a bed symbol was included. There was a bad attempt to remove it. In 2011, the sign was replaced and the bed symbol was put back, despite this place having never had a hotel.
The 3 mile sign had its reference to 'Moto' changed to "Moto GU221". Nobody - not even Moto or the Highways Agency - knew what this meant, and in 2005 it was covered up. It had probably been added without permission as a joke.
Size and Growth
Given its history, it's not surprising that Pease Pottage came to be regarded as the smallest motorway service area in the country. Under Welcome Break it had only The Granary and The Shop (with toilets in the third corner), as well as their usual forecourt partner, Shell.
The lack of size was especially noticeable given that for 15 years, the next service area to the north was 100 miles away at Toddington.
The shop was later switched to Granada branding, and is now WHSmith. Granada made space for Burger King in 1996, with a seating area, game arcade and more toilets all in an extension. Moto changed the restaurant to Fresh Express and Caffe Ritazza, this pair then became EDC and Costa, with a large, new Costa stand in the dining area.
The big extension, built in 2007, added an M&S Simply Food, with a new entrance and space for a takeaway coffee stand. A second extension was planned in 2010 and would have moved the WHSmith to the entrance, making space for more seating. Instead a new, glazed, seating area was provided.
EDC later closed and was replaced by Greggs, as well as some takeaway units which were arranged outside. Space has been taken away from the car park, which was re-arranged and extended over the balancing pond.
A lack of space for parking and manoeuvring remains a problem. The tight entry junction was converted into a roundabout in 2020, to accommodate a neighbouring development.
| none on M23|
Clacket Lane (M25 east, 22 miles)
Cobham (M25 west, 30 miles)
|Services on the M23||
road becomes A23|
Handcross (A23 southbound, 3 miles)
Hickstead (8 miles)
| none on M23|
Thurrock (M25 east, 43 miles)
Medway (M2 east, 51 miles)
Heston (M4 east, 49 miles)
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