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.
Catering: Burger King, Costa, Greggs, West Cornwall Pasty Co, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin, Showers Motel: none Forecourt: BP (with: BP Autogas LPG), Shop, Costa, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £30. HGVs can pay £32 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
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.
A long time was spent investigating possible sites for services on the M23, having to adapt to changing government policy and changing plans for the M23 itself. Had the M23 been built as intended, there would have definitely been a service area north of the M25, near Woodmansterne.
Investigations into the area around Gatwick concluded services could be built at Shipley Bridge, but it was later decided that the facilities available on the A23 south of Pease Pottage were sufficient enough. The next spokesperson summarised the situation by saying the M23 was too short to warrant any services.
Eventually the investigation was dropped, but Forte spotted an opportunity to develop their own facilities here. They first started planning in 1986 and although they were building many Little Chefs at the time (and in fact they owned several on the A23), this was always planned to be larger. Pease Pottage opened in 1992 on the remaining section of a piece of land called Whaleshome 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, so it would face much simpler 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 to a few signs. More signs were later added.
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. Work is currently underway to convert the entry junction into a roundabout.
| 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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