Motorway Services Online

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Unbuilt Services

Model motorway service area.

While Britain has plenty of motorway service areas, it has just as many which were planned but never built.

Unbuilt motorway service areas come in two forms. Perhaps the most famous is those which were half-built and never finished. Motorway service area planning used to be closely tied to the planning of the main motorway network, and as a result the construction of each motorway used to include space for a number of service areas which were never built.

In this section, we detail the original plan for service stations on each motorway, as well as listing any evidence of the projects which were never finished.

In recent times, new motorway service areas have been proposed by private companies instead of the government. This led to a boom of new proposals, often fighting over the same few parts of the country. Where available, these planning applications which were ultimately unsuccessful are all listed at the bottom of each page.

Tap one of the roads below to see a map of what its service areas were supposed to look like. For a generic guide to how service area locations are chosen, see Planning.

There are more roads than this! The following pages are under construction: M12, M42, M46, M53, M54, M55, M56, M62, M64, M77, WOM, LOAM, LTC, A1(M), A14, A21, A34, overall map.

Chapeltown northbound onslip.jpg

Britain's first major motorway pioneered the service station planning system. Three of them are unfinished.

Kempshott southbound offslip.jpg

The M3 functioned like a short commuter road, with three service stations on its agenda.

Almondsbury Interchange.jpg

The M4 was where it all went wrong - developed in two sections with nothing but trouble in the middle.

East Bower service area site.jpg

Low traffic levels was the main concern with the M5, leaving a number of service areas unfinished.

Doxey works unit entrance.jpg

The M6's notoriously high traffic levels saw the majority of its planned service areas brought to fruition - but there are a few which slipped through the net.

Chigwell south approaching exit.jpg

A great example of a road where none of the original plans ever came to fruition, despite having one of the most well-known half-built service areas of all at Chigwell.

Hatfield looking north.jpg

The relatively short M18 has its own half-built service area at Hatfield.

West Kingsdown services.jpg

Progress was very slow with the M20, but two of its planned service areas eventually succeeded.

M23 Gatwick Airport Roundabout.jpg

Famously, most of the M23 was never built. This made the plan to provide service areas on it rather redundant.

Chevening Interchange.jpg
M25 (and M16)

When the planned M16 and M25 motorways were merged to create one London Orbital, it was difficult to plan the service areas - especially on the western side.

Meon services construction.jpg
M27 (Meon)

The M27 only has one unfinished service area, but it is very easy to spot - this page is all about Meon Valley.

Lewknor north services site.jpg

One of Britain's newest major motorways makes its way across some fine English countryside - which meant objections were rife whenever service areas were suggested.