Plan revealed for Sheffield/Rotherham M1 service station 10 miles from Smithy Wood site

Junction 33 of the M1 at Catcliffe.
Junction 33 of the M1 at Catcliffe.
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A second developer has revealed plans to build a service station on the M1 between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Applegreen PLC wants to put up a petrol station and rest stop by junction 33 at Catcliffe, creating 300 jobs.

An early masterplan of Applegreen's proposed service station.

An early masterplan of Applegreen's proposed service station.

The firm revealed its ambitions this week, and aims to submit a planning application 'later this year'. It will hold public consultation meetings next week.

The site is 10 miles from junction 35, where Extra Motorway Service Area Group wants to build a similar development at Smithy Wood.

Sheffield Council is due to make a decision on Extra's plan on March 28. Campaigners who say the development would result in the loss of ancient woodland have been fighting the proposal for months.

Both Applegreen and Extra argue that particular stretch of the motorway does not meet Government safety requirements for a rest area every 28 miles.

An artist's impression of MSA Extra's plan for junction 35 of the M1.

An artist's impression of MSA Extra's plan for junction 35 of the M1.

Extra says this proves a 'special need' for its development, which outweighs the rules on protecting the green belt and ancient woodland.

A key aspect of the firm's argument to councillors is that there are no other suitable sites that would address the 28-mile gap without a service station.

Applegreen's proposed site, on both sides of the M1, already has planning permission for two hotels and a petrol filling station. It is bordered by green belt land but is classed as brownfield.

Councillors must judge any planning application on its own merits.

Smithy Wood, where the Extra's service station could be built.

Smithy Wood, where the Extra's service station could be built.

Applegreen's chief development director Eugene Moore said: “We are committed to creating new jobs for local people to boost local economies. Alongside that, we hope that there will be opportunities for increased business for local traders.

“Minimising our impact on the environment and the landscape is a priority for us and we will deliver this through great design. Our approach is to use new best practices to create service areas that are both welcoming, offer value and do not cause issues for our neighbours.”

Applegreen plans to create 498 car parking spaces, including 30 disabled, as well as space for 19 motorbikes, 67 lorries, 15 coaches and 18 caravans.

Lorry parking and refuelling would be to the north of the M1 with car parking and the main rest stop to the south, connected by an underpass.

Some of the ancient woodland at Smithy Wood.

Some of the ancient woodland at Smithy Wood.

Applegreen said it would improve nearby roads to increase capacity at junction 33.

The firm will hold two consultation events next week, where residents will be asked for feedback on the plans.

They will take place from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday and Tuesday at The Thirsty Flame in Whitehill Lane, Brinsworth.

For more on the plans visit www.applegreenrotherham.info.

Extra submitted its plans in March 2014, saying the development was needed to aid road safety by providing a rest stop.

A decision has been delayed repeatedly, with hundreds of objections from people concerned about the loss of part of Smithy Wood, which is classed as ancient woodland - although there has also been support, with Ecclesfield Parish Council among those in favour.

A recommendation from planning officers on whether or not to approve the service station will be made known before the meeting on March 28.

The application is outline, so even if it was approved a more detailed application would need to be passed before construction could start.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust is planning a peaceful protest outside Sheffield Town Hall on Saturday, March 18, at 11.30am.