Firm gives first glimpse of plans for M1 service station near Sheffield
A developer says junction 33 of the M1 is the best place to build a service station in the Sheffield area.
Applegreen has this week submitted its plan to put up a petrol station and rest stop at Catcliffe, after revealing its interest in March.
The site is 10 miles from junction 35, where Extra Motorway Service Area Group wants to build a similar development at Smithy Wood.
Both Applegreen and Extra say the stretch of the M1 - between Woodall, near Killamarsh, and Woolley Edge, north of Barnsley - does not meet Government safety requirements for a rest area every 28 miles.
Extra has been working on its proposals for years and says junction 35 is the only suitable place on that stretch, therefore justifying the loss of an area of ancient woodland.
Sheffield Council was due to make a decision on those plans in March. But the emergence of Applegreen's interest caused council officers to think again.
Applegreen has now revealed its detailed plans for junction 33. 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.
Access would be from a new exit on the north side of the Catcliffe roundabout. Cars and lorries would exit to the south onto the A630 Sheffield Parkway.
Applegreen plans to create 454 car parking spaces, including disabled, as well as space for 18 motorbikes, 67 lorries, 14 coaches and 18 caravans.
The site is currently scrub land and some hard standing. It already has planning permission for two hotels and a petrol filling station and is bordered by green belt land but is classed as brownfield.
Applegreen says the service station would employ 300 people and add about Â£4.75 million to the local economy per year.
The firm, which held public consultation events earlier this year, did not respond to a request for comment.
Extra submitted its plans in March 2014, but a decision has been delayed repeatedly. There have been 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.
The firm says it will create a new public woodland area if its plans are approved.
Extra CEO Andrew Long said he had 'no doubt' junction 35 was the only suitable site for a service station.
He added: “We welcome the fact that the application has been submitted and that the junction 33 proposal can now can be subject to the same degree of rigour and scrutiny as the Extra application at junction 35.
"Extra remain fully committed to obtaining planning permission and successfully delivering a motorway service area at junction 35, along with the associated strategic benefits package for the surrounding 200 plus acres of existing and new woodland, economic, social and environmental benefits."
The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust has been a vocal campaigner against the junction 35 proposals.
CEO Liz Ballard said: "Whilst we continue to question whether there is a need for a motorway service area on this stretch of motorway at all, the junction 33 proposal illustrates that Smithy Wood could be avoided altogether as a location, which is one of the key planning tests for developing such important ecological sites.“It shows that there is no ‘special need’ to develop land that should continue to be protected as a local wildlife site for the benefit of local people.
"As we have always said, irreplaceable ancient woodland and local wildlife should be protected and not destroyed.”
Rotherham Liberal Democrats welcomed the proposals.
Spokesman Colin Taylor said it would be good for Rotherham jobs.
He added:"We need to see guarantees that these will be permanent roles.
"Most traffic at this junction is people travelling between Sheffield and Rotherham. The impact of this development on traffic around this junction must be looked at carefully."
And Brinsworth and Catcliffe councillor Adam Carter said: "This is good for jobs and investment in Rotherham. Local residents have real concerns about noise pollution, increased traffic, and the impact on air quality locally and these must be addressed going forward."