Rugby motorway services proposal gets green light

The proposal.
The proposal.

Plans to build a motorway-style service area on the edge of Rugby were approved at a borough council meeting last night (Wednesday November 9).

Officers backed the plans for land west of Leicester Road, immediately north of the M6 junction, and Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee gave the proposals the green light with nine votes for and one vote against.

How the site may look.

How the site may look.

Brought forward by Moto, the plans will see part of New Ash Tree Farm on Leicester Road in Churchover demolished and replaced by facilities including restaurants and shops, a separate three-storey 100 bedroom lodge, a fuel station and a drive-through coffee unit.

Moto estimates construction will begin in the second half of 2018 and will take 14 months to complete - meaning the site could be open in late 2019 or early 2020.

A spokesperson for Moto said: "We are delighted that the council's planning committee has granted permission for us to go ahead with out proposal to build a new motorway service.

"As well as filling a strategic gap in the motorway network, it is our belief that the new development will provide a long-term benefit for Rugby."

The spokesperson said the development will mean a £40 million investment for the local economy and the creation of 215 permanent jobs as well as others during the construction of the site.

They added the new service area will provide almost 100 HGV parking spaces - which they said would help ease the problem of lorries parking overnight in lay-bys and on local roads.

The site is around half a mile south east of Churchover and covers an area of around 10.8 hectares.

Public objections to the plan ranged from concerns over noise, light and air pollution and potential impact on the village of Churchover and nearby heritage assets.

Council officers said landscaping would mean views of the service area from Churchover would almost be completely blocked within 15 years.

A major concern was the potential extra traffic leaving and joining the M6 at that roundabout in order to use the services.

The roundabout at junction one of the M6, immediately south of the site, would be extended northward to cope with the extra traffic which may use the services.

In response to traffic concerns, council officers stated the Highways Authority had made no objection to the development - and implications for traffic had been modeled and no significant problem had been seen.

A heritage consultant stated the application would cause harm to adjacent heritage assets although said the harm would be "less than substantial".

Cllr David Cranham argued the development was for the public benefit and said: "All that urbanisation near the area has happened but has the world stopped turning?"

Cllr Leigh Hunt previously objected to the proposal on the basis it is not included in the current or emerging Local Plan.

She said the wider landscape around Churchover should be preserved and argued there are other service facilities few than 20 minutes away along the M6 and M1.

Cllr Peter Butlin argued in favour of the development and responded to concerns about its location.

He said: "The motorway determines where the site will need to be.

"The employment implications are quite significant for Rugby and there is a safety element in having somewhere for people to stop while on the motorway. All benefits far outweigh any disadvantages."

Click here to see a video showing how the site may look.