Motorway services approved despite warnings of 'misery to Rugby residents' - The Rugby Observer

Motorway services approved despite warnings of 'misery to Rugby residents'

A NEW motorway service station next to the M6 junction one roundabout has been approved by Rugby Borough Council (RBC), despite warnings of gridlock and ‘misery to Rugby residents’, and concerns over the impact on the village of Churchover.

The Moto services, including a hotel, restaurants, shops, a petrol station, around 100 HGV parking spaces and a drive-through coffee shop, will be built on New Ash Tree Farm off Leicester Road on the north side of the motorway.

A Moto spokesperson said the services will provide a £40million investment for the local economy and create 215 permanent jobs.

RBC’s planning committee approved the development by nine votes to one.

Coun Bill Lewis voted against the proposal due to concerns over traffic.

He said: “The roads around Rugby are already congested. Heavy trucks which are likely to use the service area will not be confined to those travelling along the M6.

“The Leicester Road/A426 is already congested and with the opening of Elliott’s Field Phase Two and the construction of this service area, that situation is likely to become an even greater problem.”

He pointed to an objection from Warwickshire Police’s Traffic Management Advisor which warned unprecedented growth in Rugby and lane closures on Leicester Road were causing congestion and putting pressure on emergency services, adding planning intervention would be needed while the services were being built otherwise ‘we will see the area gridlocked and this will create more misery to Rugby residents’.

Former Churchover resident John Phillpott, who now lives in Worcester, said he worried the ‘sprawl of Rugby’ would soon ‘engulf this once-tranquil settlement of two streets’.

He said: “Once again, the long-suffering people of Churchover must witness the relentless urbanisation of surrounding farmland and its growing encroachment on their heritage village.”

Historic England said it was concerned about the services’ impact on the historic landscape, while an RBC Heritage Consultant said the development would harm the ‘adjacent heritage assets’ – while conceding the harm was ‘less than substantial’.

But the planning report by RBC Head of Growth and Investment Rob Back stated the proposed landscaping scheme meant views of the service station would be blocked within 15 years.

He added: “The nature of a motorway service station as a provision for the safety and welfare of road users is given considerable weight. The lack of alternative locations along the M6 to accommodate this demand is also given significant weight, as are the substantial ranges of economic, social and environmental benefits.

“The benefits of the scheme demonstrably outweigh the harm to the identified heritage assets, and the loss of agricultural land.”

Construction is due to begin in the second half of 2018, and the site is scheduled to open by late 2019 or early 2020.

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