Following a three week inquiry in February-March 2021, the Secretary of State’s appointed Inspector has rejected the proposal for a new Motorway Service Area (“MSA”) at Junction 50 of the A1(M) close to Ripon. At the same time, he has approved the proposed Vale of York MSA further south on the A1(M) between Junctions 48-49. Harrogate Borough Council, the local planning authority, resisted both proposals.
Department for Transport Circular 02/2013 was a significant factor in the outcome. It indicates that the recommended maximum distance between MSAs should be no more than 28 miles, whereas the current gap between the Wetherby and Durham MSAs on the A1(M) is 60 miles. The new Vale of York MSA will help plug that gap. Applegreen plc’s success at the inquiry is the culmination of 25 years of attempts to obtain permission for a new MSA in the vicinity of Kirby Hill village. Part of the downfall of Moto’s proposal for the Ripon site was the Inspector’s conclusion, adopting the opponents’ positions, that it would represent a very sizeable incursion into the rural landscape and seriously undermine its inherent characteristics. By contrast, the Inspector found that the Vale of York MSA would protect the landscape character of the district.
Stephen Whale represented Harrogate Borough Council.
A copy of the decision can be found here.