Euro Garages has applied for planning permission for a motorway service area on land east of junction 24 of the M5, at Huntworth in Somerset, and says it will be "unlike any other".
The MSA is part of a wider planning application to create an employment area, and in a Design & Access Statement prepared by ADS Design and JLL, they say consultation about the scheme has been going on for a significant time and included a formal exhibition for local residents on July 12 last year.
According to the document, several key principles informed their brief:
- an MSA that works for the weekend and the week;
- weekend fuel for the family on the final push south or the escape up north;
- a weekday hub for the business traveller;
- a landmark location to meet: family, friends, business;
- HGV facility to provide fuel, rest and refreshment;
- a single amenity building to serve all purposes accessed via two distinct circulatory routes - retail customer and HGV driver;
- Dual site entry to better serve the differing needs of the motorway driver and adjacent employment site user; and
- Parking provision to DfT (Circular 02/2013) standards to attain motorway blue signage and ensure adequate capacity for all users.
The proposal is for an MSA occupying 7.68 acres and providing parking for 324 cars, 10 caravans, 8 motorbikes, 8 coaches, 39 HGVs and an abnormal load bay. It adds that 17 accessible spaces and 8 electric vehicle bays will be provided.
A single amenity building will incorporate a petrol filling station, food sales and diverse amenity uses. It will have a ground floor mezzanine and a rooftop equipped with picnic-style seating and a garden. An ascending path will wrap around the building “to provide a distinctive architectural form unlike any other MSA”.
The petrol filling station will provide six pump islands allowing for simultaneous refuelling of 12 vehicles. Eight electric vehicle (EV) charging bays will be located at the entrance to the forecourt in such a location as to deter their use for conventional parking. An HGV refuelling facility will provide three pump islands allowing six HGVs to refuel at any one time.
The development’s sustainable credentials are also highlighted. Photovoltaic panels will be installed to filling station canopy lids, to convert solar radiation into energy. According to the document the canopy sizes for the car and HGV filling stations of offer a large scope for significant renewable energy return.
The introduction of planting throughout the development, particularly to the roof, will help to offset CO2 emissions while providing natural shade and mitigating water run-off. They say greening of a roof surface has also been shown to regulate building temperature, reducing the need for air conditioning by mitigating solar gain.