Petrogas Global, trading as Applegreen, has started work on the first two of its four motorway service areas in Northern Ireland which, when completed will represent a total investment by the company of £25 million and the creation of 250 permanent jobs.
The first pair of super service areas are between junctions 4 and 5 on the M2 near Templepatrick and work is expected to be completed in March 2015. There will be 60 full time positions per service station on opening, which will be made up of managers and sales assistants, with an additional 250 construction workers contracted per site for the length of the building project. Work will start on the two additional sites - on the M1 - in 2015.
Environment minister, Mark H Durkan said: “This is good news for Northern Ireland motorists and for jobs. The development of these new motorway service stations, a first for Northern Ireland, will also provide a significant boost to the local economy with potential investment of some £25 million. These large-scale investment applications were submitted after detailed pre-application discussions between my officials and the applicants and represent another example of how DOE Planning is providing a speedier, more cost effective and more responsive service for everyone. These applications were turned around in just under four months.”
Transport minister Danny Kennedy said: “The investment from Applegreen provides a boost to the economy and brings benefits to drivers and passengers using the existing road infrastructure. My Department was fully consulted throughout the planning process in our role as statutory consultee and this helped to ensure that the applications met the current design criteria and policy. This is a excellent example of co-operation between Government Departments and the private sector. By proactively working together all the stakeholders have ensured the best possible progress of the project and I wish them well as they work toward completion.”
This is one of 12 motorway service areas in the Applegreen network on the island of Ireland – with two based on the Belfast to Dublin route, as well as additional locations throughout the south.
Robert Etchingham, chief executive officer for Applegreen said, “I am delighted that we are now launching into Northern Ireland, as this area is a key part of our expansion plans. We are constantly looking for new sites to build and acquire, and although the motorway network in the north has significantly improved in recent years, there is still a shortage of service areas on these major routes. We have already received a lot of support from consumers in the north who know the uniqueness of the Applegreen brand and we are confident that we can build and improve on what is currently being offered.”
The new motorway service area will boast a number of facilities including 16 car fuelling points, a HGV fuelling area, Burger King Drive Thru, Applegreen convenience shop, Applegreen’s own ‘Bakewell’ café and a Subway restaurant. There will also be a new Business Centre, as well as indoor and outdoor children’s play areas, bathroom facilities, and ample car, Coach and HGV parking.