Bombshell as motorway station at Junction 2 gets green light

A BOMBSHELL was dropped on the town of Beaconsfield last week when controversial plans to build a massive service station near the M40 were given the go ahead.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott approved the new Motorway Service Area (MSA) to be built at Burtley Wood, off the A355 near Beaconsfield and Junction Two of the M40.


The development could be as large as 4,000 square metres and may boast a hotel, restaurant, shops, and a car park big enough to accommodate 600 cars.

But many people living in the area are dismayed at the decision, believing it will bring unwanted traffic into the town and neighbouring communities.

MP Dominic Grieve said: "I have yet to meet a motorist who says facilities on the M40 are essential. The Government goes on about striking a balance between conservation and development' but in this case it has failed to do it."

Cllr Peter Hardy, leader of South Bucks District Council, has also railed against the decision, accusing the Government of ignoring the public's views.

He said: "I am saddened that the Government has decided to allow this unnecessary Motorway Service Area on greenbelt land. The decision has taken an unprecedented amount of time to be reached due to a long and extremely costly public inquiry, which heard strong and well-argued local objections.

"The end decision is typical of a Government that doesn't listen to local people's views and makes decisions at arms' length."

Outraged Rod Whyte, 63, a spokesman for the Beaconsfield Campaign Group (BCG), which promotes sustainable development in the town, believes the MSA will clog up the town and traffic movements will rocket.

He said: "We're very disappointed with this decision. It's going to cause huge congestion in Beaconsfield. Government has the view motorists' rights are more imprtant than residents."

Cllr Hardy echoes his fears for an explosion in traffic.

He said: "The A355 is already a heavily congested route and the MSA will attract an increase of traffic and particularly heavy traffic, in an already unsustainable location. That is why we have vigorously and vehemently resisted every attempt to develop an MSA in our district. Our residents tell us time and again that defence of the greenbelt is a primary concern and that they want us to defend it at all costs.

"The loss of this farmland and woodland changes forever the character of Hedgerley. The rural environment, its trees, hedgerows and public rights of way, will be damaged irrevocably.

"The importance of this decision extends far beyond the boundaries of our district. Maintaining the greenbelt is of national importance and has been perhaps the single most successful planning policy that has ever been introduced. The Government is careless of this heritage at their and our peril."

The application was granted 11 years after the application was first submittted in 1994 by developer Texaco Swayfields Ltd, Campaigners then rallied against the application, which was taken up by the Government and put to a public inquiry.

The approval coincides with a Government rejection to build on another proposed site in Mount Hill Farm in Windsor Road, Gerrards Cross., 20th Oct, 2005

Further News Articles »