Residents against A1 service station vow to fight on


Last updated Apr 1, 2021
Kirby Hill Residents Against Motorway Services protesting against the proposals by Applegreen, which was rejected in 2019

Residents in Kirby Hill have pledged that they “will not stop” opposing a motorway service station on the A1 following the closure of a fourth public inquiry into the plans.

Gareth Owens, chair of the Kirby Hill Residents Against Motorway Service Station (RAMS), said the group was prepared to continue “robust opposition” to the proposals.

It follows the closure of a fourth inquiry in 25 years into the plan to build a service station off the A1(M) northbound near the village.

The hearings lasted two weeks and included multiple testimonies from residents, councillors and representatives from Applegreen, the developer.

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Mr Owens said the inquiry was like a “soap opera” for the village, with local people tuning into the hearings which were streamed live on YouTube.

He added that residents felt the service station was a threat to their community and came together to oppose the plan.

Mr Owens said:

“The people who live here are the people who want to live an open life in the countryside.

“If you put a motorway service station there, we will feel like we are a different community. There are an awful lot of people who feel that way.

“Our experience of living here will be changed.”

David Rose (top right), the government's planning inspector, opened the public inquiry into the A1 service station this morning.

David Rose (top right), the government’s planning inspector, opened the public inquiry into the A1 service station in February.

Mr Owens gave evidence at the inquiry, which was scheduled for 11 days but ended up lasting for two weeks. Some of the hearings ran for as long as eight hours.

The government’s Planning Inspectorate, which handles planning appeals, told the Stray Ferret that a decision on the service station was expected “in the coming weeks”.

Mr Owens said he felt residents gave a good account of themselves at the inquiry.

However, he added that the group would continue to oppose the application whatever the outcome.

“We’re not going to stop.”

The Stray Ferret approached Applegreen for comment, but did not receive a response.

Rhodri Price Lewis, who represented Applegreen at the public inquiry, told the inquiry there was an “established need” for a new motorway service area between Wetherby services and Leeming Bar.

Kirby Hill RAMS have maintained there is no need for the service station on the A1(M).

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