New service station for M42 at Solihull?

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Plans for a new service station on the M42 at Solihull will include 15 coach parking bays – according to the planning application.

Motorway Service Area (MSA) operator Applegreen has submitted plans to Solihull Council for the new facility just off junction 4 of the M42 on land at Gate Lane. According to the Coventry Telegraph, at the heart of the 21.5-acre scheme at the junction for Shirley and the A34 is a sustainably-designed building which would feature a rolling ‘green roof’ to blend in with the rural setting – similar to the M5 services at Gloucester. In a consultation document prior to submitting its planning application Applegreen said “clever design” would “hide the project within the landscape.”

In addition to the 15 coach bays, the site will include parking for 611 cars and 77 spaces for HGVs, as well as a fuel forecourt.

An additional slip road lane would be built southbound on the M42, widening Gate Lane to four lanes – three of them westbound for traffic leaving the services towards the Stratford Road – and changes to the elevated roundabout at junction 4. The proposals also a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the M42.

Creating a motorway service station along the Solihull stretch of the M42 has long been discussed, although none of the numerous proposals have yet come to fruition. In 2009 the then Secretary of State confirmed there was “a significant need” for a MSA between junction 3a (where it meets the M40) and junction 7 (where is crosses the M6) for highways safety reasons, despite the entire stretch being green belt land.