Government facing legal challenge over service station scheme

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

THE Government is facing a legal challenge over its decision to grant planning permission for a new motorway service station beside the A1.

A rival company has objected to a ruling by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles which approved an upgrade to Leeming Bar Services, near Bedale, in North Yorkshire.

The scheme would see the existing facilities redeveloped into a motorway service station and Exelby Services and Truck Stop move to the site.

However, lawyers for Leeming Bar Services were today (Monday, Nov 26) issued with legal papers advising that Refined Estates Ltd, which proposed an alternative scheme near Baldersby, between Ripon and Thirsk, was challenging the minister’s decision.

The move is the latest twist in a saga which has been ongoing for more than three years.

The Government announced last month that the Leeming Bar Services was the winning scheme after a public inquiry was held to look at the different options.

Carl Les, owner of Leeming Bar Services, said he was bitterly disappointed at the setback.

“Just when we thought the 100 people who are employed here had a bright future, we are back in a world of doubt with the Sword of Damocles hanging over us.

“I’m again worried for the future and for the many jobs that are here. Everything is back up in the air again.

“We are a family business which is already here and you don’t have to take 40 acres of farmland to do what we want to do.”

Mr Les said he feared other parties would submit separate legal challenges, causing further delays to the redevelopment.

The new service station was proposed to improve facilities on the upgraded A1(M) between Dishforth and Leeming, which was officially opened earlier this year after work began in 2009.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said officials had not received details of a legal challenge, however she added that it could be several days before it arrived at the department after being issued.

The Northern Echo was unable to contact Refined Estates Ltd.

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