Controversial plans for a £57m service area with a 100-bed hotel, petrol station and drive through cafes in a wildlife haven next to the A1M in North Yorkshire are to go before councillors for full planning permission.

Residents and environmental campaigners were furious when the former Richmondshire District Council approved outline plans for the scheme near junction 52 and close to Catterick Village within a few miles of alternative service areas at Leeming Bar, Barton and Scotch Corner.

Now Roadchef has applied for full planning permission which will be decided by North Yorkshire Council, following the disbanding of the former district councils.

There have been many objections including one specially set up group, the Campaign to Save Catterick’s Wildfowl Habitat with 261 members, and a 700 signature petition calling for the original plans to be overturned.

The scheme is on a site of Special Importance for Nature Conservation and campaigners warn it would destroy an important environment, used by migrating wildfowl and indigenous wildlife.

Roadchef said the site would employ around 300 staff, they have renewed their environmental impact assessment and plan to provide alternative sites for wildlife as well as an amenity lake with dog walking facilities.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Images of the Roadchef proposals

Alexandra Choat of the Environment Agency objected saying: “In this instance, the proposed development will have a detrimental effect on a priority habitat that we have a role in protecting. The application does not include adequate information about the measures proposed to assess and address the risk to ensure protection of the floodplain grazing marsh in this location.”

However the Agency say it may be possible to overcome the objections with detailed drawings and information on how they plan to relieve the environmental impact.

Resident Melanie Granger said: “Why ruin people's lives for this monstrosity and not upgrade something you already have in situ.”

Other residents and agencies argued the site is less than ten miles between the existing Leeming Bar, Barton and Scotch Corner Motorway Rest Areas which could be upgraded by Moto.

Kevin Ewart said: “I strongly object. I do not believe that this proposal is needed at this location. Service areas are already provided at Scotch Corner and Leeming, both of which are planning to expand and upgrade their facilities. The site itself, although a brownfield site from previous use as a quarry has been rewilded. It has become an important haven for various species of endangered birds and is a site of importance for nature conservation.

“And on the proposals to translocate these birds to a newly created habitat, there is a serious lack of authoritative research into this, and the survival rates both of the species moved, and of the wildlife left behind in the areas surrounding the new development.”

Gillian Wrightman protested: “I am writing to strongly object against the plan for a new motorway service station on the edge of Catterick Village. Firstly junction 52 will be slap bang in the middle of other service stations which are 5 miles both north and south of this one. Secondly the environmental damage to this land and its surrounding area will be immense. Nearly every day there can be flocks of 200+ birds using this land and very close to the lake where swans nest. The negative impact on the environment and the local nature would be irreparable.”

North Yorkshire Council say representations can be submitted through the Council's online Public Access facility, by email to or in writing to Planning Services, North Yorkshire Council, Mercury House, Station Road, Richmond, DL10 4JX by March 10, 2024.