A1 motorway services 20-year battle reignites

Flashback 2008: Kirby Hill RAMS campaigners protest against motorway services.
Flashback 2008: Kirby Hill RAMS campaigners protest against motorway services.

Campaigners fighting plans to build motorway service areas at Melmerby and Kirby Hill have pledged to fight on as developers lodged an appeal to the High Court.

Proposals by Heather Ive Associates were thrown out by the Secretary of State Eric Pickles on October 17 over fears of environmental damage – but the developers are preparing to challenge the decision.

Campaigners against the property developers – who have submitted three plannining applications and three inquiries during the 20-year saga – remain defiant against the fresh appeal, claiming the Government made “the right decision for the right reasons.”

Coun Carl Les, who led the Motel Leeming Services application – which was granted permission in October after being in business on Bedale Road for over 50 years – said: “We are very disappointed. Our current members of staff are feeling very insecure about their employment position and are wondering what will happen in the future.

“We build on brown acres whereas Heather Ive are proposing to build on green acres which would cause substantial harm to the environment.

“We are defending the Secretary of State’s decision. This has been going on since 1991 and an appeal like this wastes a lot of public money.”

Developers Jaytee (Rainton) LLP and Refined Estates Ltd, who also had applications rejected, are planning to lodge appeals to the High Court as part of a conjoined bid with Heather Ive Associates.

Kirby Hill’s Residents Against Motorway Services (RAMS) have been fighting a planning battle against Heather Ive Associates since their first application was granted in 1997,

RAMS chairman Gareth Owens said: “Previously the three developers were battling it out, at each other’s throats, and now suddenly they are working together. It’s disgraceful. They want to rip up large chunks of the countryside. No should mean no at some point and it has gone well past the point.”