Motorway campaigners hail court ruling

Members of the Kirby Hill Rams  protesting against the Heather Ive Associates' application.
Members of the Kirby Hill Rams protesting against the Heather Ive Associates' application.

Campaigners against motorway service areas near Kirby Hill and Baldersby have breathed a sigh of relief following a High Court ruling.

Three appeals were brought to the court by developers whose applications to build the service areas on the A1(M) were dismissed by Secretary of State Eric Pickles last year .

In his ruling following a lengthy public inquiry in Ripon, Mr Pickles had ruled the existing services at Leeming Bar should be upgraded at the same time as rejecting an application for a service area at Kirby Hill and two at the A1/A61 junction near Melmerby.

Had the High Court overturned Mr Pickles’ ruling, it might have re-opened the possiblity of service areas being built at one of the rejected locations.

Heather Ive Associates had originally been granted permission to build on the Kirkby Hill site in 1997 but this was overturned in a High Court appeal and subsequent planning applications for the location were also turned down.

Gareth Owens, chairman of Kirby Hill RAMS (Residents Against Motorway Services), said: “It’s been obvious to local people since the 1990s that the sensible way to provide better motorway services on this stretch of the A1(M)was to upgrade the existing facilities at Leeming Bar.

“Thirteen major planning applications have been considered, at three public inquiries, each followed by a High Court appeal.

“The latest case was brought by developers Jaytee Ltd and Refined Estates Ltd, who advocate sites adjacent to the A61/A1(M) junction at Baldersby, together with Heather Ive Associates, who are still flogging the dead horse that is the Kirby Hill scheme, which was repeatedly turned down by planners because of the harm it would cause.

“It’s all been an enormous waste of time and public money just to confirm what local people knew already.”

Mr Owens thanked the local community, including the Ripon Gazette, for its support and for the thousands of hours people have contributed to Kirby Hill RAMS campaign over the last 17 years.

He added: “The highest court in the land has now vindicated our position.”