27th Feb, 2021

MP hits out at plans to build motorway services on the M42

MERIDEN MP Saqib Bhatti has hit out at plans to build two motorway service stations at Catherine de Barnes and Hockley Heath.

The MP says that not only they not needed, but will lead to irretrievable loss of Green Belt land.

And he’s written to the Secretary of State Grant Shapps requesting a call-in for the applications for both services.

He said: “I have looked at both planning applications and do not see the need for either motorway service station.

“This is because the motorway exits are already well serviced, and I am concerned about the safety risks associated with the active traffic

management system.

“I also believe that both applications conflict with the national planning policy framework on Green Belt development.”

The call-in will require the Secretary of State to issue a public inquiry into the proposals led by a planning inspector whose findings will be taken into account when a final decision is made.

Regarding the damage this would do to the Green Belt, Mr Bhatti said: “Both proposals will lead to loss in the Meriden Gap which is already under considerable pressure.

“The site in Catherine de Barnes will result in the loss of Asbury Copse and two veteran trees.

“This is irreplaceable loss and we must consider all avenues before going ahead with any decision.

“In my view, there is already too much pressure on the Green Belt and either of these motorway service stations would be a step too far.

“There have been significant developments, including HS2 since these plans were last reviewed and it is for these reasons that I have requested a call-in.”

The Woodland Trust has also expressed its opposition to plans for any new motorway services citing that the “ancient woodland has laid undisturbed for centuries, evolving into a complex ecosystem supporting thousands of species.

“It cannot be moved; it cannot be recreated. Once gone, it’s gone forever”.

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