Developer to make key changes to proposed Banbury motorway services plan

Banbury Employment Hub lorries. The M40 with Banbury Gateway behind and the hub site in the foreground. NNL-170425-154123009
Banbury Employment Hub lorries. The M40 with Banbury Gateway behind and the hub site in the foreground. NNL-170425-154123009

EG Group, the forecourt operators who have submitted plans for a motorway service station at junction 11 of the M40, has announced that it will be making changes to its plans for the site following feedback from Cherwell planning officers.

EG Group’s plans, which include new offices, a storage and distribution warehouse and motorway services, would create 1000 jobs but opposition to the development from the Banburyshire community has been vehement.

Banbury 15 Employment Hub. View from the A361 towards the M40 and Banbury Gateway Retail Park beyond. NNL-170221-160742009

Banbury 15 Employment Hub. View from the A361 towards the M40 and Banbury Gateway Retail Park beyond. NNL-170221-160742009

The overriding concern for residents in villages east of the M40 and businesses that rely on Hennef Way and Ermont Way for access is the increase in traffic the development will undoubtedly bring.

Chacombe resident Mike Murray analysed traffic flow data supplied by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Mike said: “The daily M40 flow is 84,225 vehicles (DfT figures, using average of last counted north and south flows).

“Assuming a six per cent turn in rate, (from Euro Garage’s technical report) this means 5,053 vehicles from the motorway will use the services daily.

Banbury Employment Hub lorries. The A422 approaching the M40 roundabout. NNL-170425-154214009

Banbury Employment Hub lorries. The A422 approaching the M40 roundabout. NNL-170425-154214009

“If we consider just this service station traffic, this would mean 10,106 extra traffic movements daily on Junction 11 and the A361.

“Adding these to the current A361 to J11 flow of 7,734 per day (DfT figures) equals a total of 17,840 daily movements, an increase of 131 per cent on current traffic volumes on this stretch. This does not include movement of vehicles related to the proposed new hotel, warehouse and offices.”

EG Group sad in a statement: ‘Following the submission of the application a small number of technical concerns were raised by consultees, including Highways England and Oxfordshire County Council, which EG Group are now seeking to address before the application is determined.

The changes proposed include amendments to landscaping and layout as well as alterations to highways.’

Tom Jeremiah, planning director at EG Group, said: “During discussions with planning officers at Cherwell Council and other stakeholders, it became clear that we could make a number of improvements to the scheme to ensure that we could deliver this fantastic site and the best possible development for Banbury.

“As an allocated employment site the principle of development has already been set by Cherwell Council’s Local Plan. In the coming weeks, we will be working closely with the Council to make our proposed changes, responding directly to the feedback we have received and ensuring that we meet, and even exceed, the Council’s aspiration for this site as set out in their Local Plan.”

The plans (application number 17/01044/F) were originally submitted in early 2017 following a public consultation where EG Group invited 3,500 people to a public exhibition in Banbury Town Hall.

There are now dozens of public comments attached to the plans on the Cherwell District Council’s website, almost all opposed to the development.

Aside from the increase in traffic and the impact that will have on both Banbury and the surrounding villages of Chacombe and Williamscot other concerns relate to; The need for such a development as there are existing service stations at J10 and another just past J12; Potential flooding due to the area being covered with tarmac not allowing excess water to soak back into the ground, and the timing of the build which will coexist with the construction of HS2 and the havoc that will wreak.

Mr Jeremiah, however, sees things differently, he said: “Despite the technical issues raised, we had an overall positive response to the plans during our initial consultation and remain confident that our proposals make the best possible use of this allocated site.

“Given the points raised by Highways England and others, we feel this is a fantastic opportunity to reassess our application in the round and seek to make improvements before it is determined by councillors.

“We have held a number of positive meetings with the Council since we originally submitted the application and we are working collaboratively to ensure our application accords with Cherwell’s vision for the development of this site.”

EG Group will release details of the changes in the coming months.

To view the planning application visit Cherwell District Council’s planning page and search for 17/01044/F

To comment on the proposal email planning@cherwell-dc.gov.uk with 17/01044/F in the subject line.