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Huge new motorway service station planned for M42 in Solihull - creating 300 jobs

Station will be the first opened in region since Hopwood services in 1999

Artist impression of new motorway services on the M42 near Catherine de Barnes

The biggest motorway service station in the West Midlands is on its way to Solihull – providing a vital £65 million ‘missing link’ in the heart of the region.

Plans have been unveiled for the new motorway service area (MSA) between Junctions 5 and 6 on the M42, creating 300 new jobs, in a project hailed as a huge economic and travel boost to the region.

The new station will be the first to be opened in the West Midlands since Hopwood, near Bromsgrove in 1999 – and will be the largest motorway facility of its kind across the region’s road network.

Planners say the Solihull Motorway Service Area, located to the west of the M42 and south of Solihull Road, close to Birmingham Airport, will complete the development jigsaw centred around the growth of the NEC, Birmingham Airport and Solihull.

Andrew Long, chief executive of motorway service station operators Extra MSA Group, said: “This will be the busiest motorway service area in the West Midlands by a significant margin and is much needed.

“We would expect this to be in the top three or four busiest locations of its kind in the UK. It very much puts Solihull on the map.

“Subject to planning consent, we could be on site by 2016 and we are looking to open by the third or fourth quarter of 2017. This will create 300 permanent full-time jobs.

“You have got the NEC, the Airport, HS2 – it is already a very busy location and it will become busier and it is important that you have the facilities to support these developments.”

Plans for a service station in the area date back to a previous plan on the site which had been recognised to be of benefit, but the scheme was turned down by the Government in 2009 amid concerns over an impact on a Highways Agency Smart Motorways pilot on the M42.

Sue Manns from planning consultants Pegasus Group, said: “Back in 1999, there was a need identified for a motorway service area for this location off the M42. This will be the missing link.

“There is a social case and an economic case, regionally and locally. The need for this was recognised and that need is greater now; traffic flows are greater.

“This will be close to Birmingham Airport, close to the NEC and close to the Solihull growth area. It is part of a new generation of motorway service areas, very different to the old concrete structures of the past.”

Planners say potential concerns over increased traffic on local roads will be overcome through the provision of a new £12 million junction to the north of Solihull Road, which will provide access to the site.

The project will also pave the way for the £1.5 million restoration of the nearby Grade Two Listed Walford Hall Farm, which has been derelict for several years, along with new woodland planting and landscaping.

A total of 20,000 leaflets will be distributed to nearby homes outlining the proposals. Two exhibitions have been arranged where members of the project team will be on hand to listen to the public’s view on the proposed plans as well as answer any questions.

The first exhibition is at Catney Village Hall in Catherine de Barnes on Friday December 12 from 2.30 pm to 8pm. A public exhibition will also take place at The Ramada George Hotel in Solihull on Saturday December 13 from 10am to 4pm.

 

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