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Cambridge services

Location:

A14 at J24 and J24A

Signposted from the road.

Postcode:

CB23 4WU

map and directions

Access/Layout:

Single site located at a junction.

Rating:



A busy service area with a large building, located off the busy A14 road.

Facilities

Catering: Chopstix Noodle Bar, Costa, El Mexicana, KFC, McDonald's, Warren's Bakery, West Cornwall Pasty Co, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: M&S Simply Food, Top Gift, WHSmith Main Amenities: Changing Places, Children's Play Area, Multi Faith Room, Quicksilver, Showers, HGV Covid-19 Test Centre Hotel: Ramadabook Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS & CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2, IONITY 350kW CCS Forecourt: Shell, Select, Deli by Shell, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue, Car Wash, Free Cash Machine

Parking Prices

First 3 hours free for all vehicles, after which charges apply:

Up to 4 hours (including free period): £9 Up to 6 hours: £20 Up to 8 hours: £27 Up to 15 hours: £30 Up to 24 hours: £35 Up to 48 hours: £48 Up to 72 hours: £90 Each additional 24 hours or part: £35 Trailer swaps: £15

Prices are paid at the parking machines in the car park and food court, and can be paid using GBP, Euros, using fuel cards or SNAP.

This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Cambridge Services
A14
Boxworth
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB23 4WU


Trivia and History

Ramada Cambridge 2021.jpg
The Ramada Hotel.

Camera icon

Services opened 2000

The service area opened on 1 December 2000 and became the biggest and busiest of Extra's first three services. They said that most of the units would become conference facilities and they would not use franchises. Strictly speaking they haven't used franchises, but they've leased units out to firms who do.

In early 2021, Extra started work to significantly change the parking layout at the site including the introduction of over 100 new HGV parking bays to the north of the site as well as reconfiguring the main car park and relocating the caravan and coach park too. These plans will also create a large looped circuit around the back of the main amenity building from the new HGV park to the main access roads. The new parking area is set to open later in 2021.

Shell were granted permission to build six IONITY electric vehicle charging bays next to their forecourt in April 2021. These would be in addition to the four already available in the main car park (and two which aren't in use).

Extra are currently seeking planning permission to build a drive thru Starbucks beside the site exit.

Branding

Early facilities included a McColl's newsagent. A Ben & Jerry's kiosk was also trialled here for a time.

The filling station was originally operated by Texaco and Somerfield, but was sold to Shell in 2008.

The motel here was originally a Days Inn, however it was re-branded and refurbished to become a Ramada in July 2015.

Ed's Easy Diner and a Wafflemeister kiosk were both trialled here alongside Extra's site at Peterborough however these both closed in 2019. Wafflemeister was replaced by Sweet Barrels in late 2019 which also later closed itself in March 2020 following the coronavirus lockdown.

A Warren's Bakery unit operated by SSP opened here in February 2020 occupying the former Patisserie Valerie unit.

Following the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, the Regus Express meeting room here permanently closed.

PizzaLuxe will open a restaurant here in December 2021, utilising the former Ed's Easy Diner and BakeFresh units. As well as serving breakfast, it will include a made-to-order cocktail menu and full-service bar.

Plan and Motorway Confusion

A14 services sign.
The new services sign overlooks the old facilities.

See also: A14 Planning Applications

The need for a new service area arose after concerns about HGVs struggling to find places to park, and sometimes behaving inappropriately. This problem was set to become worse with a plan to upgrade the A14 here. After ruling out building at Bar Hill, in 1991 Texaco received planning permission for a new service area here. It would have been a much smaller site set far back from the roundabout, but still with a separate amenity building, likely to be leased to another operator. A 100m development-free zone was established next to the services, to leave room for the planned A14 upgrade.

With confusion about when the A14 was going to be upgraded, whether it would be a motorway or whether it wouldn't happen at all, Texaco didn't go ahead with their plan. In 1996 it looked like the road wasn't going to be upgraded at all, so Extra came up with a plan similar to what was eventually built. The 100m development-free zone continued to be respected. There were a number of concerns that the development would be inappropriate in this area, but planning permission was still granted. It was renewed with a new proposal in 1999.

Cambridge service area built very close to Lolworth services, which was regarded as being fine for cars but too small for HGVs. The presence of Cambridge as a large competitor caused Lolworth to scale right back, and eventually close.

Even More Confusion

When Cambridge services opened, blue signs were mistakenly used, instead of the correct (at the time) green signs. The incorrect signage implies that Cambridge is a motorway service area, when there is no motorway for it to serve. Some listings have referred to it as being at the end of the M11.

In 2016, work started on a new project to upgrade the A14, utilising the protected empty zone. The new road has a larger junction at Swavesey, marginally increasing the journey time between the road and the service area. In 2018, it was announced that Highways England intended to open the new road as a motorway. Cambridge committed to meeting the standards required of an MSA, and blue motorway signs for "Cambridge services" were drawn up.

In October 2019 the plan to open the upgraded road as a motorway was been dropped, meaning Cambridge services can continue as it has done as a regular A-road service area.

Despite that, in April 2020 Cambridge managed to be the only A-road service area included on Highways England's motorway service area list. It seems Cambridge's efforts to sneak itself into the motorway classification are never going to end.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Fenstanton (A1307 eastbound, 3 miles)
Brampton Hut (12 miles)
Peterborough (A1(M) north, 24 miles)
Services on the A14Newmarket (19 miles)
Birchanger Green (M11, 32 miles)
Peterborough (A1(M) north, 30 miles)Extra servicesnone

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