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Chiltern Chalfont

Chiltern Chalfont:

Road: M25 between J16 and J17
Location: Gerrards Cross, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
Date planned: 2018-2023


Chalfont St Peter site.jpg
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Warren Farm and Chiltern Chalfont were two efforts by Extra to fill the gap in the M25's service areas.

The Warren Farm proposal was made public in October 2018. The facilities would have been placed to the west of the motorway between J16 and J17, with a new flyover providing access across the road. The site forms part of the High Speed 2 railway construction site, but the compound was due to be decommissioned by 2027, leaving the land free for development.

The amenity building would have been shaped like a giant leaf, with a grass roof except for another leaf-shaped glass section, all attached to the hotel by a glazed entrance. At the back would have been a walk around a lake, feeding into a stream which would run down the middle of the car park.

Inside the building would have been 12 units spread out around a central seating area, with toilets at the back. Two of those units would have had a mezzanine area, with a business centre and offices joining them on the first floor. An on-site hotel would have had its own dedicated restaurant area.

The forecourt would have had 36 car pumps and would also have had a grass roof, as would the hotel. A large HGV parking area had been designated. A number of variations of the masterplan were published, experimenting with different building positions and road layouts.

The Warren Farm plan received numerous objections and concerns, including from local action group SENSE4CSP and Thames Valley Police. Planning permission was refused at a public inquiry in November 2021.

Chiltern Chalfont Option

Chiltern Chalfont site layout.
The proposed relationship between the M25 and Chiltern Chalfont services.

After the feedback received at the public inquiry, Extra quickly announced a new proposal in March 2022. Chiltern Chalfont would be built in broadly the same location, but on the opposite side of the road.

There would have been a large amenity building in the north-east corner of the land. The building would have been a perfect circle, with 11 units and four more kiosks inside. A service corridor would have ran around the outside.

It would have had a glass roof, with a leaf-shaped roof light. The food units would have been surrounded by the large windows at the front. The leaf would have been one of many references to the Chilterns area, which Chiltern Chalfont services claimed to champion.

There would have been 759 car parking spaces, with 20 electric vehicle charging points and the potential to create up to 120 more. There would have been 142 spaces for HGVs and 19 coaches. Closer to the large entry roundabout would have been a fuelling area, with a central building accessed from two separate sides.

In justifying that scheme, Extra had stated that there was a "significant public safety need" to address driver tiredness, and they argued that it was a better proposal than Colne Valley, which was also in the planning stages. Buckinghamshire County Council had agreed that the region does not have enough HGV parking spaces.

Extra said they have chosen the eastern side of the M25 following lessons learned from the objectors, and "significant landscaping" would have been provided. The new site was part of the HS2 construction site, but wouldn't be affected by the finished project.

This iteration of the scheme was refused planning permission in September 2023, after the rival Colne Valley proposal was deemed to be less destructive.


See also: M25 Planning Applications

Even in the 1970s, the M25's service areas faced deep planning difficulties. After Iver wasn't built, there was a large gap left for the private sector to fill. Planners had suggested the M25 would need four as an absolute minimum, with eight service areas being the target they had been working on.

Chiltern District Council were approached by the Department of Transport about the suitability of the Chalfont St Peter area, prompting the head of the planning committee to say "this is the worst thing to hit Chalfont St Peter since sliced bread".

The Warren Farm land was the subject of a service area planned between 1996 and 1999, by Total. This would have had facilities on both sides of the road. That plan was rejected at the 1999 public inquiry and Cobham was eventually built instead; but Cobham is already at full capacity.

The plan for Warren Farm stood against other motorway service areas planned for this part of the M25, namely Moto's Kings Langley and Welcome Break's Colne Valley. Technically, there is no reason why all three couldn't be built, but it would be very unlikely that this could be justified. In the event, Kings Langley was refused, followed by both of Extra's proposals.

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