Unbuilt Services On The M18
For a list of current service areas on the M18, see Services on the M18.
Being flat and mostly spread out, South Yorkshire was good motorway building territory.
This was a problem for service stations. Frequent motorway service areas are still required for safety reasons, but with traffic much more spread out than elsewhere in the country, demand to run those facilities was low. Secondly, flat fields meant that buildings had to be carefully designed so as not to stand out.
The Ministry initially said an extended M18 would need two service areas. This was deemed to be excessive. West Riding County Council found a site at Armthorpe which they recommended, but the Ministry weren't satisfied. They eventually settled on one: Hatfield.
The two unused slip roads at Hatfield.
Hatfield services would have been 24 miles from Woodall, and 14 miles from Hensall services on the M62. This would leave space for a potential extra site before Woodall, in the unlikely event it was ever needed.
For Hatfield, a large plot of land was purchased and excavated, and four ghost slips were built on the M18. A subway was provided under the M18, for eventual customers to use. The intention may have been to make the service area more discrete by hiding it slightly.
Emergency access would have been provided through Mill Hill Road, which was bisected by the motorway and met the field on both sides.
The embankments are now used as a local skate park. Ironically, one of the unused slip roads is now used to hold a sign informing motorists about nearby Doncaster (North) services.
The plan was that bids would be invited in 1973, ready to have the service area open in 1975. There were problems constructing the road and it wasn't ready until 1977.
A 1976 report suggested Hatfield services would be open by 1979. There was then talk of it happening throughout the 1980s; in 1989 the Department of Transport registered a planning application for it; and a 1990 document suggested it would be open in 1992. The 1980s was a period where many government service area proposals suffered from planning difficulties and lack of developer interest.
Plans have varied in scale: some suggesting only fuel needed to be provided, while others said it would be a large site. The authorities wanted it to have plenty of room because there weren't many facilities nearby, but the traffic levels were so low that developers were unlikely to agree.
By 1990, the Department of Transport reported that they wanted to progress with Hatfield services, but progress had been delayed by the fallout from the High Court case over Clacket Lane, which had been critical of the Department's procedures. When the Department ended its involvement in service area planning in 1992, they said they had completed "preliminary work" at Hatfield, and were leaving it to developers to pick up the baton. Developers turned their attention to a site a mile up the road instead, as this could serve three carriageways with one building.
Since 1992, developers have been solely responsible for coming up with their own proposals for new motorway services. This led to an increase in proposals, but they are normally clustered around the same area and most are quickly ruled out.
We would list service areas proposed for the M180 and M181 motorways here, but we are not aware of any. Some of the new motorway services once planned for the M18 we have uncovered include:
|Doncaster (North) ("Hatfield North")
|J5 (west side)
|Planned by Welcome Break and Granada.
|J3 (south side)
|Planned by Rossington Hall Investments Ltd and Cameron Hall Ltd. Doncaster MBC liked the idea. Wasn't built. Land now used by new road.