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Unbuilt Services On The M18

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For a list of current service areas on the M18, see Services on the M18.

Being flat and mostly spread out, South Yorkshire is good motorway building territory.

This is 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.


Hatfield southbound.jpg
The two unused sliproads at Hatfield.

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For as long as the government were involved in motorway service area planning, their money was on a site at Hatfield.

Woodall services on the M1 opened in 1969, and any service areas on the M18 were always going to be measured from that. It's not entirely clear why Hatfield was chosen: the distance suggests there should be another service area in between the two, but a plan for one has never been recorded.

The Site

The land at Hatfield was purchased, four ghost slips were built on the M18, and a large area of land was excavated. The intention may have been to make the service area more discrete by hiding it slightly.

A subway was provided under the M18, for eventual customers to use. Much like at Rownhams, a subway would again be less imposing than the usual option of building a bridge.

Emergency access would have been provided through Mill Hill Road, which was bisected by the motorway.

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, others proposed a large site. The land allocated to it was very large, as was common for service areas of this era.

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 criticised 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.

Private Proposals

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:

Place Location Proposed Resolved Outcome Notes
Doncaster (North) ("Hatfield North") J5 (west side) 1993 2000 Built. Planned by Welcome Break and Granada.
Doncaster (Loversall) J3 (south side) 1994 1997 Approved. Planned by Rossington Hall Investments Ltd and Cameron Hall Ltd. Doncaster MBC liked the idea. Wasn't built. Land now used by new road.

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