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Stretton Court (Hinckley)

Stretton Court (Hinckley)

Road: A5 by M69 J1
Location: Burbage, Hinckley, Leicestershire
Authority: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
References: 23/01023/HYB , 20/00531/HYB
Developer: Welcome Break
Year initiated: 2016
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Brackley Investments held planning permission to build an employment centre and roadside service area on the A5, a development that they called Stretton Point. However, Welcome Break bought the land in August 2022, and they announced in March that they wanted to develop a full motorway service area for the M69, which they call Stretton Court, although they're more likely to open it as Hinckley services.

Motorway Proposal

Under Welcome Break's proposal, the site would still be accessed from a new set of traffic lights on the A5. A turning from the spine road would lead to three parking areas (broken up by the power lines), and it would then continue to parking for 29 HGVs, plus caravans, coaches and a forecourt for HGVs. There would be 36 electric vehicle charging points.

The main amenity building would have a shop and game arcade on the left, toilets at the back, Pret a Manger, Burger King and a KFC with drive thru windows. At the front would be seating and a Starbucks. This would be a similar layout and building style to other Applegreen developments, with them now being Welcome Break's parent company. A separate drive thru Starbucks would be provided at the other end of the building.

Planning Context

The M69, being a relatively short and lightly-trafficked motorway, does not have any motorway service areas, and wasn't considered to need any when it was built.

When the industry was deregulated in the 1990s and there was competition for new sites, another developer did try to build one on the opposite side of the roundabout here in 1994. This was refused planning permission. Despite this, the area around this large roundabout has continued to be built on, with the roundabout itself being widened to accommodate the increasing amounts of traffic. This particular piece of land has previously held planning permission for a restaurant and hotel.

In December 2022, a new government policy said that all motorways must have parking for HGVs every 14 miles. This means that the 16 mile-long M69 is now regarded as a 'problem' (Welcome Break calls it a "significant need"). On that basis alone, government policy does support Welcome Break's proposal. It should also be noted that Welcome Break have a strong hold of this region, owning both of the two nearest motorway service areas, so the news that there is a need for a new one may have caused commercial concerns.

Government policy does also say that new motorway service areas should avoid being built at roundabouts, and this is likely to have been a cause for concern for the highway authorities. Welcome Break have argued that there is no possible alternative location because this is what was for sale. Regardless of that, in practice the expected traffic levels are unlikely to justify the large cost of building a new motorway junction, and building here means there is more local traffic for the facilities, including the charging points.

Existing Proposal

Separate to this, a proposal to develop this land to partly form an A-road service area for the A5 was proposed in 2016, and secured planning permission in 2022. It's not clear if it would be signposted from the road, but it does not qualify to be signed from the M69.

This much smaller plan would have a filling station with 13 car parking spaces, and a Starbucks Drive Thru with 31 more car parking spaces. The Starbucks would be operated by EG Group.

There would also be 6 HGV parking spaces, 1 coach bay, 10 motorcycle bays and 7 staff parking spaces. The parking provision was partly to make up for the lay-by on the A5, which will be closed to provide the new access.

Welcome Break have indicated that this proposal is now unlikely to go ahead, but that it has established the need for some facilities in this area.

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