SwindonRoad: M4 at J16
(also accessible to traffic on the A3102 and the B4005)
Location: Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire
Authority: Wiltshire Council
Year initiated: 2023
Moto announced to the public in September 2023 that they were looking to develop a motorway rest area in the corner of the modified roundabout at M4 J16, next to the retail parks on the edge of Swindon.
It would be accessed from a new roundabout on the B4005, which would lead to a secondary roundabout, where a one-way system around the site would begin.
Facilities would include 50 electric vehicle charging points, 241 car parking spaces, 62 HGV spaces, 7 caravan bays and 6 coach bays. The main building would have a tall, arched roof, while the forecourt would be much smaller than normal, reflecting the relatively low traffic levels and the predicted future trends.
Moto have been stressing the environmental credentials of their proposal, saying it will have solar panels, a grass roof and new wildlife habitats. They say 150 jobs would be created.
The proposal is currently at the public consultation stage.
As the M4 hasn't turned out to be as busy as other early motorways, and it was one of the first to benefit from expanded facilities, that plan was deemed to be unnecessary.
As of 2022, new government regulations say that all motorways must have HGV parking at least every 14 miles. This gives Moto a strong argument in their favour. They are likely to argue that the original location of Ballards Ash would now be too difficult to build on; and that there is a need for more HGV parking and charging points, with any other facilities being there to cover the running costs.
This is the first time anybody has ever suggested building a new motorway rest area from scratch since the concept was launched 15 years ago, so the proposal is a bit of a boon for that reason. This is arguably a good idea of what the concept is about: addressing specific issues without needing to build all the facilities expected from a service station. However, it's not immediately clear why this plan wouldn't qualify as a full motorway service area, unless it's down to a technical issue.
A facility here would give Moto a chain of three in a row between here and Chepstow, although the other two have much older buildings. Some would argue that Moto are defending their territory in what was previously a very saturated market.
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