A plan to build more fast food restaurants and another petrol station beside a motorway junction believed to be among the North’s most congested has been recommended for approval with no measures to mitigate the development’s impact on the interchange.
While calls are mounting for a moratorium on a string of development proposals at the A1(M) and A66 Scotch Corner junction, North Yorkshire councillors will hear highways bosses are confident the interchange has sufficient capacity to accommodate the development.
If approved at a meeting on Thursday, Scotch Corner Richmond LLP’s proposal could see a petrol station and two drive through restaurants built near its planned 23,000sq m Scotch Corner Designer Outlet and 10,000sq m Blue Diamond Garden Centre, both of which have consent for food outlets, off the A6108 Barracks Bank Road.
Community leaders have repeatedly raised concerns over Highways England’s plans to upgrade the junction in response to the approved designer village and country’s largest garden centre, alongside proposals for a 26,000sq m factory, a film and radio studio and a further drive-through restaurant.
The proposal follows Roadchef being granted consent to build 8,912sq metres of restaurant and cafe floorspace, including Costa and McDonalds drive-thru cafes and a petrol station off the next junction to the south.
In addition, Moto already runs a petrol station and outlets for Subway, Greggs, Burger King, M&S Simply Food and West Cornwall Pasty Co at the junction.
North Yorkshire Council has been urged to undertake a strategic assessment of Scotch Corner focusing on issues such as road congestion, public transport, employee recruitment and the impact on local retailers, landscapes and the environment.
While planning officers have underlined all development applications must be considered on their own merits, councillors have argued the authority and roads bosses are ignoring the cumulative impact of piecemeal developments on a road network already regularly unable to cope with traffic volumes.
Objecting to the scheme numerous residents have warned the “busy roundabout will become gridlocked if it is not enhanced”.
Nevertheless, a report to the meeting states National Highways had given “careful consideration” to the cumulative effects of the approved schemes and the latest proposal and had concluded that the application proposals “would not require mitigation at the Scotch Corner gyratory”.
It adds Highways England has stated it is intending to undertake works at an unspecified date to widen the Middleton Tyas Lane approach to Junction 53 and add an extra lane on the northern bridge.
In an objection to Scotch Corner LLP’s latest proposal, a Moto spokesman said: “Given the absence of information to the contrary, it reasonable to conclude that the proposal would not meet a demonstratable need of the travelling public which is not already being met by Moto’s existing service area.”
However, the officer’s report concludes a petrol station and two drive through restaurants would be “healthy competition” for the existing outlets at the junction and “complement” the planned designer outlet and garden centre.
However, it adds the latter planned developments are “not sufficiently progressed to provide certainty they will come forward”.
The report concludes the scheme is “appropriate motorway related development”.
It states: “Given the number of users of Scotch Corner roundabout and the connecting A1, it is considered that these additional two food outlets would be proportionate and not result in an over-concentration of hot food restaurants.”