New M25 services open for business at Cobham

Repressed from Get Surrey  – Author is Jenny Stanton
September 14, 2012

A CONTROVERSIAL new £75m service station opened on the M25 at Cobham on Wednesday morning (September 12).

A 75-bedroom hotel, the largest Shell petrol station in the UK and a range of food outlets were unveiled to the travelling public at 6am.

Giving a tour to the Surrey Advertiser, Ian Banks, capital projects co-ordinator for the developer, Extra Motorway Service Area Group, said he was pleased Cobham services had opened in an “appropriate manner” despite some delays.

Although there is still work to be completed, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Greggs, KFC, M&S Simply Food, WHSmith and a gaming outlet have all taken a unit in the main building. The 75 bedrooms in the Days Inn hotel are also ready to be used.

Mr Banks said a number of coach operators were interested in using Cobham as a swapover point for their cross-country services.

“We can reiterate the fact that opening Cobham makes a significant contribution to road safety on the M25 in terms of allowing travelling public to stop and rest at about 30 miles from the nearest services as opposed to what was 70 miles previously,” he said.

“We are very pleased with the speed at which it has filled up this morning.”

Andrew Long, CEO of the Extra Group, said: “The Cobham service area has been 19 years in development and we are delighted to see the final results of the hard work and planning of the team involved.”

The plans were formally approved by the government in 2005 in the face of stiff opposition from Elmbridge Borough Council and residents.

Mr Banks said the developer would be speaking to Downside residents at a meeting later this month to hear any issues they still have and try to address them.

“Extra is pleased to be invited to attend the meeting with Downside residents,” he added. “We are here to try and built a relationship with our neighbours, not to destroy one.”

John Stephens, chairman of Downside and Hatchford Community Group, said Extra would be attending their annual meeting on September 28 and said he thought most people attending would have questions to ask.

The meeting will be held at Downside Village Hall at 8pm.

David Tipping, vice-chairman of Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, said: “So the dreaded service station opened this morning. There was no need to provide a shopping centre on a ring road.

“Let’s hope this government will learn the lesson from this blot on the landscape and listen to those who object.

“It is very sad to see the destruction of 60 acres of green belt land.”

 

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About Roger Nield MBE

Safety Director for the SMPL Organisation and supporting our Vulnerable Veterans Programme.
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