Major plans in the pipeline to bring 'iconic' service station near Northampton into 'the future'
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Major plans are in the pipeline to bring an ‘iconic’ service station near Northampton into ‘the future’.
‘Extensive’ plans to redevelop Watford Gap North and South service stations, on the M1 motorway, are being ‘negotiated’ with the Government.
The applicant, Roadchef, says it wants to ‘significantly increase’ electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity at the sites.
A Roadchef spokeswoman said: “We're proud to run Britain's most iconic service station, Watford Gap on the M1. We recognise that the site needs to evolve to meet the growing and changing needs of Britain's road users, and ensure it's fit for the future of road travel.
"It is no secret that we wish to invest in the site, to significantly increase EV charging capacity and provide a better all-round experience to motorists.
"We remain in negotiations with the Department for Transport about extending our lease of Watford Gap, after which will then be able to move forward with our extensive development plans.
"We will continue to celebrate the heritage of this iconic location as we update the facilities through significant investment to ensure that Watford Gap remains as popular as it has been since opening in 1959."
Paul Comer, Director of EV implementation at Roadchef, added: “With the recent success of launching our first Electric Super Hubs at Watford Gap North and South, we’re excited to continue our Super Hub EV journey.
"As more EVs take to the road, it’s essential for our facilities to be expanded and upgraded to meet this demand.”
Plans to implement the first phase of the electric charging points at the ‘super hubs’ were approved in October. Proposals were approved for 12 charging points to be implemented at Watford Gap southbound services, while plans were approved for six charging points at the northbound site. The approved applications also includes a canopy over the parking area, substation and power cabinets.
A spokesperson for Motorway Services Online, which researches the development of service stations, said: “Watford Gap holds a special place in the hearts of many people, who remember when it was a major social venue for a wide range of people from musicians to lorry drivers.“However, it’s not a museum piece, it’s an important facility that has already changed beyond all recognition as it tries to adapt to modern demands.“It’s fitting that one of the UK’s first motorway service areas now wants to be a pioneer of a new generation of service station, and it will be interesting to see what they turn it into.”