Applegreen puts brakes on major Yorkshire site
Irish stock market-listed forecourt retailer Applegreen - which has several sites in Northern Ireland - has pulled its plans for a major motorway service area in England.
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Applegreen, led by Bob Etchingham, operates two motorway services areas on the M1 at Lisburn and another on the M2 in Templepatrick, as well as three smaller filling stations.
Its planned service area at Kirby Hill in Yorkshire was likely to cost between £40m and £50m to develop, according to Applegreen. It would have created about 300 jobs.
But the plans for the 43-acre site drew a significant amount of opposition.
One action group opposing the development welcomed the decision by Applegreen to withdraw its planning application for the site.
"We have always maintained that Kirby Hill is an inappropriate location for a large-scale motorway services development," said activist Gareth Owens.
"With existing services at Wetherby and Leeming Bar, there is absolutely no need for an MSA (motorway services area) at Kirby Hill."
Mr Owens said that Applegreen cited issues of land ownership as the reason for withdrawing the planning application.
The company had undertaken an extensive amount of local consultation and was involved in detailed planning and environmental studies.
Applegreen had insisted the new MSA would have plugged a gap on the A1 motorway where it said such services were not available.
It had also said the MSA would reflect the wishes of the Government for increased competition in the UK MSA market.
In August, Applegreen agreed to pay £21m to the Carsley Group for seven operational sites in the UK.