Fears "tweaks" to plans will make motorway services blot on the landscape
OPPONENTS of a planned motorway services fear its environmentally-friendly credentials may be watered down.
New planning applications and amendments for the £40million motorway service station at Onger's Farm, Brookthorpe have raised concerns it could be a more of a blot on the landscape than they first feared.
But their two main worries over reflection from glazing and reduced green screening of the filling stations have been scotched by the operator Westmorland Ltd.
"When you look at the images of the new proposals, it would appear some of the green credentials are disappearing in favour of cheaper options," said Eric Hibbert, chairman of Brookthorpe-with-Whaddon Parish Council and pressure group Campaign Against Motorway Service Area (CAMSA).
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"It seems they are to move away from blending the filling stations in with the landscape and make it less a part of a hill which would hide it.
"It also appears the glazing has changed, showing more reflective glass. If that's the case, it would have an impact on the view from the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."
Mr Hibbert has already met with the Council for Protection of Rural England and Stroud District Council to discuss concerns.
Stroud District Council said yesterday it will ensure the approved plans are adhered to as far as possible.
Nine amendments to the plans cover reducing a service yard area, narrowing glazing, and re-configuring air vents. Full planning applications cover altering slip roads after consultation with the Highways Agency. Two more cover changes to drainage, following consultation with the Environment Agency.
Westmorland chief executive Sarah Dunning said the environmental credentials of the scheme remained.
"There is a decrease in glazing to the front of the building, not an increase," she said. "There are a few minor amendments to the green screening of the filling station forecourts, mainly to go along with health and safety requirements. It has not resulted in changes in terms of what is seen from the outside."
Westmorland is working with Gloucestershire Gateway Trust to start building work on the services, which are expected to create 300 jobs.
Three public rights of way crossing the 70-acre site may have to be diverted and opponents believed a public inquiry over that could halt the project.