Solihull Motorway Service Area

Why here?

Why this site?

Having established that there is a significant road safety and Motorway user welfare need for a new MSA on the M42  and that Government policy recommends a maximum distances between MSAs of 28 miles, a search for suitable sites in the optimal location between M42 Junction 5 and Junction 7 was undertaken.

It is not possible to locate a online MSA between Junction 6 and Junction 7 for safety reasons (the two junctions are too close together). Hence, a new online MSA in the optimal location would need to be located between Junction 5 and 6. The Alternative sites assessment (which forms part of the planning application) identified an area of land to the south west of Solihull Road as the most appropriate location. This site had also been the subject of a previous application for a MSA.

Planning History

In 2001, following a Public Inquiry into previous proposals for a MSA on the same site, the Secretary of State recognised the significance of the substantial gaps which existed on this part of the Motorway Network and was ‘minded to approve’ the application subject to the satisfactory resolution of a number of outstanding issues in relation to the access arrangements. A copy of the Inspectors Report and Secretary of State’s Decision can be found to the right along with a copy of the 2001 ‘Minded to Approve’ layout plan.

In 2009, following the re-opening of the Inquiry, the Secretary of State concluded that despite the fact that there was “a significant unmet need” for a new MSA on this part of the Network, safety issues with regard to access from the M42 were such that permission could not be granted at that point in time. The concerns related to the potential impact on the safe operation of the pilot ‘Smart Motorway’ scheme which was then being trialled on that part of the M42. A copy of the Inspectors Report and Secretary of State’s Decision can be found to the right.

As a result of the successful Smart Motorways pilot scheme on the M42, similar schemes have since been delivered on key parts of the National Motorway Network and there is now a good understanding of how they perform in practice. MSAs now operate safely within operational Smart Motorway Schemes, for example on the M25, M62 and M1, and the published Design Standards acknowledge MSAs.

In the light of this knowledge and in the context of the Secretary of State’s view that this was the most appropriate location (having considered other locations as part of the two Inquiries) and the now overwhelming need for a new MSA, it was decided to re-consider proposals for this site.