I WAS interested to read about the proposal to build a new service station on the M62.

According to reports, if permission is granted and it goes ahead, it will have a hotel, petrol station, parking facilities and service yard. One can only assume it will also have shops and cafes as all other services stations have.

The plan has been brought forward by Extra MSA Group which has submitted an outline planning application for the facility at junction 11 in Birchwood.

Apparently, Extra MSA Group believes it will improve road safety for that part of the motorway network.

I’m all in favour of increased road safety on the M62 as it was at exactly that location a speeding driver lost control of her car in the fast lane and crashed into me, writing-off my rather nice Vauxhall Vectra.

Being honest, I still consider myself very fortunate to have walked away without a scratch having been knocked across two lane of motorway before crashing into the safety barrier on the hard shoulder.

Anyway, back to the new service station. The company’s chief executive Andrew Long said: “We are committed to this £75 million ‘inward’ investment for the Warrington region, which will improve road safety for this important section of the motorway network, as well as creating a significant number of jobs, along with a full range of other important economic, social and environmental benefits.

“Extra MSA Warrington will further endorse a new standard for motorway service areas in the UK.”

This does raise one or two issues. In particular, surely new services at Birchwood would threaten the existence of Burtonwood services which is just a few miles west. Although given Burtonwood was rated as the second-worst service station in the country out of 111 surveyed by pressure group Transportfocus six weeks ago, I very much doubt there will be many drivers shedding bitter tears if it was to shut up shop.

My second question is just how does this new service station ‘improve road safety for this important section of the motorway network’? Will it have some kind of special safety features?

Or maybe it will just provide a space for weary motorists to wait out the inevitable rush hour traffic jams. I really would like a little more explanation as to what it is about the planned Birchwood services that will enhance road safety.

Anyway, the planning application got me thinking. I was under the impression there were regulations governing where services could be located. Turns out I’m wrong.

According to the website motorwayservicesonline.co.uk, until 1992, motorway service area locations were chosen by the government. They were planned at intervals roughly every 15 miles.

By 2013 the absolute minimum distance was abolished. Two rival service stations can, in theory, now be built opposite each other if they can both get planning approval so maybe Extra MSA Warrington isn’t such a whacky idea after all.


On a separate note, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I almost fell for a very convincing email scam that told me I hadn’t paid for my TV licence and had to sort it out straightaway.

I came very close to clicking until I noticed that the word ‘licence’ had been incorrectly spelled ‘license’ in one instance. I did some checking, realised it was a scam and consigned the email to the waste bin.

And then last week, I watched a television programme made by former Blue Peter presented Helen Skelton who fell for exactly the same scam and had £70,000 taken from her account.

The good news for Helen and her husband former Wire player Richie Myler is their bank has agreed to refund the money, although it wasn’t obliged to do so.

Just goes to show, you can’t be too careful.