Is there a need for a service area on this stretch of road?
There is a clear need for services on this stretch of road. Approximately 30,000 vehicles use the A34 each day, however driving northbound there is no westside service area between Tothill Services (south of Newbury) and the services just south of the A34/M40 interchange at Bicester without having to leave the A34 dual carriageway. This is a distance of 40 miles without easily accessible services (illustrated on the map below). Whilst we recognise that there are services located on the A34 at Chieveley and Milton Interchange, these are located on the southbound carriageway and not as easily accessible for northbound drivers.
Highways England recommends that the distance between service stations should be no more than 28 miles (or 30 minutes’ drive time) on motorways. Whilst the A34 is not a motorway, it takes even longer to travel the 40 miles between Tothill Services and Bicester than it would on a motorway, and this facility would provide drivers with a place to stop, refresh and replenish their fuel.
Will the service area benefit the local area and local residents?
There are currently very few retail facilities serving Chilton and Harwell Campus. Chilton Services will provide fuel, retail and a food outlet in a location which is easily accessible to both the local residents of Chilton village and to Harwell Campus employees travelling to and from work – both north and southbound.
With no village shop in Chilton, the service area would provide a grocery store with extensive opening hours for Chilton residents, and mean they no longer need to rely on the infrequent bus service to Didcot’s shops. Footpath improvements will also be made to allow pedestrian access to the site from Chilton village.
Supporting the growth of Science Vale
For Science Vale to grow, it needs to be supported by local jobs and infrastructure. Harwell Campus is currently home to over 200 organisations with over 5,000 employees (scheduled to double) – and continues to expand. Chilton Services will aid the development of Science Vale, providing supporting infrastructure for its employees.
Creating a greener environment
Chilton Services will support the development of a greener environment, by encouraging the use of electric cars. Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in our cities, but due to their limited range they are underused on longer journeys, where electric car charging points are few and far between. Chilton Services will encourage their use on the A34 by providing this service where there is currently none available on the A34 northbound for 40 miles.