Plans to build a new M25 service station on greenbelt land have been blocked by Three Rivers District Council.

Councillors unanimously refused Moto's application at a meeting held at Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth on June 24.

Moto were seeking approval for the construction of a new motorway service area including an 80-bed hotel, petrol station, shops and a drive-thru coffee unit.

The nationwide service station operator had identified land off the A41 near junction 20 for the M25 by Kings Langley.

The outline application received more than 1,600 objections from locals and other organisations making it the most disliked scheme in Three Rivers District Council's history.

Watford Observer: CGI of the proposed Moto applicationCGI of the proposed Moto application

At a planning committee meeting last Thursday, members reiterated a number of concerns that have been made during the planning process.

Primarily, councillors were most concerned about the level of traffic that would be brought onto the already busy A41 from the M25 - Hertfordshire County Council had already indicated it was not willing to support Moto's scheme, with officers concluding "insufficient" information had been provided by Moto demonstrating the proposals would not have a "severe impact" on the local road network.

Members were also concerned about the joining up of land between Langleybury and Hunton Bridge with Kings Langley, while the visual impact of the scheme on neighbouring areas was also debated.

Before coming to their final decision, committee members heard arguments from Moto about why the service station should be approved, and from a man from Berkhamsted, formerly of Kings Langley, who uses this section of the A41.

He spoke against the application and was applauded by campaigners who had gathered to watch the meeting unfold.

Watford Observer: Marked in red is roughly the land Moto proposed to build the service station. Credit: Google MapsMarked in red is roughly the land Moto proposed to build the service station. Credit: Google Maps

Among those in attendance was Stephen Morrill, who lives near Sarratt, and is a member of the Chandler's Cross Residents Association.

Mr Morrill was one of the 1,614 who had written into the council objecting to Moto's application. He questioned the need for a service station in this area and also felt the M25 roundabout by Kings Langley would be unable to cope with the extra traffic.

Mr Morrill said afterwards: "I think refusal is the right decision. It’s the wrong place for a service station. I think it would have been risky for the council to say yes due to the amount of public opposition. Almost all locals were against it. They will be happy with the council's decision."

Green Belt Matters, a Three Rivers district-based community organisation campaigning to defend the area's green spaces, described the refusal as "great news".

Watford Observer: The Moto scheme by junction 20 for the M25The Moto scheme by junction 20 for the M25

The fight may not be over because Moto can appeal the council's decision.

The applicants say there is a need for a service station along this stretch of M25 - rival applications have been submitted by Extra for a service station near Chalfont St Peter, while Welcome Break has identified land between the M4 and M40.

The Government'S Planning Inspectorate will make a final decision on Extra's application after Buckinghamshire Council failed to make a decision within a statutory period, according to the Bucks Free Press.