Residents have been left furious with after the council approved plans for a £57m motorway service area, despite Scotch Corner being just miles away.

A site of pasture land near Catterick Village will see a 100-bed hotel and petrol station as part of a £57 million development headed by Roadchef.

The plans were recently approved by Richmondshire District Council despite numerous objections from residents and environmental agencies.

Residents and agencies have argued that the site is just several miles away from the Leeming Bar and Scotch Corner Motorway Rest Areas.

The Northern Echo:

One resident and local historian, Paul Fitz-George, lodged an official complaint with the council over the conduct of a planning committee for the development which he objects to.

Read more: A1(M) Catterick: The retailers coming to the new motorway services for the A1

Mr Fitz-George argues that the meeting had “several serious flaws” and ultimately prevented local residents to oppose the plans.

The planning meeting was held at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon, something Mr Fitz-Goerge was done to ensure that not many residents attended due to being at work.

He adds: “The meeting room was also set out in a way to disadvantage the public, because the committee members basically had their backs to residents.

“This meant they were easily able to ignore the attendees if they wanted to.”

He continued to argue that the room also had very bad acoustics, meaning that many residents were unable to hear the public.

Those who wished to speak against the development were also limited to just three-minutes according to Mr Fitz-George.

He added: “This meant they rushed their speeches and weren’t able to express the full weight to their thoughts and feelings on the development.”

The historian feels that an investigation should be carried out on the meeting and the way it was carried out.

He added that due to the “shoddy” way the meeting was carried out, it the approval that councillors gave for the MSA should be declared “null and void."

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Mr Fitz-George is not the only resident against the development, with the plans officially receiving over 30 objections on the planning portal.

Just three of those who commented on the development supported it.

Many who have objected have expressed their concern over the potential noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.

Ms Sally Pearson, who lives on land east of Junction 42 on the A1(M) at Catterick Pallet Hill Farm, objected to the plan due to the noise and litter.

The Northern Echo:

She said: “The village has become noisier since the A1 upgrade and the litter along the A6055 is already awful.

“The site is often heavily flooded and its concerning where this water will go to instead.

“The land concerned is used by an abundance of wildlife to feed, roost and nest.

“There are already existing facilities close by that could be upgraded to accommodate A1 traffic.”

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England also warned the £57m development would impact a nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Both have concluded there will be an overall loss of habitat at the site, and it could also impact on Swale Lakes Site of Special Scientific Interest and important bird populations.

Richmondshire District Council did not comment.

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