A local council has attacked the approval of a new motorway service area on the M25 and demanded the decision be referred to the Secretary of State Michael Gove.

Ivers Parish Council say locals felt “betrayed” after councillors gave plans for a new services between junctions 15 and 16 of the M25 by Iver Heath the green light last week.

The Strategic Sites Planning Committee approved Colne Valley Motorway Service Area Ltd’s application for the new rest area despite a planning officer’s report finding that it would be “harmful” to the green belt.

READ MORE: New M25 services at Iver Heath despite ‘harm to green belt’

Plans include more than 1,000 parking spaces, a 4,500sqm amenity building with a food hall and toilets, a petrol station, drive-thru coffee shop, dog walking area, children’s play area and other facilities.

In a statement, Ivers Parish Council said: “People in Iver and the Ivers Parish are angered and upset by last week’s decision on the motorway services station.

“Iver is yet again to be the ‘dumping ground’ for Bucks Unitary Council and they have betrayed us and failed to listen to our genuine concerns.”

READ MORE: New M25 motorway services in Bucks rejected: ‘Inappropriate’

The local Council claimed the new services would worsen air quality and accused Bucks Council of “failing to assist”, claiming that the decision has “run roughshod” over the neighbourhood plan.

The local Council claim the approval was “dubious” and questioned the “partiality of the decision makers”.

It also questioned why, during the same meeting, the Committee had refused permission for another services at junctions 16 and 17 of the M25, near Chalfont St Peter.

Plans for this service area, proposed by Extra MSA Group, were refused in part due to the “harm” to the greenbelt identified in the case officer’s report.

Ivers Council said: “Why then is green belt land in Iver different? Maybe the answer can be found in financial gain as the Chilterns project is not on Buckinghamshire land so that Bucks Council will not profit by it.

“Surely this decision needs to be questioned by the Secretary of State?”

The Secretary of State Michael Gove has the power to take the decision-making power on a planning application away from a local authority.

However, this must be done before a local authority makes its decision.

Although the case officer identified “harm” to the green belt from the Iver Heath plans, they also noted: “A net gain in biodiversity has also been demonstrated to be achievable.”

Councillor Alan Turner, Chair of Buckinghamshire Council’s Strategic Sites Committee, claimed the Commitee had followed due process with its decisions.

In a written statement, he said: "The Strategic Sites Committee at Buckinghamshire Council considered two applications for a motorway services area (MSA) between junctions 15 and 16 (Iver Heath) and between junctions 16 and 17 (Chalfont St Peter) of the M25. The applications are located on different sites which both lie within the green belt.

"During the meeting on September 28, 2023, the planning committee weighed and balanced the relevant planning considerations of both applications in order to reach a conclusion.

"On balance, it was deemed that the proposed Iver Heath MSA application was less harmful in terms of the green belt and landscape visual impact.

"The committee voted to approve the Iver Heath location proposed by Colne Valley MSA. A final determination of the MSA application will not be made at this stage as the proposals exceed 1,000 square metres within the green belt. It will therefore be necessary to consult the Secretary of State who may wish to call in the proposals for his own determination.

"Full reports on both applications are available on the Council’s website at: Agenda for Strategic Sites Committee 28th September 2023.

"The process the committee follows in determining these and any other planning applications is clearly set out in nationally set planning law and due process has been followed at all times during this process.”

To view plans for the new services, visit the Bucks planning portal and search for application number PL/22/1411/OA.