Cobham services

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Cobham services
Cobham Extra Services on the M25-geograph-3418336-by-Paul-Gillett.jpg
Cobham services is located in Surrey
Cobham services
Cobham services (Surrey)
County: Surrey
Road: M25
Coordinates: 51°18′21″N 0°24′33″W / 51.3057147°N 0.4092686°W / 51.3057147; -0.4092686Coordinates: 51°18′21″N 0°24′33″W / 51.3057147°N 0.4092686°W / 51.3057147; -0.4092686
Operator: Extra MSA
Date opened: 2012
Website: Extra MSA: Cobham

Cobham services is a motorway service area on the M25 motorway in Surrey between junctions 9 and 10. It is operated by Extra MSA and was opened for business on 13 September 2012. Its planned opening date was scheduled to be early 2010, but was changed to early 2012 following various planning issues. The services were constructed as there was concern with the large 65 mile (104 km) gap without any service areas. At either end of that stretch of motorway was South Mimms services and Clacket Lane services, and the Secretary of State explained there was a clear and compelling need for a further service area.[1] The other service area serving the motorway is Thurrock.

Cobham services is the busiest service station in the UK.[2]


Unusually, one service area is provided for both traffic directions and it is all located to the south of the motorway. Access from the eastbound carriageway is via a tunnel underneath the M25. Access from the west-bound carriageway is from the motorway itself.[3][4]

As with a number of modern service stations, many have an ecological aspect such as an sustainable drainage system, rain-harnessing or a renewable energy source. Cobham has been designed to include a sustainable drainage system that filters the water from silt and sand, cleans the water, and then naturally attenuates the water into local watercourses. Retention basins, swales and infiltration trenches deal with excess water, storm water and most importantly flood risk. The infiltration trenches drain water using pebbles and small stones which naturally filter and store water, the remaining stored water is channeled out of the site. The retention basins collect water runoff, and the water outflow out of the basins is carefully controlled, the lakes have water piped to infiltration trenches. Even though these basins are designed to collect water and drain water in a more controlled way, some water escapes and seeps (infiltrates) into the ground. Depending on the season the water level in all of these trenches and basins change dramatically. The infiltration trenches then flow into local watercourses. The swales (marsh areas) are less complex and drain water directly into the ground, they are surrounded by vegetation. Just like infiltration trenches, swales also attenuate, filter and clean water. Vegetation which is around the service area and its drainage system, helps to absorb harmful substances to the environment and clean water in the infiltration trenches, swales, retention basins and around the site.


Work on the site started in Autumn 2010 and construction eventually started in mid-2011 on the slip roads and tunnel for the service area. The speed limit was reduced to 50 mph, and a temporary carriageway was set up, diverting traffic past the construction site and back onto the motorway. The 50 mph speed limit took place on a short section of the westbound carriageway, where construction traffic was accessing the site.[5] Extra MSA founded their own construction company called 'Swayfields' immediately when Extra MSA was created in 2000, so they could construct service areas themselves. Cobham was constructed by Swayfields from 2011–2012, and all of Extra MSA's.[citation needed]

On 10 August 2012 an opening date of 8 September 2012 was announced, later than expected due to poor weather delaying the final phases of construction. Further delays caused the opening to slip to 13 September 2012.[6][7]


Cobham services had been planned by many operators for over 10 years, and was granted planning permission twice at two separate public inquiries. The service area is built on the site of a farm named 'New Barn Farm', and opened in September 2012.

Surrounding area[edit]

The main concern[by whom?] about the service's construction was that the area was to be built on part of the green belt area for Cobham, However, as the whole of the M25 is situated within the green belt, the Secretary of State John Prescott overruled this objection as there was what he called a "clear and compelling need" to have a service station in the south west section of the M25.[8]

There have been other concerns[by whom?] that the waste from thousands of visiting tourists could damage Downside's Victorian sewage system.[9]


  1. ^ "M25 MSA New Barn Farm Cobham". Highways Agency. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  2. ^ "Diesel cars: Your questions answered". BBC. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2018-01-10. 
  3. ^ "Slip roads for new motorway services on M25". Highways Agency. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  4. ^ "Cobham". Motorway Services Online. 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Work begins on slip roads for M25 service station at Cobham". Elmbridge Today. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  6. ^ Stanton, Jenny (10 August 2012). "Bad weather delays M25 Cobham services opening". GetSurrey. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Cobham M25 service station opened". BBC News. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "M25 Cobham service station one step closer". Get Surrey. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 

External links[edit]

Next anticlockwise:
Clacket Lane services
Motorway service stations on the
M25 motorway
Next clockwise:
South Mimms services