Fleet services

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Fleet Services
Fleet services.jpg
Southbound building pictured in 2005
Fleet services is located in Hampshire
Fleet services
Fleet services (Hampshire)
County: Hampshire
Road: M3
Coordinates: 51°17′41″N 0°51′20″W / 51.29483°N 0.85545°W / 51.29483; -0.85545Coordinates: 51°17′41″N 0°51′20″W / 51.29483°N 0.85545°W / 51.29483; -0.85545
Operator: Welcome Break
Date opened: 1973[1]
Website: Welcome Break

Fleet Services is a motorway service station on the M3 near Basingstoke. It is owned by Welcome Break.


Opened in 1973,[1] it was originally built in a Scandinavian style and in 1992 won "Loo of the Year".[2] Before 2001, when Winchester services opened, it was the only service station to exist on the M3.

In 2006, it was one of the first service stations to carry the new corporate identity for Welcome Break, and along with it came a new Burger King franchise, which then made Fleet Services one of the few motorway service stations to have a Burger King, a KFC and a McDonald's co-exist at the same service station. The McDonald's was part of a 1995 Welcome Break campaign to roll out franchises throughout its chain, but when Welcome Break's parent company was taken over by Granada, the latter's rival franchise of Burger King was instead introduced throughout the chain, but Fleet services (and Woodall), part of the original plan, continued to carry McDonald's despite this.

Fleet cheat[edit]

Fleet services were well known for the 'Fleet cheat' [3] in which drivers took a back exit to the northbound side, which is meant for access by authorised vehicles only (as indicated by two no-entry signs with the aforementioned exception information underneath it),[4] from Pale Lane in order to avoid traffic queues from the motorway. Because of a loophole in legislation, in which the original purpose of the signs cannot be enforced as if it were part of a public highway, thereby only falling under trespassing, people that took the 'Fleet cheat' could not be prosecuted in the normal way for violating these signs. In the 2000s, bollards were installed to prevent unauthorised access, but these bollards often malfunctioned, so ANPR cameras were added in July 2010,[5] which then signalled the end of the 'Fleet cheat'.

Scott Mills Bridge[edit]

The Scott Mills Bridge was officially named on 16 March 2016. The naming followed a campaign by the Scott Mills Show's co-presenter Chris Stark to get things named after the BBC Radio 1 presenter. A plaque was unveiled at the site by Stark.[6][7]

2016 fire[edit]

A large fire broke out in a restaurant on the southbound site on the evening of 14 December 2016, damaging at least 60% of the building but not resulting in any human injuries. The southbound carriageway of the M3 was closed and more than 100 firefighters attended from Hampshire and Surrey.[8][9] A customer on site at the time the fire broke out said it appeared to have started in a coffee machine and that staff reacted slowly.[10]

A temporary building opened on the 23 March 2017 to serve as the southbound services whilst the fire damaged building is demolished and rebuilt. As a result of the demolition the bridge linking the north and southbound services is currently closed.

The new building is expected to open during 2018



  • Days Inn


  • Burger King
  • deli2go
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • Harry Ramsden's
  • KFC
  • McDonald's
  • Papa John's Pizza
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Tossed


  • Ecotricity
  • Shell


  • Waitrose
  • WHSmith


  1. ^ a b Motorway Services Trivia - Chronology Archived 2 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. - Accessed 16 February 2009
  2. ^ "Loo of the Year Awards: Previous Winners". Loo of the Year Awards. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  3. ^ "Fleet services - Motorway Services Online". 
  4. ^ "The no-entry signs by the 'Fleet cheat' on Google Street View". 
  5. ^ "Elvetham Heath & Fleet Forum - Police on Service Roads, page 4". 
  6. ^ "Radio 1's Scott Mills Bridge officially opened at Fleet". Welcome Break. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Lloyd, Stephen (18 March 2016). "Scott Mills 'couldn't be happier' after Fleet M3 footbridge is named after him". getSurrey. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  8. ^ "Fleet service station fire shuts part of M3". BBC. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "Fire – M3 Fleet Services". Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fleet M3 service station fire: Customer says damage was preventable". BBC. 16 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "Driving Pit Stop - Find Highway and Motorway services". www.drivingpitstop.com. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  12. ^ "Welcome Break - Service Station - Fleet". Welcome Break. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 

External links[edit]

Motorway service stations on the
M3 motorway