At the edge of the rolling hills of England’s Cotswolds, developer Westmorland Ltd has gotten the OK to build a green service station that sets aside space for EV charging stations next to the petrol pumps and will serve locally-grown food in its market, prohibiting fast food chains. The M5 service stop will echo traditional local architecture and will have its very own vegetable garden and a green roof to shelter the pumps. But is it just, as we say on this side of the pond, lipstick on a pig?

cotswolds, britain, uk, westmorland, glenn howells, green gas station, service stations, green roadways, ev charging stations, biofuels, local food, sustainable design

Environmental groups and Britain’s Green Party have fought the $55-million project tooth and nail. John Marjoram, a Green Party councilor, admitted he “couldn’t fault them on design, [but] whatever you do to disguise it it’s still a motorway service area” that will likely increase traffic at the edge of the UK’s largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Sarah Dunning, the head of Westmorland, defended the paradoxical project: “In Britain we are reliant on road transport so we have to provide service stations. We don’t feel responsible for that. But we can say to ourselves what kind of experience do we want to create?

Noting that the fuel pumps were designed to be adapted to bio-fuel, architect Glenn Howells insisted, “This is the best possible motorway service station with the present fuel systems but is also designed so we can react nimbly to changes in the available fuels.

Opponents plan to seek a judicial review of the approval. What do you think?

+ Glenn Howells Architects

+ Westmorland Ltd

Via Guardian UK

Photos courtesy unless otherwise noted