Extra MSA’s state-of-the art Motorway Service Area at Skelton Lake in east Leeds has been unveiled as this year’s winner of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) National Award for Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment 2022. This follows close on the heels of the scheme winning the RTPI’s Regional Award for Planning Excellence earlier this year.

These RTPI Awards are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

Spawforths, a multidisciplinary consultancy of planners, architects and masterplanners scooped the prize, providing planning, masterplanning and environmental assessment co-ordination services for the project. Corstophine & Wright provided the architectural services.

The innovative building at Junction 45 of the M1 in Leeds, which has a unique biodiverse green roof, visitor centre and viewing platform - was crowned the winner and beat off stiff competition in the prestigious awards.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI said: “The quality of entries in this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence was outstanding. Together, they have demonstrated the important role planners play in creating well-designed and sustainable communities, as well as their positive contribution to our society.”

The judges felt that Leeds Skelton Lake Services “evolves standard of service stations and benefits to wider community. Judges particularly noted the level of engagement undertaken in the implementation of the scheme.”

David Rolinson, chairman of Spawforths thanks the RTPI for their recognition, “This award recognises the efforts of everyone involved in delivering exceptional places. We were fortunate enough to be working for a forward-thinking client in Extra MSA Group and alongside an excellent group of professional consultants including Corstophine & Wright as architects, as well as Leeds planning authority.

“The Spawforths team were integral to the planning process, leading the multi-disciplinary team to securing planning permission, and continuing to have significant involvement through the delivery on site and to the opening of the MSA.”

The development has set a new benchmark for the quality of Motorway Service Areas throughout the country. Its design maximises the use of natural daylight, provides improved air tightness, intelligent heating controls and lighting as well as utilising thermal mass which all contributes to reduction in energy consumption. Incorporation of air source heat pumps allows for the more responsible production and use of energy. The iconic Green Living Roof supports biodiversity as well as temperature management for the internal building. An RSPB visitor centre provides a viewing platform over Skelton Lake and the services integrates with the Aire Valley Green Infrastructure Network.

The Motorway Service Area provides new facilities creating a recognisable and iconic gateway to eastern Leeds using innovative design to deliver socio-economic and environmental benefits.