A BUSY service station on the M5 motorway near Wellington is to be expanded and significantly upgraded if new plans are approved.

Roadchef Motorways Ltd operates the Taunton Deane services between junction 26 for Wellington and Taunton’s junction 25.

The company has applied for permission to extend the southbound services and carry out a full internal refurbishment of the facilities and business units within the existing block.

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the proposals by the early spring.

The service station, which lies in the Pitminster parish, has been welcoming motorists since 1976 and operates 24 hours a day.

The southbound services currently includes a WH Smith newsagents, a McDonald’s restaurant, Chozen Noodle, Fresh Food Café, The Cornish Bakery, and Costa Coffee, with the latter two outlets also having outside seating at the entrance to the amenity building.

The main building was given a minor facelift in 2018 and includes a gaming area, public toilets, and seating areas.

Under the new proposals, the amenity building would be extended toward the car park, providing nearly 2,800 sq ft of extra covered space for customer seating and a new restaurant.

Planning consultant Rachel Reaney, of Astrum Planning, said: “As part of the development, the internal layout is to be adapted to enable the fast food operator ‘Leon’ to function from the motorway service area.

“The proposal will also allow for an expanded seating and rest area, alongside the relocation and upgrading of an existing Costa Coffee.

“The reconfiguration of the internal floorspace will also allow for an improved and wider internal circulation route, which will be served by a new pedestrian entrance.

“Finally, the proposal will also relocate an existing counter operated by Chozen Noodle to the north east of the amenity building, to allow an improved offer at WH Smith.”

Roadchef, which operates 30 service stations across the UK, said at least 13 new jobs would be created if the proposals went ahead.

It was not currently clear if the council decision on the application would be taken in public by its planning committee or through delegated powers given its officers.

The M5 between Wellington and Bridgwater will be subject to numerous upgrades over the next 12 months.

Between April and July next year National Highways, which is responsible for maintaining the motorway, will refurbish five bridges at Bathpool Canal, Bathpool Railway, River Tone, and the Blackbrook interchange north and south, all within easy reach of Junction 25.

The work will involve concrete repairs, waterproofing, expansion joint replacements, barrier replacement, and installing new lining, studs, and surfacing.

Later in the year, the council will begin a £5.7 million upgrade of the ‘concrete carriageway’ link road from junction 26 to Chelston roundabout.

National Highways regional scheme delivery head Heather Lang said: “We work with our local authority partners in planning all roadworks near our strategic road network, and will continue to liaise with the council to ensure that our respective works are appropriately programmed, taking both local communities and the travelling public into consideration.”