Warning to drivers using 'secret' service road to get off the M6 at Charnock Richard Services

It might be the worst kept 'secret' in M6 history and now Welcome Break - who run Charnock Richard Services - are urging drivers to stop using it as a cheeky exit from the M6 northbound.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 11th February 2022, 7:08 pm

The operator of the motorway services is now warning drivers not to use the private road - used to access the Ramada Hotel - to get off the M6 near Park Hall.

For years, the road has been a convenient exit for those travelling on the northbound M6 between junctions 27 (Standish) and 28 (Leyland), but an automatic barrier at its entrance has now made it a costly shortcut for those trying to sneak through.

The automatic bollard system has been in place since July 2018, but it's not always been active due to a number of "technical and operational issues".

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The automatic bollard system has been in place since July 2018, but it's not always been active due to a number of technical and operational issues. Pic: Google

It has allowed drivers to nip through the entrance to Mill Lane - bypassing Leyland and Standish - for an easy shortcut to areas such as Chorley, Coppull and Eccleston.

But Welcome Break is now warning drivers not to try their luck as the bollard - which pops up from the road when cars approach - is now fully operational.

Since it was reactivated, a number of drivers were shocked to find their vehicles thrust into the air after the bollards sprung into action underneath them.

The latest vehicular victim was a blue BMW Series 1 whose backend was jolted into the air on Wednesday (Thursday, February 9).

The service road at Charnock Richard Services is sometimes used by drivers as an exit junction off the northbound M6. Pic: Google

The services say the barrier now operates by ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and activates whenever unauthorised vehicles approach it.

Sometimes drivers might try and 'piggyback' on a vehicle that is permitted to drive through, but they risk the barrier rising up suddenly as they try to quickly cross it.

A Welcome Break spokesman said: "The service road barrier at Charnock Richard is currently operational. We have experienced a number of periods of downtime recently as we suffer from people driving into the barrier and damaging it in order to gain access.

"The service road is a private road and not intended for general use. Therefore, use of the service road could be considered as trespass without prior authorisation.

The operator of the motorway services is now warning drivers not to use the private road - used to access the Ramada Hotel - to get off the M6 near Park Hall because the automatic bollard barrier is now in operation. Pic: Google

"ANPR is in place to allow access through the barrier for vehicles who are registered as permitted to use the service road for reasons that are directed by the Department for Transport."

But there are some drivers who are allowed to use the service road.

They are:

- Hotel guests and staff

- Police, ambulance crews and other emergency services

- Highways maintenance teams

- Breakdown recovery

- Welcome Break staff and third parties working on behalf of the services

- And those "carrying out duties for and on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport"

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