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Eco-services plan for M5

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: September 17, 2009

An Artist's impression of the M5 services planned for Gloucestershire

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Plans for an eco-friendly motorway service station in Gloucestershire could generate up to 300 jobs.

The service station would be run as a partnership between a local charity and a business specialising in motorway services.

Once fully opened, the business could produce hundreds of thousands of pounds each year for voluntary and community organisations in the county.

The services would be between junctions 11a and 12 of the M5, both north and southbound. It would be accessed via a slip road from the motorway.

The nearest services are the Strensham Services between junctions seven and eight and Michaelwood Services between junctions 13 and 14.

The Gloucestershire Gateway Services project is being headed by the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust charity and Westmorland Ltd. Westmorland is the company behind the Tebay motorway services on the M6 in Cumbria – judged the best service station in the UK.

Mark Gale, chief executive of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, said: "The M5 is only 400 metres from places such as Matson and 30 million vehicles a year pass by with no local benefit.

"The proposed Gloucestershire Gateway Services would change this and provide the perfect opportunity to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, showcase Gloucestershire, encourage investment and celebrate our culture and identity."

He added: "A proportion of our profits will be distributed to local voluntary and community schemes.

"Once we are up and running, I would hope that would be hundreds of thousands of pounds."

The services will be designed to fit in with the rural landscape of the area, as well as promoting a 'local producers' ethos.

Sarah Dunning, chief executive of Westmorland Ltd, said: "We are very excited about the opportunity to lead the market with a new model of motorway services in Gloucestershire.

"The food will be homemade using local ingredients, we will sell local and regional produce through its farm shops, as well as local arts and crafts in the shops.

"We will recruit the majority of the 300 staff locally and run our own mini buses to transport people to and from work."

A public consultation exercise into the plans will be launched next month, with two public exhibitions. The first will be held at Brookthorpe Village Hall in Stroud Road on Friday, October 2, between 2.30pm and 7pm. The second will be held at Robinswood Primary School in Underhill Road on Saturday, October 3, between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

A planning application should be submitted for the project before the end of the year.

Cllr Philip Booth, a spokesperson for the Stroud District Green Party, said: "This scheme incorporates many very green ideas into the ethos, design and building – it is exactly the sort of cutting edge project that we would like to applaud. However, I have not seen the details and have concerns about investment in the motorway network."

For further information on the scheme, see www.gloucestershiregatewayservices.com.

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    LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko,, fantastic excellent zimbabwe  |  September 18 2009, 8:34AM

    Brothers, why do we need two articles on this white elephant story? I notice more of the use of the word " fantastic" with regard to a service station, what has happened to these people that they regard a new service station being built on green fields as such a wonderful event in their lives.I feel we must pray for them to get a life or a new employer. The service station zealots must take their families shopping at these wonderful tebay shopping arcades.............Minimum wage,minimum effort minimum reward locally, maximum profits for the developers of green fields.Then as the fields are now built on, why not build some houses for the "workers" next to them, prime location.

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    yozzer hughes, up north  |  September 17 2009, 7:51PM

    Go on gizza job.

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    JR, GLOS  |  September 17 2009, 6:53PM

    Yet again, press coverage for jobs within the domestic economy (by this I mean jobs that do absolutely nothing to generate money for UK PLC). Its just another poor example of 300 service industry jobs and apart from the few genuine tourists who dare to stop at a UK service station, any money spent at the service station will be by people presumably earning their wages in other public sector/service industries and there we have it - not a drop of money earnt through manufacture and export. This is one of the reasons why France and Germany are moving out of recession- because they have concentrated on real industries, retaining skills and expertise and exporting to raise their Gross National Product. I would image they would laugh at such a fanfare for a planned service station- given good quality service stations are the norm in their countries.

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    cedric, Gloucestershire  |  September 17 2009, 3:55PM

    If it happens, which I doubt, how long before voluntary organisations receive finance - 50 years at least? What is the view of the Brookthorpe with Whaddon Parish Council which is the local Council - not Matson via Gloucester City. Indeed, traders in Gloucester Cheltenham and Stroud may object as well as the service station/services near the Stroud M5 junction. I presume the owners of Strensham and Michaelwood will object. Tilting at windmills? In this situation, green fields are preferable to speculative green enterprises.

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    Kay Powell, Tredworth  |  September 17 2009, 3:19PM

    Yet another attempt to get an unwanted plan past the local planners and government inspector. This will destroy a huge area of green open space that is currently used for farming. How is that eco-friendly? As for the comment that it will benefit local farmers and minimise food miles, I think that the benefit would be minimal compared with the damage caused by its construction.

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    Matt, Cheltenham  |  September 17 2009, 12:15PM

    Whilst the potential creation of 300 jobs is good news, does the M5 actually need a service station in this location? It's not far north up to Strensham, or south down to Michaelwood. Adding an extra service station between the existing two will just reduce the number of people stopping at the existing services (there won't suddently be a load more people on the motorway, needing to stop at a service station), which will then take less money through their tills, and perhaps have to reduce their staffing numbers. So let's see if the new services (assuming they actually get built) have an impact on the existing M5 services to the north & south.

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    Bruce Wiggall, Brookthorpe  |  September 17 2009, 10:46AM

    Here is Mark Gale and his Cheltenham friends wanting to put 81 acres of good farming land under concrete becausehe thinks drivers cannot travel 30miles without a stop. This Country only produces about 40 % of our own food so why destroy good farming land? His pretty plans don't show a huge car park which is overlooked by the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bruce Brookthorpe

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    Penny Liddicot, Gloucester  |  September 17 2009, 10:32AM

    This is a fantastic idea, I have worked in the community sector for years and funding is always an issue. The other bonuses that I can see are training opportunities, job creation and support for local food producers - what else can you ask for - oh yes getting Gloucestershire firmly recognised as the Gateway to the Sout West or the Midlands dependant on which way you are travelling!! Good luck to all of you that have worked hard to make this happen I am sure that most of the communities around Robinswood Hill and further will see the benefit of this.

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    suzi spaulding, gloucester  |  September 17 2009, 9:03AM

    I think this is a great idea promtoing Gloucester as a tourist destination and I think the design looks great.

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    paul Stepney, tredworth , gloucester  |  September 17 2009, 8:59AM

    This is a fantastic scheme and three hundred new jobs will be really important for Matson, Tuffley and Tredworth , I am sue it will benefit local farmers also and minimise food miles .