FORGET fast food chain burgers and tepid bacon rolls – farm fresh local produce is leading the way at the newly opened Gloucester Services.
Commuters turning in to the M5’s newest convenience stop will be entering a world of deli delights.
The services finally opened yesterday between junctions 11A and 12 on the northbound carriageway.
Instead of KFC and Burger King, motorists are presented with an array of locally-sourced products and even a farm shop stocked with homemade cakes and pies, traditional regional cheeses and wild boar sausage rolls. No chain coffee shops, fast food joints or gambling machines are featured at the station.
Construction for the new services, which will employ 130 people, began in early 2013. Gloucester Services business manager Gavin Bastyan said: “This is an opportunity for many suppliers to showcase their produce and gain a great amount of exposure.
“Customers are already telling us how different we are from normal service stations, and we want to put the traveller first. We’re also able to use suppliers from the area without impacting on the trade of local farm shops.”
The £40million project will be completed next year when a southbound service station is built. Some 300 people will be employed by the two stations when completed. Gloucester Services is the sister of Tebay Services in Cumbria and works with 200 South West producers, 130 of them within 30 miles of the site.
Alexander Evans, farm shop buyer at the new services, said: “We want travellers to be inspired by the local produce around them and take away a piece of Gloucestershire. People on the motorways can get a bit jaded because most service stations are no different from each other and offer the same things. We want to offer something else.”
WHAT THE CUSTOMERS THINK
David Hill, from Cheltenham: “The station is individualist and also educational for children to learn where food comes from.”
Jane Hill, from Cheltenham: “The atmosphere is very welcoming and warm and it’s great they encourage local produce.”
Sonia Hay, from South Wales: “It’s a striking building, a warm atmosphere and when it’s all finished it will be very pleasant.”
Sandra Morgan, from South Wales: “When we were driving down it looked like a traditional farm shop.”
Jina Hawkins, from South Wales: “It’s a nice, tranquil environment and it’s got a great range of food. It’s a refreshing change.”
John Tozer, from Cam: “We came especially to see the new station and it wasn’t a wasted journey. It’s a really nice place.”