Services put local food and farming on motorway map

A motorway service station dedicated to local food and farming is to open on the M5 in Gloucester.

Phase one of Gloucester Services, a new £40m services, will open for business on the northbound M5 between junctions 11a and 12 on Wednesday 7 May.

Motorists will be able to buy local produce from 200 South West producers – 130 of which are based within 30 miles of the site.

Work is under way to complete the southbound service station by May 2015, which will offer additional employment to 150 people as well as 150 people on the northbound site.

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It aims to make local food accessible and affordable to everyone on the move and inject vital investment back into the local community.

Gloucester Services is part of Westmorland Ltd, the Cumbrian family business which owns the Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria.

Sarah Dunning, chief executive officer of Westmorland Ltd, said: “We believe proper food matters. So we serve it where you would least expect it – on the motorway.

“Quality farm assured food was at the core of my father’s vision 40 years ago. Back then it was visionary; today we’re part of the local food revolution.”

Gloucester Services will not house any chain outlets, franchises or fast food restaurants on the forecourt.

Instead, it will feature a farm shop stocked with locally produced food, a butchery featuring Gloucestershire’s finest meat and a café serving homemade dishes created from locally sourced produce every day.

The services has revived the format of an old-fashioned butcher, hanging meat on the bone for three weeks and offering traditional cuts of meat alongside seasonal specialties such as sweetbreads and seasonal game. Grass will cover the roof, blending into the surrounding Gloucestershire countryside.

Oxfam estimates that for every £1 that’s spent on locally grown food, at least £3 goes back into the local economy. Westmorland estimates the services will provide a £7.8m boost to the local economy.

(Gavin Bastyan, head of Gloucester Services, is pictured standing at the northbound site while it was under construction).

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