Work has finally started on the new £40m Gloucester Services.
Proposals for the service station, between junctions 11a and 12 of the M5, were first made back in 2009 and have faced vehement opposition ever since.
On Wednesday the first spade went into the ground on the 70-acre site near Robinswood, Gloucester.
Westmorland, a family business which operates the well known Tebay Services in Cumbria, is working with Gloucestershire Gateway Trust to build the services, which are expected to create 300 jobs.
Sarah Dunning, Westmorland chief executive, said: “We are delighted the project is starting so that we can get the local community benefits flowing and help raise Gloucestershire’s profile with the 50 million of travellers who pass the site each year.”
Campaign group Camsa (Campaign Against Motorway Service Area) was originally set up to oppose the plans. Supporter Eric Hibbert, chairman of chairman of Brookthorpe-with-Whaddon parish council, said: “It is going to happen now so it is up to us to police it for the community and make sure Westmorland do everything they say they are going to do.
“If they don’t stick to the conditions there will be, and should be, a massive outcry.”