The new M5 motorway Gloucester Services is ready to put the county on the map.
Sarah Dunning, chief executive officer of Westmorland Ltd, which owns and operates the new service station, said Gloucestershire was the perfect choice to build the new £40 million services.
“It is a phenomenal opportunity for businesses here,” she said.
Phase one on the northbound carriageway of the M5 is due to open on May 7, offering produce from 200 South West producers – 130 of which are from within a 30-mile radius of the site.
Work has already begun on the southbound service station and is expected to open in May 2015 and will employ a further 150 people, in addition to the 150 already engaged on the northbound side.
Gloucester Services is like no other motorway service station in the UK, apart from Westmorland’s original business – Tebay in Cumbria.
You will not find any franchise businesses, but a wealth of locally-sourced food and produce, all freshly prepared on site in a visually-stunning environment.
Two enormous stripped ash tree trunks cut from the Forest of Dean and hanging from the ceiling will greet visitors as they walk into the Cotswold stone-clad main building.
Grass covers the roof, blending into the surrounding countryside.
Inside there is a large food hall, an expansive restaurant offering hot and cold food, as well as a children’s play area.
Open 24 hours throughout the week, hot food will be served from 6am until 9pm, with breakfast served until 11am.
Two tourist information points extolling the virtues of Gloucestershire feature, encouraging travellers to venture into the county.
“This is a project firmly rooted into the local community,” said Sarah. “We see this as an amazing opportunity which, in many ways, will put Gloucestershire on the map. Being rooted here is very important.”
Oxfam estimates for every £1 spent on locally-grown food, £3 goes back into the local economy.
For Gloucestershire that is a £7.8 million annual boost.