Eco-services plan for M5
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.
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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.