Eagerly anticipated Gloucester Services on the M5 southbound has opened this week, following in the footsteps of last year’s successful northbound launch, and claiming a world first with its in-store fishmonger.
Dedicated to local food, farming and the surrounding community, Gloucester Services has two main aims: to make local food accessible and affordable to everyone on the move; and to inject vital investment back into the surrounding community.
The opening comes just one year following the launch of Gloucester Services northbound, which is already running well ahead of target, according to Laurence King, managing director of Westmorland Family, which owns and operates the business, and includes Tebay Services on the M6, and the recently acquired Cairn Lodge motorway service area on the A74(M) near Glasgow.
“The opening of the southbound services completes our major step outside Cumbria that’s been eight years in the planning and execution,” said King. “Following the success of the northbound, we’re really excited about prospects for southbound.
“What we’ve learned from the northbound side is that the car park, the butchery and the shop, is not big enough, and we’ve put all those right on the southbound.”
With the opening of the southbound services, the company is claiming a world first – the motorways’ first resident fishmonger. The services will aim to stock sustainably sourced fish caught in the UK waters off small-scale British fishing boats landed in Newlyn. The introduction of the fishmonger complements the company’s aim to revive the format of the butcher, greengrocer and baker all under one roof at the motorway services.
Sarah Dunning, CEO of Westmorland Family, said: “The butchery has become a real driver for our businesses, and I know we raised a few eyebrows when we pioneered that concept. Reviving the format of a traditional fishmonger is a natural progression of this thinking, updating old fashioned grocery concepts of service, quality and knowledge to a new audience. Why shouldn’t you be able to pick up fresh fish caught in British waters on your way home from work or on your way to a holiday cottage?”
King said Gloucester Services - which sells Texaco fuel on the northside and Esso fuel, supplied by Greenergy, on the south side - had already become recognised as a great community asset. In total it is a £40 million project, employing around 300 people, and since opening in May 2014 has served more than 500,000 locally-sourced meals made by local people. In its first year of trading the northbound services placed orders with local food producers totalling £1.5m.
One third of the overall staff at Gloucester Services have been employed by the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s academy programme, which aims to get the long-term unemployed back to work.
Andrew Owens from Greenergy said: “Westmorland is another example of the high standard of new business we’re winning across the UK following from the extension of our Branded Wholesale Agreement with Esso.”