Farewell to soggy sandwiches – this motorway stop alongside the M5 sells the finest locally sourced food and supports the community
The winner of our Newcomer of the Year award came about, like so many of the best ideas, by chance. “We had a phone call from the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust,” says Sarah Dunning. “They told us that a parcel of land had come up alongside the M5.” A few years, £20 million and a planning battle later, that land is now occupied by the architectural curve and dip of the marvellous Gloucester Motorway Services. Since it opened in May it’s not merely become a beacon of hope for hungry drivers looking for quality food, as it has turned its back on the usual fast-food concessions, it’s also a radical business model that gives to the community.
On the food side the Dunning family already had form. In 2005 Sarah had left her City job and returned home to Cumbria to run the parent company of Tebay Services, founded by her father John in 1972 when he discovered the new M6 motorway would cut through his farm land. Unlike the other 100 or so services in Britain – owned between them by Welcome Break, Moto and Roadchef – he created a business that put quality food at the forefront of its offering. Tebay is regularly voted Britain’s favourite motorway stop.