An environmentally sound motorway service station sounds like an oxymoron, but that's what a co-operative of charities in Gloucestershire is planning.
Planning applications for the Gloucestershire Gateway Project are being submitted now, according to Mark Gale, director of Gateway. The £11m project, which would be situated on both sides of the M5 between junctions 11A and 12, is designed to provide an ecologically acceptable service station, and to cut deaths and serious injuries on the M5 by a third, largely by encouraging drivers to take a break.
It is the latest social enterprise project from the Gloucestershire Neighbourhoods Projects Network, which comprises ten local charities from social housing areas. The network is seeking funding for the project.
'Green' elements will be incorporated throughout, from design through to the fuels on sale. Car sharing will be encouraged and local produce will be sold from a farm shop and at the catering facilities on the 24-acre site.
Gale said the network had not yet decided which oil company it would buy its petrol from, and was still researching the credentials of various suppliers. "It's an interesting dilemma," he admitted.
Gale added that the service station would promote local tourist opportunities and cultural attractions.
It is hoped the service will provide 150 jobs, and Gale believes it will make about £1m a year for local charities.
Other charities, including the local Wildlife Trust, are advising on the project, which has already had support from the Government Office for the South West, Job Centre Plus, the police and Forum for the Future co-founder Jonathan Porritt.