At the junction of the M42 and the A5 lies Relay Park, a business park with its own motorway service area inside it. It forms its own little oasis that feels like it's a world away from the large roundabout that guards its entrance.
Catering: Burger King, Costa Coffee, Greggs, KFC, Pret A Manger, Costa Express, f'real Milkshakes, Krispy Kreme, Tango Ice Blast Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Amenities: Travelodge, Full Hou$e, Go Pod Workpod, Lucky Coin, Showers Outdoor Space: Fair amount of grass behind hotel Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2 Forecourt: Esso, SPAR, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go, Jet Wash, Free Cash Machine
First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £31. HGVs can pay £34 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone. The location code is 2466.
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
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Tamworth Motorway Services Area
🌍 Operators & Official Websites:
Trivia and History
Upon opening, the site was described as being the "largest single-sided service area in Europe", at a total size of 28 acres. There were 257 car parking spaces together with 18 spaces for coaches and 34 HGV spaces within the site boundary. A 1994 study calculated that the service area had a turn-in rate of just 5-6%.
The site of the service area straddles the old alignment of Green Lane. Access to Green Lane was initially possible from the deliveries bay, making the service area part of a through route, but this has now all been closed off. The boundary between Staffordshire and Warwickshire, which used to follow Green Lane, was never changed and now runs right through the middle of the service area.
Under the original plans for the HS2 eastern rail link, Tamworth services would have been demolished. A revised plan has the tracks running in a tunnel, allowing the service area to remain.
See also: M42 Service Area Planning
The original plan for the M42 had a service area nearer J11 - probably at Austrey Meadows. Building at J10 was specifically ruled out because it would cause traffic issues, though a 1983 study said building in the corner of Green Lane would be the least-bad option.
By the time the motorway was mostly complete in 1986, the Department of Transport were trying a number of new methods to encourage interest from developers. They decided to experiment with a new system where instead of specifying the location, they would invite any developer to propose a service station "on the northern section of the M42". The first developer to come up with a proposal that satisfied both the DoT and the local authority's planning department would win the contract.
Heron proposed a service area on the eastern side of the roundabout. This went up against Granada, who initially planned a 15 acre site across Green Lane (having previously looked at building at J9). They said it would have a Country Kitchen Restaurant, Burger Express, Shop, toilets, picnic area, and 277 spaces for different vehicle types, with room to expand.
Granada's proposal won because it would fit in with the surrounding industrial estate, which hadn't yet crossed the motorway. A contract was signed with Granada and Esso in 1987.
Tamworth services opened on 24 May 1990, and immediately prompted media headlines because the café was decorated with pictures of industrial Stoke-on-Trent, which locals felt was the 'wrong' end of Staffordshire. It was built with the standard Granada cross-shape, with the front section having an entrance on each side, both leading to a large, concrete courtyard.
Between 1994 and 1998 there was a Rock Island Diner here. It was initially provided in a separate building, but it was later moved indoors. Insiders claimed this was because it was failing, but Granada insisted the move was to double its capacity. It had glossy chrome and red plastic fittings and 1950s posters and music are no longer to be found.
As part of Granada's plans to add more retail units, the front-left entrance was replaced by a large extension, blocking many of the dining area windows. The new entrance was much more prominent for car park users, and took them past shops such as Birthdays, The Body Shop and Glitz4Girlz.
The shopping units soon closed, but an M&S Simply Food store opened on 2 March 2006, with a ceremony attended by the then-manager of Tamworth FC Mark Cooper.
During early 2022, the site underwent refurbishment works. The Costa unit has been relocated to the back wall and a new Pret A Manger store joined it on 26 May 2022. A new KFC restaurant opened on 10 June 2022, forming a new food court area with seating in the middle and food units around the side. Tamworth received new Moto corporate branding and an additional 38 HGV parking spaces.
As a result of the original partnership, the forecourt was managed separately (though it initially had Granada branding). Esso sold it to Euro Garages, who expanded it with their own facilities. They changed its shop branding from SPAR to Sainsbury's On the go in late 2020, at which point the on-site Subway closed. The shop rebranded back to SPAR in 2021 and the former Subway unit was replaced with a Rollover counter in early 2022. EG Group's signs can be found all around the site.
|Hopwood Park (25 miles)|
Warwick (M40, 36 miles)
Corley (M6 south, 18 miles)
Norton Canes (M6 Toll, 16 miles)
|Services on the M42||Appleby Magna (8 miles)|
|Hinckley (12 miles)||Services on the A5||none nearby|
|Cherwell Valley (M40, 61 miles)||Moto services||Donington (A42, 21 miles)|
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