Motorway Services Online

Retrieved from "http://motorwayservicesonline.co.uk/First"

First

First
First
Locations:up to 4
Associated names:Burger King, Travelodge, BP
Introduced:1996
Removed:2011
Predecessors:Granada
Successors:Moto, Roadchef, Euro Garages

For the first service station to open, see Original Five.

A small player in the field of motorway services who certainly struggled with image, but from the inside may have had the right ideas. All their sites were eventually acquired and refurbished.

Company History

In 1995 Granada wanted to take over Pavilion, but were told this would give them too much of a monopoly. A management buyout from three of their own staff saw Magor and Bolton West pass to a new operator, First Motorway Services. The choice of sites may have been tactical on Granada's part.

First built Bridgwater and later sold it to Moto, who ironically are Granada with a new badge. The price was not disclosed but may be clue to First's strategy as a firm. In April 2006 they bought out their original backers and arranged a £7.7m refinancing package, with which they acquired Symonds Yat and claimed a further six similar acquisitions could be on the way.

Meanwhile, Magor and Bolton West were receiving considerable criticism for their service in the press. They were perhaps dealt a raw deal with Bolton West: it had a very large building and very low custom levels, which was reflected in how all its owners had treated it.

In 2010 Moto had permission to take over Magor and Bolton West, handing the latter back to First's shareholders, but this didn't happen after Moto struggled to fund the deal. Bolton West was later sold to Euro Garages anyway and regenerated as Rivington services.

By August 2011, First hadn't grown and hadn't invested much in its remaining property. Roadchef put them out of their misery by buying all they had left - one service area and one truckstop. The motel at Magor briefly deflected from Travelodge to First Lodge - allowing the spirit of First to live on unofficially - before changing to Days Inn.

The formal name First Motorway Services is now legally owned by Roadchef, and has been used by them for the legal side of certain redevelopments.

Services

The following services were owned by First: