|Facilities | Rating | Reviews|
|Road:||M5 between J3 and J4|
MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Frankley Motorway Services
|Telephone number:||0121 5503131|
|Signposted from the road?||As Greggs/Costa/Burger King (northbound)|
Burger King/Costa/M&S (southbound)
|Previous names:||Birmingham South|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.|
|Visit Frankley Northbound/Moto's official website|
Visit Frankley Southbound/Moto's official website
Neatly playing down its associations with one of the country's busiest motorways by overlooking the rolling hills of Worcestershire are two of the oldest buildings on the network. It won't win any awards for architecture, but it has a job and it does it.
Catering: Burger King, Costa, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
northbound only: Eat & Drink Co., Greggs Shops: WHSmith
southbound only: M&S Simply Food Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Lucky Coin, Picnic Tables, Showers Motel: Travelodge Forecourt: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12.50 and HGVs £21, or £22.50 to include a £9 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2438 (northbound) and 2439 (southbound).
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Trivia and History
It seems there will never be an end to the jokes about Frankley's name, especially as it's close to Rubery. During the planning process the services were actually known as "Quinton Frankley".
In November 2015, the services were evacuated following a large fire on the northbound side.
The southbound services have a very odd design, with a restaurant and toilets on the first floor. It's one of very few services to have a full second story, and it backs out over the exit road. This appears to be an attempt to give an optimum view over the levels to the west (with all the facilities being to the east), with the northbound side keeping out the way with a much more typical low-level design. The northbound access road then dropped below the height of the building, allowing a good view from the northbound restaurant.
The original design requirement was for a single-storey, "unobtrusive" building on each side. Granada's two-storey southbound side was later accepted as the best, but great concern was raised over the tall gas-burning chimney on the northbound side, but they eventually accepted it was the best place to put it.
It was the first service area without a public footbridge when it opened in 1966, although £15,000 was later set aside to build one. Granada were keen to build it, but were disheartened when the Ministry of Transport showed no interest in paying for it. In their early plans, Granada had looked at running a tunnel between the two sides.
The lack of the footbridge was a request from the Ministry of Transport when looking for operators of the services here. They knew the slope would be difficult to build on and wanted a different facility on each side of the motorway to account for this. They were willing to lease each side to a different operator but this did not happen.
Granada wanted a motel on each side of the road from opening, but at the time this was ruled out as unacceptable.
Both sides of the services originally included overflow space which has proven useful for expansion. What is now the southbound motel was zoned as a possible overflow lorry park. The northbound sliproad onto the motorway was originally much longer.
Neither of the two amenity buildings were initially accessible without climbing steps: northbound had one step by the entrance while southbound had five steps by the entrance and 25 to get to the restaurant. This was changed in 1976. A "mother and baby" room was provided from opening.
After being built, Granada were reluctant to open the services as the M5 wasn't yet finished, and the majority of traffic was being diverted off at the previous junction. Eventually the northbound side opened first, and attracted considerable local interest: residents would cut through the back roads to access the services.
In 1971 the services were one of few making a considerable (£50,000) annual profit. A 1975 review described the site of the services as "magnificent", but felt it was ruined by "stark and poor" buildings. Internal alterations had blocked the view to the west. The amenity building was only open 8am-11pm, while the shop was open 7am-8pm and sold cigarettes, confectionery, maps, magazines, newspapers, books, records, cassettes, toys, pens, sunglasses, batteries, tissues, toothpaste, sanitary towels, medicine, cold drinks, ice cream and biscuits.
At the entrance were ash trays, pay phones, a posting box, stamp machine and weighing machine. A pin ball arcade led off the marble entrance hall. The menu was advertised prominently by the self-service restaurant which was spacious and well-lit. Commercial drivers had a separate seating area. Food on display included salads and cakes while milk, tea, coffee and cola were dispensed from a machine. Fuel was available from BP, Esso, National and Shell.
Granada initially used the large floor areas to provide a grill restaurant, but this closed and was moved to Heston. They instead moved their focus to "superior snack catering", aimed mainly at coach passengers.
The new, more basic, café had black and red bench seats, yellow tables and a spacious serving area tiled in red and white.
As of 2014, the downscaling of restaurants and retail shops has left the centre of the northbound services and the upper level of the southbound services largely boarded up, with Greggs and Burger King making up the majority of the trade. This is an interesting contrast with many nearby services, which have grown in recent years.
There are plans for a southbound Greggs here too.
Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.
In May 2012, Visit England rated the southbound services as 4 stars and northbound as 3. In August 2011, they gave them both 3 stars.
In late 2006 Frankley starred on the BBC's 'The Money Programme', which described it as 'terrible'. At 2pm it had ran out of food.
In 2006 Frankley was also noted for having the best toilets at any UK motorway service area!
Also in 2006, the services were rated 3/5 by Holiday Which?
In 2005 the services won a five star loo award.
The services were inspected by the AA on the 4th and 5th of April 2004. These are their results:
|Road safety and parking:||Good|
|Outdoor facilities:||Very Poor|
|Access and indoor facilities:||Acceptable|
The self-service restaurant, range of goods in the shop and staff were all good, but the building was old, dirty, had few external facilities and had a long wait for a poor range of unappetising meals.
In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "acceptable", describing it as "clean and attractive" but offering a poor selection of food.
In 1975, the services were reviewed by the Birmingham Consumer, who described it as bright and well-lit. The majority of the facilities were very clean, except the toilets.
|none on M5|
Hilton Park (M6 north, 18 miles)
Corley (M6 south, 31 miles)
Telford (M54, 33 miles)
Tamworth (M42 north, 34 miles)
|Services on the M5||
Strensham (29 miles)|
Hopwood Park (M42, 11 miles)
|Hilton Park (M6 north, 18 miles)|
Tamworth (M42 north, 34 miles)
|Moto services||none nearby|
Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. They are moderated by Facebook.