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Sandbach services

Sandbach
Roadchef
Facilities | Rating | ReviewsSandbach
Road:M6 between J16 and J17

MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Address:RoadChef Motorways Ltd
Sandbach Motorway Services Area
M6
Betchton
Sandbach
Cheshire
CW11 2FZ
Telephone number:01270 767134
Signposted from the road?Yes
Opened:1975
Grid reference:SJ775603
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.
Visit Sandbach/Roadchef's official website
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Bouncing back from past poor performances, Sandbach has now been upgraded to the point where it's almost unremarkable - if a little too concreted.

Facilities

Catering: Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Typhoo Tea Machine
northbound only: Fresh Food Café
southbound only: Chozen Noodle, Hot Food Co. (seasonal opening)
Shops: Top Gift, WHSmith
northbound only: Leaf Gifts
Main Amenities: Jackpot £500, Showers
northbound only: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Game On
southbound only: Game On, Regus Express
Forecourt: Esso, Costa Express, AdBlue Containers

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £26, or £30 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5265 (northbound) and 5266 (southbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

Trivia and History

The services before refurbishment.

In the late '90s, RoadChef had a plan to introduce a Wimpy drive-thru here but this never really happened.

In September 2014 the southbound services formed a makeshift drop-off point for donations to the Cheshire Dogs Home near Warrington, after an incident at its sister site sparked a surge in donations which brought the M6 to a standstill.

An Ecotricity charging point is due to be installed here on the southbound side soon.

Planning

The services were one of few infill sites (where the sliproads were laid out before anyone had come forward to build the rest of it) which actually went ahead as planned, although early plans were for a truckstop only. The contract was opened in 1972, as Knutsford needed to expand but Rank refused to do so.

It was described it as a 12 acre site, aimed at commercial traffic. Today it still has a HGV-friendly concrete surface all over.

The southbound side also houses a maintenance compound which was built long before the services. It took up a lot of space, leaving little room for landscaping, causing the services to look tired before it had even opened.

Opening

The bridge in one of its worst states.

The services were the first in the country to have one large restaurant, instead of several smaller ones. The bridge - which may well pre-date the services - had its distinctive covering added in 1978.

It was also the first services to be built entirely by Roadchef, with Killington Lake being owned by BP.

Survey Results

In May 2012, Visit England gave the southbound services 3 stars, but the northbound side had fallen down to 2 stars.

In August 2011, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars.

In late 2006 the BBC's 'The Money Programme' took a look at the services. Whilst the northbound side was almost acceptable, southbound was dirty and the toilets had several broken locks.

In 2006, Holiday Which? graded the services at 2/5. This isn't bad, considering that there were a handful of 1/5s awarded.

The services were inspected by the AA on the 3rd and 4th of April 2004. These are their results:

Category:Rating:
Road safety and parking:Good
Outdoor facilities:Very Poor
Access and indoor facilities:Poor
Catering:Very Poor
Shop:Very Good
Service:Acceptable
Communications:Very Poor
Hygiene:Very Poor
Pricing:Very Poor
Final Score:Very Poor

Here the services were chosen as the worst in Europe, with the inspectors saying "You could stop for petrol and perhaps buy some provisions, but we wouldn't recommend taking a break there". The shops and staff were the only good things found: it had poor facilities, litter "everywhere", a dirty restaurant with a poor variety of unappetising food, high prices, dirty showers, the building and its facilities looked poorly maintained, it had no information and it had very little to help the disabled. Even the car park was poorly marked and poorly maintained.

A 1978 government review described the services as "pleasant but disjointed".

In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor", but he did say it was "light and airy".

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Keele (11 miles)
Crewe (5 miles)
Derby and Burton (A50 east, 43 miles)
Services on the M6 Knutsford (12 miles)
Stafford (South) (M6 southbound, 23 miles)
Norton Canes (41 miles)
Roadchef services Chester (M56 west, 32 miles)

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AA survey results from the Automobile Association, you can view the full report and what they were looking for in this PDF document.