MSA Timeline

Timeline of MSA history.

Here is a “time order” list of openings and events in MSA history. Please note that dates may not be correct, but are based on infomation gathered or supplied. Some sites are also missing from this list where I don’t have an opening date for them, so don’t use this as a master site index for the site! 

Looking at the list it is easy to see sudden spurts in development (such as 1972), and quiet periods ( such as 1977-82 and 83-86)

1959 Watford Gap (Blue Boar) M1
1960 Newport Pagnell M1
1963 Medway M2
1963 Take-A-Break enters MSA business
1963 Strensham M5
1963 Keele M6
1963 Knutsford M6
1963 Charnock Richard M6
1965 Granada Enters MSA business
1965 Toddington M1
1965 Lancaster (Forton) M6
1966 Leicester Forest East M1
1966 Aust/Severn View M4
1966 Frankley M5
1967 Trowell M1
1968 Woodall M1
1968 Heston M4
1969 London Gateway/Scratchwood M1
1970 Esso enters MSA business with Taverna brand
1970 Hilton Park M6
1970 Burton-in-Kendal M6
1970 Washington Birtley A1(M)
1971 Michaelwood M5
1971 Bolton West M61
1971 Harthill M8
1972 Southwaite (Northbound) M6
1972 Woolley Edge M1
1972 Membury M4
1972 Leigh Delamere M4
1972 Corley M6
1972 Killington Lake M6
1972 Tebay E (Northbound) M6
1972 Birch M62
1973 Esso (Taverna) leaves MSA business, sells sites to Granada (more)
1973 Fleet M3
1973 Gordano M5
1973 Hartshead Moor M62
1974 Burtonwood M62
1974 Hamilton M74
1974 Bothwell M74
1976 Sandbach M6
1977 Rownhams M27
1977 Southwaite (Southbound) M6
1977 Exeter M5
1978 Government Prior Report changes MSA structure. Now to be a 50 year lease, as opposed to annual rent based on turnover (more)
1982 Kinross M90
1985 Ferrybridge M62/A1
1986 South Mimms M25
1986 Chieveley M4
1986 Sedgemoor (Southbound) M5
1986 Sarn Park M4
1986 Stirling M9/M80
1987 Sedgemoor(Northbound) M5
1987 Forte purchases Welcome Break from Hanson Trust
1990 Tamworth M42
1991 Thurrock M25
1991 Cardiff West M4
1991 Swansea M4
1992 Government deregulates provision of MSA’s- now can be 15 miles apart where there is a demonstrated need
1993 Tebay W (Southbound) M6
1993 Clacket Lane M25
1993 Reading M4
1993 Granda deal with Burger king to put franchised outlets in MSA’s.
1994 Cherwell Valley M40
1994 Take-a-Break (who owned Stensham) had a management buyout from its owners (inchscape)
1994 Welcome Break negotiate a long term turnover related lease with MacDonalds, who ran the MacDonalds stores with the MSA. This was different to Granada’s earlier tie up with Burger King, which was a franchise.
1995 Forte sites (Welcome Break) Aquired by Granada
1995 Pavillion sites sold to Granada
1995 Blue Boar had a management buyout from its owners for £25m
1996 Stafford (northbound) M6
1996 Birchanger Green M11
1996 First purchases 2 services from Granada (management buyout)
1997 Granada Sells off 21 Welcome Break 21 sites to Investicorp after Monopolies commision report. (more)
1998 Welcome Break starts selling KFC
1998 Oxford M40
1998 Chester M56
1998 May Roadchef Acquired by Nikko Europe Plc
Roadchef Aquires Take-A-Break
1998 July Roadchef Aquires Blue Boar
1999 Donnngton Park M1/A42
1999 Hopwood Park M42
1999 Bridgwater M5
1999 Stafford (southbound) M6
2000 Granada Merges with Compass changes name of MSA’s to Moto
2001 Winchester M3
2001 Cardiff Gate M4
2002 Blackburn Interchange M65
2002 Compass (moto) sells off Little Chef and Travelodge chain (more)
2003 Telford M54
2004 Norton Canes M6T
2004 Several MSA companies close to collapse with poor share price.
2004 Part of Welcome Break (its finance arm) went into recievership (more)
2007 Nikko sells RoadChef to Israel property firm Delek for £375 million

“Jam Sandwich” 


  1. You need to add Beaconsfield & Cobham to your list(!)

  2. I’m trying to find out if MSA’s were publicly or privately funded. Specifically Leigh Delamere West. I understand the land is/was leased from HM Government, but was construction funded by the taxpayer or Granada, the original operator? Grateful if you could confirm this either way as I’m contesting a parking fine for taking a much needed rest break that exceeded 2 hours! Thanks

  3. Aust services closed except for petrol sales when the Second Severn Crossing opened. The “services” or food area is now a business centre with one of the most dramatic views you can imagine from behind a desk.

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