|Barnsdale Bar South|
|Name||Barnsdale Bar South|
|Year Opened||1988/89, 2005|
|Year Closed||2004, 2012|
The Barnsdale Bar South branch was a Little Chef restaurant located on the A1 near Wentbridge, West Yorkshire.
Address and Onsite Facilities
ADDRESS: A1 Southbound, Wentbridge, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 3JF
ONSITE FACILITIES: Shell, Select (forecourt), Deli by Shell (forecourt), Costa Express (forecourt)
For more information, visit Motorway Services Online
The site was built in the 1960s by the Forte group as a proper service area under their Autogrill brand. This was essentially a scaled down version of their Fortes motorway service station sites, designed for the A-roads, with Oxford Peartree opening at the same time in the exact same style (If you look at both from above they have the exact same orange roof). The site originally had the entrance facing the road and contained a large restaurant and shop. There were no northbound facilities. Just a car park with a linking footbridge to take people across to the southbound building. An American-style "Travelodge Motel" was later added too with a bar called the "Barnsdale Bar" inside it. Over the years the main services building traded under many names, but all under Forte ownership, including Forte, Autogrill, Motorchef, Trusthouse Forte and briefly Welcome Break, Restaurant options grew to take in Forte's "The Granary" brand and there was even a carvery option alongside it at one point.
Forte even produced postcards of the southbound services so that families can send them off as well as the restaurant being recognised by many people.
Little Chef first arrived at Barnsdale Bar in 1980/81 (the same time as other A-road TRSAs at Grantham and Peartree), when the decision was taken to build facilites on the northbound side of the road, both to attract more northbound custom and to offer another restaurant option. Southbound continued to trade with its Granary and Carvery options. However, by 1988/9, the decision was taken to alter southbound offering too with Little Chef brought in as the main restaurant option and the main entrance moved to face the car park instead. In the early 90s a Little Chef Coffee Stop was added, later becoming a Burger King when Granada took control of Little Chef.
The footbridge also disappeared although it is unclear exactly when and the 1980s saw the old Travelodge demolished and replaced with the "Forte Travelodge" building of the era.
In 2004, both Barnsdale Bar sites closed (under Permira ownership), only to be re-opened in 2005 by Little Chef's new owners People's Restaurant Group. On re-opening the Travelodge became "Days Inn", symbolising the breakup of Little Chef and Travelodge. PRG then set about adding Coffee Tempo! to the Little Chef and BK offering on the southbound side in 2006/7 and the site continued to trade as a large Little Chef site.
In 2012, Little Chef Express replaced Coffee Tempo! At a time when then owners R Capital had decided to close 67 branches, this seemed positive for Barnsdale Bar as it reinforced their commitment to the site. Thus it was a complete shock when, in September 2012, more surprise closures were announced and these included Barnsdale Bar. Little Chef's IT Department moved to the building, but didn't stay long. So there ended a long association with Little Chef and it's various parent companies at the site. The hotel became Southside Lodge.
Today, the main building remains abandoned, following a short stint as the IT department an independent known as DD's. The hotel on site also remains derelict, following the closure of its latest operator, Metro Inns. In January 2019, 23.5 Degrees planned to build a Starbucks Drive Thru in the former hotel carpark, but the plans were refused in December 2019. The plans were submitted again, but the former restaurant building will be demolished with a McDonald's Drive Thru and 2 units (planned to be Greggs and Subway) built as well as the Starbucks, which will also include 6 EV points. Highways England have postponed the plans until more information is provided.
Little Chef Remains
- Little Chef signage still remain in a building across the car park from the main building
- Little Chef posters still remain in the toilets