|Location||Five Oaks, Billingshurst|
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A29 Stane Street, Five Oaks, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9AE
ONSITE FACILITIES: Billy's On The Road, Travelodge (Book Room)
Located a couple of miles to the north of Billingshurst, at a small site just off Stane Street, a former roman road running from Chichester to London Bridge, the Little Chef first opened its doors between 1980 and 1982. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Little Chef's then owners, Forte, were keen to increase Little Chef's presence all over Britain's road network as quickly as possible. As a result, they went about buying houses, roadside inns and transport cafes on a number of major routes all over Britain so that they could be converted into Little Chef restaurants as quickly as possible in order to expand the chain. This was not only a method which saved time, thus allowing Little Chef to expand quickly, but it also saved money as well. From the design of the building, a converted house, it looks like Five Oaks was one of these cases.
Throughout its years of trading, the Little Chef at Five Oaks was one of only two Little Chef restaurants to have traded on the A29 with the other site being located south at Fontwell, although this primarily served the A27. Although the A29 hasn't always been a major route, there were a still a number of factors which meant that Five Oaks Little Chef had the ability to become a busy site and this was mostly down to its location. For example, it was located on a single carriageway section of the A29, meaning that the restaurant had the ability to serve both sides of the road. In addition to this, the restaurant was built only a couple of miles north of Billingshurst, therefore the restaurant didn't only have the ability to serve road users on the A29 but it could also serve locals as well. Around 1989, a Travelodge hotel was added to the site in order to cater for the weary traveller, therefore this helped the Little Chef to keep busy as well, especially when it came to the breakfast rush in the morning.
The site continued to trade well until 2012 when then owners R Capital decided to close 67 sites that it deemed to be underperforming with Billingshurst identified as one of these. By the end of July, it had closed its doors, leaving the Travelodge to soldier on alone.
However, all was not lost as soon after the demise of the Little Chef, an independent cafe known as Billy's On The Road had taken over the restaurant, therefore bringing life back to the site. The cafe is still trading today and has been given many positive reviews over the years.