The Micheldever branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the eastbound side of the A303 near Popham, Hampshire
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A303 Eastbound, Popham, Basingstoke, Hampshire, SO21 3BE
ONSITE FACILITIES: Esso, Subway (forecourt), Greggs (forecourt), Starbucks on the Go (forecourt), Spar (forecourt), The Popham Diner
The Little Chef first opened its doors in 1986/87 alongside a filling station at a small service area on the eastbound side of the A303 just outside of Popham. The restaurant was originally known as the Coxford Down branch and it was the most easterly Little Chef to be built on the A303, having been located only half a mile away from the road's eastern terminus at the Popham Interchange, where the A303 continues as the M3 motorway to Basingstoke and London.
The A303 is a major route which runs from the M3 at the Popham Interchange to the village of Upottery in Devon, where the road continues as the A30 towards Honiton and Exeter. It feeds many towns, intersects with many routes to the west and is often used by holidaymakers travelling to and from Devon and Cornwall, therefore a Little Chef here would be sure to have plenty of passing trade and therefore have the ability to also attract a high volume of long distance traffic to pop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not only could the restaurant benefit from the large amount of traffic which used the A303 daily but it could also enjoy the advanced signage on approach to the services, therefore this made travellers aware of the restaurant up ahead. Forte sure bagged a goodie!
When the Little Chef opened, there was no restaurant on the opposite carriageway to serve westbound traffic (in the local area). In the 1990s, the decision was made to provide westbound travellers with a Little Chef and in 1995, the Popham branch opened its doors. It was a far larger site than Coxford Down and it even received a Burger King too. However, this later closed in the early to mid 2000s.
In 1998/99, the restaurant name changed from Coxford Down to Micheldever. It was unknown why the name changed considering that the village of Micheldever is located 6 miles to the south.
In 2004/05, then owners, Permira, had announced the closure of 131 Little Chef sites up and down the country and Micheldever was unfortunately on the list. It didn't lay empty for long though as it soon became the Popham Diner, an independent which was still trading and still retains some Little Chef features.
In early 2019 Popham Diner closed. Euro Garages took over the site and demolished the building to build a new Starbucks Drive Thru.