The Stannington branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the A1 near Stannington, Northumberland.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
Address: Old A1, Stannington, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 6DL
Onsite Facilities: Char Masum, Jet
The Little Chef at Stannington first opened between 1968 and 1972 alongside a filling station at a small service station located on the A1 just south of Morpeth. The site had many advantages to it. For starters, it was positioned on a single carriageway stretch of the A1, therefore all traffic could be served without the involvement of detours, which is the case with one sided dual carriageway restaurants (If a traveller chooses to do this). Also, its location next to the filling station meant that it could benefit from extra custom if travellers who are filling up their cars decide to eat a meal afterwards, therefore this increased revenue at the site. It was the perfect site for an A1 traveller to use and to stop at en route to nearby Scotland.
In terms of the building, the Little Chef was housed inside of a flat roofed rectangular structure. This was the typical restaurant house design of the era; basic but certainly serving a purpose!
In the 1980s, the A1 alongside Stannington was dualled and the new route bypassed the original A1. Although the Little Chef could still soldier on as it didn't require demolition (the road it sat on wasn't affected), the opening of the new A1 bypass meant that less traffic now used the old route, therefore resulting in an obvious loss of custom at the restaurant. The common result of these cases at Little Chef sites would be that the restaurant would only last a year or two longer after a development until it closed (Due to lost custom reasons). However, this wasn't the case at Stannington as although it lost custom, it still traded on for around 20 more years after the bypass was built, clearly showing that it was successful enough to carry on trading! Clearly a happy result!
However after its success of surviving as a quiet branch, it did sadly eventually close in 2004/05 when the owners, Permira, sold off 131 Little Chef sites around the UK, one of which was Stannington. It has since become an Indian restaurant known as Char Masum which still retains the Little Chef building and even still has a Little Chef car park security notice on the side of the building about safeguarding people's property.
So a sad end but certainly a successful branch when it was around!