J.D Wetherspoon opens on the M40
The first motorway-side pub opens on the 21st January despite concerns raised by road safety campaigners.
The pub named ‘The Hope and Champion’ next to Junction 2 on the M40 will be open seven days a week from 4am until 1am and is licensed to sell alcohol from 9am. The new pub’s manager Steve Baldwin said “myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into The Hope and Champion.” He added “the Extra Motorway Service Area, now including The Hope and Champion, primarily serves the Motorway users, but its facilities are also available to the surrounding community from the local road network.”
Since its 24-hour license was approved by the South Bucks District Council last June, plans to open the pub have raised concerns about drink driving.
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said "the opening of a pub on a motorway is a serious concern, presenting a potentially deadly temptation to drivers. Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day.”
Research by the RAC revealed that just 12% of people support the decision to put pubs in motorway service stations while 64% opposed the move.
Pete Williams, head of external affairs at the RAC, says “the public appear to be very much against the introduction of motorway pubs. We appreciate the vast majority of motorists drive responsibly and that alcohol is already available in shops at motorway services, but for many this decision seems to be at odds with common sense. In our view this is a risky and frankly unnecessary move. The question we are struggling to answer is, of all the places to open a pub, why choose a motorway service station? The temptation to drink and drive can only be increased by easier access to alcohol. We therefore urge JD Wetherspoon to do all they can to convey the anti-drink-driving message as strongly as possible at this particular pub.”
Geraldine Ashton-Green from Motoring.co.uk said “most people using the motorway to drive would probably not stop to have a pint, commuters or business motorists surely would not consider it due to work commitments and time deadlines.” Coach parties of holidaymakers and perhaps football fans will probably be the clientele that would consider a drink on a journey and obviously they are not driving.