posted 6 years ago

JD Wetherspoon Pubs to open on motorways

Drink Driving Campaigners Outraged

Drink Driving Campaigners have become outraged at the latest news that JD Wetherspoon will be the first motorway pub after being given the go-ahead at services on the M40. The firm said the bar and restaurant will open at Extra in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, after a successful application to the local council.

Carol Whittingham, the founder of Campaign Against Drink Driving, told the Daily Mail she was “absolutely astounded” that the licence had been granted. “People will be tempted to drink and drive and I can't understand how the local authority has allowed this. It is just not necessary; you can buy alcohol on every street corner so why tempt people by having it at motorways as well?”

A spokeswoman Road Safety charity Brake said "the opening of a pub on the motorway could be of real concern unless safeguards are put in place with strong messages to warn about the dangers of drink-driving. As it is putting temptation there in front of drivers, it is doubly important the messages are extra clear. Our advice to drivers is if you are driving; don't drink any amount of alcohol."

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said "the company has always been innovative and this is an exciting new development for us. Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoon's on the motorway." A spokesman for Wetherspoons said much of Wetherspoon's sales came from food and that it also served non-alcoholic and hot drinks. "We believe the majority of people that use the pub to drink will be people that aren't driving, coach parties or people travelling with others. We won't be asking them whether they are driving. It's up to them." He also pointed out that motorway drivers were already able to purchase alcohol easily if they wanted.

The question is will drivers be safe rather than sorry or will they be tempted? Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said "most drivers are sensible, but you have to question a policy that encourages drivers to pull off to take a break and then offers them up a pint." Geraldine Ashton-Green from 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 with holidaymakers and perhaps football fans maybe the clientele that would consider a drink on a journey and obviously they are not driving.

JD Wetherspoon said it had received no objections to the plans after meeting representatives from Thames Valley Police and South Buckinghamshire District Council. In its application to the council, the firm said "materials to remind customers of the dangers of the requirement not to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol will be displayed in the premises."

It is also reported that the £2million development with service area operator Extra would create fifty jobs.

Sorry but I disagree with this decision about opening a pub near the motorway. The temptation to drink and drive is too great. If I was on the council I would definitely have opposed this planning application.

The decision to allow Wetherspoons to open a motorway pub is utterly and completely irresponsible. And Wetherspoon's comments that drivers will be mainly sensible in what they drink is pie-in-the-sky ideology - and they know it! They are interested only in making more money and the probable risks of more drink driving accidents has no concern for them. Once they have opened the first pub many will follow, to the further detriment of road safety. The proposal is sheer madness and the powers- that- be should stamp on this NOW!

No problem for me, good idea

The plod will have a field day, they will have spotters watching for people coming out, and pull them up, so J D's will end up catering for coach parties only

This is the stupidest decision I have heard in years by a local council. When someone is killed by a driver that has purchased alcohol from this shop, I hope the councillors remember their decision.

This service station is not actually on the motorway ... so it serves local people too. Surely drivers can make up their own minds about whether to drink or not? As long as we have a "limit" some people will drink and drive. I imagine most people can do this sensibly.

Welcome to the real world as it is here on the continent of Europe. Slovakia has a zero alcohol level for driving and having alcohol sales at service areas and petrol stations does not cause a problem. CADD should feign less outrage and think why - if at all- this will cause problems in the UK.

Think its time for this to be allowed. I prefer to come off the motorway have a pint/meal in a country pub [within a mile] and rejoin the motorway. Have been doing this for over 25 years.

My first thought is no to a pub on a motorway, however stopping for an alcoholic drink doesn't really appeal to me when on a long journey! Lets hope many travellers feel the same!