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 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 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.