First Pub To Open in UK Service Station
JD Wetherspoon is reported to be opening Britain's first pub in a motorway service station. In a move that has angered road safety campaigners, the low cost pub chain has been granted a licence to open a 24 hour pub and restaurant operation at junction 2 of the M40 in Buckinghamshire.
JD Wetherspoon is reported to be opening Britain's first pub in a motorway service station. In a move that has angered road safety campaigners, the low cost pub chain has been granted a licence to open a 24 hour pub and restaurant operation at junction 2 of the M40 in Buckinghamshire. The pub will have extended licensing hours, legally selling alcohol from 8am to 1am every day of the week. The founder of the Campaign against Drink Driving, Carol Whittingham, has condemned the plan and stated that she was 'absolutely astounded' that JD Wetherspoon's licence for the operation had been granted.
Ms Whittingham continued: "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?" The government has been consulting on the law which currently bans alcohol sales at some service stations and some operators are already selling alcohol via retail and restaurant partners. Marks and Spencer already has outlets selling alcohol for off-premises consumption, while Harvester has recently launched a restaurant which sells alcohol at a Donnington Park motorway service station.
Director of the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister, commented: "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." Mr Glaister went on to point out though that alcohol was already on sale in other service stations, often in hotel environments. A Home Office spokesperson speaking on behalf of the government commented: "The Government's Alcohol Strategy consultation, which includes looking at the sale of alcohol in motorway service areas, closed on 6 February. We will listen to all views and set out our response in due course."
A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon put the pub chain's side of the argument, insisting that the move will not lead to increased incidences of drink driving. He said: "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." The spokesman also pointed out that drivers could already buy alcohol at service stations. No objections had been raised to the plans when the development was proposed to South Buckinghamshire District Council.
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