Road Safety News

Wetherspoon gets go ahead for pub on M40

Tuesday 4th June 2013

JD Wetherspoon has been given the go ahead for a £2 million bar and restaurant located on the M40 in Buckinghamshire that will be able to serve alcohol from 8am to 1am (Mirror).

According to the Mirror article, there were no objections from the police or South Bucks District Council.

However, Carole Whittingham, founder of the Campaign Against Drinking and Driving, said: “I’m absolutely astounded they have got permission. 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? I can see all sorts of problems and fear it is a disaster waiting to happen.”

JD Wetherspoon pointed out that service station shops already sell alcohol and that they will be catering for the tens of thousands of motorway users who are not drivers. Wetherspoon said no date has yet been fixed for the opening of the pub and its name has not yet been chosen.

Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: “We are looking forward to opening our first licensed bar and restaurant on the motorway network. The company has always been innovative and this is an exciting new development for us.

“Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoons on the motorway.”

Click here to read the full Mirror story.


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Anthony, embrace the middle grey ground, it is a wonderful place. I speak as a long-time resident! At the risk of digressing just a little, I feel in the UK we make too much of the distinction between licensed an unlicensed premises, and in doing so unnecessarily give drinking alcohol a cachet it doesn't deserve, leading to lots of different outcomes, including the notion that you mainly only go to the pub if you want alcohol. Changing this percecption could have a lot of social benefits. I'm inclined to think that if people want to drink and drive they will do so irrespective of Wetherspoons, but I do see big advantages in encouraging people to take breaks on their journeys. If availability of food of reliable quality and value can achieve this that is a benefit. On the same subject, I wonder how many people get off a ferry or a flight in this country and straight into their car. I believe alcoholic drinks are served on these also.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (15) | Disagree (1)

Alcohol aside at least we can finally get a cheap decent meal on the motorway. Yes it sounds bad but if I know Weatherspooons they will have drink driver policy plans in place and also never forget it's down to individuals to not drink drive. I won't persecute until I know more facts but they are a company and I won't blame them for making money as this has happened due to terrible running of current service stations on motorways. Remember 3/4 of all people who go there are not driving, they are passengers.
But agree it has potential to go bad, but don't use extreme words like it already has. I'm starting to feel like the middle grey ground, things aren't black and white!
Anthony, Nottingham

Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

It would be interesting to see if this, being the first of its type, adopted some form of Donít Drink and Drive message from the point of entry at the door and then throughout the pub? I would like to think that JD Wetherspoonís are not trying in any way to promote DD but are aiming at the vast majority of travellers who want value for money for a meal and just a coffee, which most of us probably know thatís what the chain offer.

Maybe RSGB, if they have not already, should invite JDW to comment and even suggest how they can fit the pub out to promote a non-drink drive policy? Just to pick up on the point re pubs already being situated very close to the road already, a member of the bar staff has never asked me if I had come in the car, as always itís down to the driver to make the choice wherever the pub is.
Stuart Rochdale

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

Nick - aside from sending rowdy passengers to sleep and enforcing more regular breaks to allow them to use roadside conveniences (having a leg stretch into the bargain), no!

On a more serious note, I take Eric's point about A/B roads and pubs. However, the motorway is a dedicated vehicle environment - that's a very different proposition.
Neil Hopkins, Sussex

Agree (11) | Disagree (5)

Can anyone think of any road safety benefits that might accrue from having a pub on a motorway service station?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (10) | Disagree (0)

How many pubs do people need anyway? Eric's opening sentence is correct.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

There are probably thousands of pubs on public roads already (with some extremely close to motorway junctions) so I don't see how this will be different; people will just have to extend their self-discipline to a new environment. Wetherspoons have a good range of food at reasonable prices so hopefully this will remain so in a motorway service scenario. When my wife or daughter is driving a nice pint of real ale would be nice as well.
Dr James Whalen DSA ADI (car), Wolverhampton

Agree (21) | Disagree (0)

Before we get carried away with knee-jerk reactions, aren't most pubs situated on A-roads and B-roads already, with car-parks for drivers? As the article states, service stations sell alcohol - perfectly reasonable for non-drivers in a vehicle to enjoy wine or beer with a meal. The police and authorities have not objected and they surely had more information than is contained in this article. I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I would like to hear their reasoning, and counter to the points I've made here.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (19) | Disagree (3)

Yes Dave, what could possibly go wrong? The list is lengthy! This is completely mindless. I cannot believe that the authorities have not objected. This is sending out all the wrong messages. Common sense seems to have gone out the window.
Alan Kennedy - Chairman RSGB

Agree (8) | Disagree (4)

A pub on a motorway? What could possibly go wrong?
Dave, Slough

Agree (11) | Disagree (1)