On Tuesday 21st January a new JD Wetherspoon pub opened for business at junction 2 of the M40 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, amid anger and criticism from road safety campaigners.
RAC’s head of external affairs Pete Williams said: ‘We appreciate the vast majority of motorists drive responsibly and that alcohol is already available in shops at motorway service stations, but for many this decision seems to be at odds with common sense.’
He added that a survey of 2,000 people showed that only 12% supported putting pubs into motorway service stations. ‘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.’
Ellie Pearson of safety campaign group Brake, said: ‘Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day.’
The Hope and Champion pub will be open from 4am to 1am, seven days a week, selling real ale from local and regional brewers as well as non-alcoholic and hot drinks. JD Wetherspoon has spent more than £1.1million and created 120 jobs at the pub. JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said there was a ‘minimal chance’ the pub’s opening would lead to drink driving.
Jordans head of Accident and Personal Injury, Christine Sands, said: ‘We strongly hope that a pub at a motorway service station will not tempt people to break the law by drink driving. By doing so the chances of the driver endangering themselves and others is greatly increased.’