Motorway pub opens amid controversy22nd January, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Pub chain JD Wetherspoons has become the first in the UK to open an establishment at a motorway service station.
The Hope and Champion, located at Beaconsfield Services off the M40, opened yesterday and will serve motorists from 4am until 1am, licensed from 9am, seven days a week.
The company has spent £1.8m developing the pub which it said will create 120 jobs, however its introduction has angered road safety campaigners who believe it will create a “deadly temptation” for drivers.
Ellie Pearson, from the road safety charity Brake, said: “Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day.
“It is vitally important that messages about the dangers of drink driving are as strong and clear as possible, so drivers know it’s not okay to have even a single drink ahead of getting behind the wheel.
“Research clearly shows that even small amounts of alcohol can be lethal if you’re driving, so our advice to drivers is simple: never drink any alcohol if you’re driving – not a drop.”
The pub said it has taken measures to discourage drink driving by including the national drink drive awareness logos on its menus which have been redesigned to remove alcohol promotions.
Wetherspoon club meals, such as the popular beer and a burger deal, will only be available with non-alcoholic drink options and additional anti-drink driving awareness posters will be displayed throughout the pub.
Eddie Gershon, a spokesperson for Wetherspoons, said: “Wetherspoon is pleased that it has opened its pub at Beaconsfield, the first of its kind on a motorway network.
“The company has always been very innovative and this is another example of offering people good food and drink, in an environment away from the High Street.
“We understand the concerns of individuals, however, the pub will be responsibly run and we believe customers will act responsibly too.
“Within hours of the pub opening yesterday, it was packed out, with customers primarily eating and drinking coffee.
“People welcome the fact that they can enjoy good food and drink on the motorway network, at good value prices, something that motorway service areas haven’t always been known for.”