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Wetherspoon’s defends motorway pub plan

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has defended its decision to open a pub at a motorway service station, saying that it does not “see any problem” with the proposal.

Wetherspoon’s has been granted permission for a 24-hour bar and restaurant at junction two of the M40 in Buckinghamshire, which will have a licence to serve alcohol from 8am to 1am seven days a week.

Chairman Tim Martin said he hoped that the pub would be the first of many on Britain’s motorway network.

He said: Mr Martin 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.”

A spokesman for Wetherspoon’s said the company will not be checking if drinkers were planning to drive, adinng that much of the pub chain’s sales came from food as well as from serving non-alcoholic and hot drinks.

The spokesman 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.”

He added that Wetherspoon’s had received no objections to the proposal from either Thames Valley Police or South Buckinghamshire District Council and that motorway drivers were already able to purchase alcohol easily, if they wanted to.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, told the Press Association: “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.”

The Home Office has been looking at a range of issues regarding the sale of alcohol as part of it “Alcohol Strategy consultation”, which closed in early February. A spokeswoman for the Home Office admitted that this included the sale of alcohol in motorway service areas and added: “We will listen to all views and set out our response in due course.”

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