Beds, Herts & Bucks

JD Wetherspoon to open first motorway pub on M40

Beaconsfield services off M40 in Buckinghamshire
Image caption The pub will open at the Beaconsfield services just off junction two of the M40

JD Wetherspoon said it will open its first motorway pub after being given the go-ahead at services on the M40.

The firm said the bar and restaurant will open at Extra in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, after a successful application to the local council.

It said its licence allows it to serve alcohol between 08:00 and 01:00.

Road safety charity Brake said as the firm was "putting temptation in front of drivers", it should make its drink-drive warnings "extra clear".

The news comes amid a government consultation on the lifting of alcohol sales restrictions at motorway services.

Prior to lodging its application, the firm met with Thames Valley Police and South Bucks District Council to outline its plans. Wetherspoon said the application received "no representations".

It is anticipated the £2m development will create 50 jobs.

'Real concern'

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: "The company has always been innovative and this is an exciting new development for us.

"Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoon's on the motorway."

A spokeswoman for Brake said: "The opening of a pub on the motorway could be of real concern unless safeguards are put in place with strong messages to warn about the dangers of drink-driving.

Media captionJD Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon says there were "no objections" to the M40 pub

"As it is putting temptation there in front of drivers, it is doubly important the messages are extra clear. Our advice to drivers is if you are driving, don't drink any amount of alcohol."

The charity says each month in Great Britain 23 people are killed and 108 people are seriously injured by drivers over the drink-drive limit.

Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: "To reduce alcohol-related harm, we have to reduce its availability, not increase it.

"Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message if we are trying to prevent harm from alcohol-related traffic accidents."

A Wetherspoon 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."

In its application to the council, the firm said: "Materials to remind customers of the dangers of the requirement not to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol will be displayed in the premises."

The pub is expected to be open by Christmas.

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