New Pub Planned for Buckinghamshire Motorway

Thirsty work, this. Photo courtesy of Bob the Binman, taken from the Londonist Flickr pool

When the sky is as blue as it is today, our thoughts turn to the idea of a nice cold pint on a sunny street corner. Such is true, we’d guess, of many others in this great city of ours.

So we’re ever so slightly worried by today’s news that the JD Wetherspoon pub company is planning to open a new hostelry. On the M40.

The £2 million development will be sited at the Extra services in Beaconsfield, just outside the city limits in Buckinghamshire, and is expected to create 50 jobs. “Hopefully,” the firm’s chair Tim Martin said, “it will be the first of many Wetherspoon’s on the motorway.” Because what could possibly go wrong with that.

Our feelings on this one are best described as ‘mixed’. On the one hand, the food in a Wetherspoons is almost certainly going to be better value than most of the grub on offer in a service station. And by definition, more than half the people on a motorway at any one time won’t be driving (think about this for five seconds and you’ll see it’s true): why should the average coach-travelling pensioner be denied convenient access to their half of best?

What’s more, even on a glorious day like today, those who are silly enough to drink and drive are unlikely to fancy a swift half in a Buckinghamshire car park. As it stands there’s nothing to stop them leaving the motorway in search of a country pub anyway. Does this really make any difference?

Well, yes, say various concerned parties. Road safety charity Brake said the move is “putting temptation there in front of drivers”, and called for big signs warning about the danger of drink-driving.  Meanwhile Sir Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, argued that we should be decreasing access to alcohol, rather than making it more available. “Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message,” he added.

There’s one more tiny irony in all this. These days you’re no longer allowed to drink on the tube – but the hard stuff will be on offer just off the hard shoulder. Go figure.

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Jonn

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  • BethPH

    You can already buy alcohol from a lot of petrol stations, and (IIRC) some services. I’m not convinced it will lead to a sudden increase in drink-driving.

  • Paul Ashby

    I think there’s a world of difference between the selling of off sales booze at a garage which often locals can walk to, and providing a bar at a service station where every person has to drive or be driven to. I have no problem with anyone opening a catering establishment which is similar in style to a pub but doesn’t sell alcohol, but putting temptation in the path of people is just stupid.
    Hopefully 99%+ of customers will be sensible, but do you want to meet the person who was a bit tired, popped in for a break and fancied a refreshing pint, only to discover their reflexes weren’t as quick as they imagined?
    Unfortunately some people still drink and drive. The rest of the public deserves to be protected from them, not have the risk increased. And aren’t we all being told we drink too much anyway? Surely we can wait a bit longer..

  • Ken Pork

    I think this will lead to a sudden rise in old men nursing solitary pints for hours at an end taking up booth seats for 6 people.

  • Ken Pork

    I think this would lead to an increase in single pensioners nursing solitary pints for hours whilst taking up booths for 6 people.

  • Dave H

    As you (more-or-less) say, if someone is stupid enough to drink and drive, they’ll find a way of doing so, with or without a pub in the service station.

    And I’m not sure this is a particularly new development — as I recall, many of the options for refreshments on some of the country’s major A roads (not motorways) are pubs anyway, so motorists are already breaking up long journeys with pub visits, and have been for years.

    I feel sorry for the people who want something to eat, though. Wetherspoons food might be cheaper, but in my experience it’s even worse than the dreary service station fare.

  • Olufunkesmith

    Its so very awesome and Mind Blowing scenary for the Road.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130505230123AAj2Yha