A Wetherspoon's on the motorway? I'll have a curry, a few pints, and a breath mint for the drive

Whether the chain serves food, or the belief that most people would stick to a
lemonade, I think it’s only prodding that susceptible someone to take a risk

Share
Related Topics

For “pre-loading” favourite JD Wetherspoon, known to many as ‘Spoons’, opening an establishment on the side of a motorway is apparently a good idea.

The company plans to open the £2million yet-to-be-named bar at the end of the year. I’d go with ‘The Terminus’.

The intended pub will be near Beaconsfield and has already come under fire from campaigners. Many claim that a roadside pub would ‘tempt’ motorists and “send out the wrong message to drivers”. To me that seems like a logical conclusion. Drinking is a popular pastime; as a nation we struggle to keep to just one as the designated taxi already, let alone when there’s a cheap pub at the service station.

It’s unsurprising then that action groups such as Brake feel that drivers will fail in resisting the urge for a sneaky drop. Organisation spokesperson Laura Woods told me that “it’s desperately worrying that some drivers might think it’s okay to stop off for a quick drink on their way home, which could easily lead to tragedy.” Of course this is a stringent view. There are guidelines to say that a little alcohol in the system is fine when behind the wheel – though isn’t promoting that so formidably a little overbearing? As my mother used to say, ‘it’s a limit, not a target’. Indeed.

One G&T might be fine if the designated driver wants to allow themselves a treat before heading back down the road, but that’s an entirely different situation to a 6.30pm hurry back from the office to the Buckinghamshire home.

The M40 is a commuter channel – a lonely road for the lonely drive back from work. Is there need for users to stop for a quick whisky and coke? A group of young boys driving to a party in Henley? Are travelling families going to hit up a Spoons over a café on the way up to a weekend in Birmingham? Won’t couples choose a slightly more romantic spot to have Sunday lunch while journeying from London?

From scenario to scenario a pub next to the motorway gets more ridiculous an idea. When is it ever more practical, sensible or reasonable – however many are in the car?  

Whether the chain serves food or not and despite the positive belief that most people would stick to a lemonade, in my view it’s only prodding that susceptible someone to take a risk. A flagship of our drinking culture next to a busy home counties artery is potentially fueling a social problem. It's sparking no end of worry in health professionals across the country

But the team at JD Wetherspoon doesn’t appear to be all that concerned with the proposition that a new establishment might lead to drink driving. On the Huffington Post on Monday, a spokesman was reported to have said this regarding the planned opening: “We won’t be asking them [customers] whether they are driving. It’s up to them”. Apparently chairman Tim Martin doesn’t “see any problem”.

In fact, the “innovative” Mr Martin is said to want to see pubs all over the road network. By 2020 we might even have a Lloyds No.1 Bar on the M25. Why not? Traffic jams won’t be as boring at least, as frustrated drivers can simply hop out at Junction Five for a cheap burger and pint. Drinks will be served until 1am by the way; they may as well stay for a while. After party on the M4 anyone?

The BBC reported that "the news comes amid a government consultation on the lifting of alcohol sales restrictions at motorway services." This gives a somewhat mixed message to its drink-loving nation, given the recent attempts to plug binge drinking once and for all. Who can forget the irresponsible culture outlined so wonderfully by Theresa May in past months? We’re not allowed to save a bit of money before going out on the town, but it’s okay to pop in for a Prosecco or two on the way to John Lewis? I’m not sure this follows the previous ethos of our caring, health conscious cabinet.

Of course, ultimately, it’s down to the public to act with dignity. Perhaps we can’t blame the pub chain for moving forward in economic, strategic fashion - it’s definitely a niche market.

I just think a pub on the roadside is like putting a McDonald’s in a gym; a strip club in the Vatican; an ASDA in Chelsea. It has no place anywhere near it. As told by the BBC on at the start of the week, the company said that it believes “the majority of people driving won’t be drinking”. ‘The majority’? Some will be then. And yes you can purchase alcohol at service stations already, but getting a bottle of wine from M&S for the in-laws is not a pub on the motorway. It does not hold the same weight or proposition. 

Oh well, just remember: ‘Don’t drink and drive’ – too much.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Foundation Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Early Years and Founda...

General Cover Teacher - Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...

KS2 Teacher required from October

£90 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Hull: Key Stage 2 Supply Teacher requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?