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

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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower