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Hit or Miss: JD Wetherspoon opens England's first motorway pub

The first pub at a motorway service station in England opened this week despite opposition from certain road safety charities that say it offers a "deadly temptation" to drivers.

The Hope & Champion: Controversial opening

The Hope & Champion: Controversial opening

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Creating 120 jobs, JD Wetherspoon's The Hope & Champion is based at Beaconsfield Services on the M40. 

How I See It

Tom Hargreaves, board director, Publicasity

Clearly this is a contentious decision from JD Wetherspoon and it must have expected a mixed reaction.

 A brief delve into Twitter suggests just that… unsurprisingly, many people think it’s an irresponsible decision, but there are some who point out that pubs are often situated right next to motorway slip roads, so if a driver is determined to have an alcoholic drink, they don’t usually have to drive very far to find it.

It sounds like the launch of the pub was understated, as you might expect, with just a brief mention on the day from the Wetherspoon Twitter feed, and it has responded to any criticism by saying: "If you run pubs well and in a responsible manner then people act accordingly."

This is where I think it starts losing the argument. The idea that if The Hope & Champion is "well run" this will somehow ensure that no one will ever be tempted to pull in, have a few pints after a stressful day at work and then get straight back on to the M40 to continue their journey home is clearly a flawed one. It needs to take some of the responsibility back.

This article was first published on prweek.com


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