'Minimal chance' of Wetherspoon on motorway leading to drink-driving

Tim Martin says JD Wetherspoon already has many pubs on busy roads. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

In an article for ITV News, the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, has hit back at critics over the opening of a pub at a motorway services area.

The issue of a pub on a motorway services area is obviously emotional and controversial. Everyone agrees that drinking and driving are best avoided.

However, Wetherspoon has almost 900 pubs, and many are situated on busy roads and, in addition, there are many pubs owned by pubcos and individuals in close proximity to the motorway network.

It has never been suggested in the past that our pubs have contributed to drink-driving problems as a result of this proximity.

In fact, alcoholic drinks have been available at motorway services for some time from outlets like Marks & Spencer, although there has not been a bona fide pub in the past.

The location of the Extra service station that will host the Wetherspoon bar. Credit: Google Maps/Extra

Times have changed and 60-70% of the sales of many of our pubs consist now of food, with soft drinks adding another 10% or so. Pepsi is our second biggest draught product and coffee and tea together sell more than Pepsi.

Wetherspoon has an excellent record for encouraging responsible behaviour in its pubs but, in an imperfect world nothing is guaranteed.

Given the prominent availability of non-alcoholic products in our pubs and the wide availability of alcoholic drinks elsewhere, I believe that the chances of Wetherspoon contributing to irresponsible behaviour as a result of our new pub are minimal.

Tim Martin is the chairman of JD Wetherspoon. His views do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News.