DRINKERS got their first chance to sample a service station tipple this morning as the country's first motorway bar and restaurant opened in Beaconsfield.
The controversial plans received mixed reactions from residents but the JD Wetherspoon watering hole ‘The Hope and Champion’ at the M40 services opened its doors and served its first customers this morning.
The national media descended on Beaconsfield for the opening, which was widely debated on this morning’s TV news, as staff at the groundbreaking bar worked their first shift since it was granted a licence last summer.
Manager of the M40 branch, Steve Baldwin said: "Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into The Hope and Champion.
“The Extra Motorway Service Area, now including The Hope and Champion, primarily serves the Motorway users, but its facilities are also available to the surrounding community from the local road network."
The new establishment will be open from 4am until 1am seven days a week and the pub, which is split over two floors, is licensed to serve alcohol from 9am.
The pub’s licence was granted by South Bucks District Council and concerns about the possibility for drink driving have resurfaced after it was approved last summer.
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, a national road safety charity, said: "The opening of a pub on a motorway is a serious concern, presenting a potentially deadly temptation to drivers.
"Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day."
Despite concerns, JD Wetherspoon’s are keen to prove they are doing all they can to prevent drink driving.
They will include the national Drink Drive Awareness logos on its menus and remove all alcoholic promotional deals.
Brake campaigner Mr Morrow added: "It is vitally important that messages about the dangers of drink driving are as strong and obvious as possible, so drivers know it’s not okay to stop off for a quick drink on their way home. Our advice is not to have a drop if you are driving."
A survey by motoring organisation the RAC found only 12 per cent of people support the idea of motorway pubs, and around two thirds of the 2,000 people asked said they were against the decision.
Around 120 jobs have been created by the development of the £1.1million outlet, which is located adjacent to Junction 2 on the M40 motorway.
It is designed on two floor levels with views of the lake and woodlands. It also has internal and external customer seating areas as well as a pavement café style area at the front of the building.