Following on from the announcement that J D Wetherspoon is set to open a pub at a motorway services off the M40, it has highlighted issues surrounding the sale of alcohol at motorway service areas.
Traditionally, most motorway services areas are on land owned by the Highways Agency. However, a number of new service areas have recently been built on privately owned land off the motorway.
The Licensing Act 2003 prohibits the sale of alcohol at motorway service areas, but this only applies to those on land which is owned by the Government. The same restriction is not applied to those motorway service areas on privately owned sites, as with the case of J D Wetherspoon.
Recent information from the Highways Agency suggested that, of 107 motorway service areas in England and Wales, at least 12 have a licence to sell alcohol. This licence may relate to an overnight lodge, off-sales, or a restaurant or refreshment venue.
For example, Marks and Spencer already sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, but J D Wetherspoon is the first to be granted a licence for a pub.
The Government is presently considering whether to remove the prohibition on the sale of alcohol at motorway service areas following a consultation last year.
At Fraser Brown we can advise on your licensing requirements and ensure you comply with all relevant legislation.