A mini-supermarket in a busy Preston road is to be allowed to open 24-hours and serve booze all night long.Advertisement
Currently a Co-Op store in Garstang Road, Fulwood, the new owners had applied to extend its opening hours.
A licensing hearing took place on Monday (12 September) at Preston Town Hall where the licensing sub-committee considered Rontec Watford Limited’s request to open the garage for 24hours and sell late night refreshments.
The shop at 275 Garstang Road currently operates from 6am-11pm.
A number of local residents gave representations at the hearing offering their worries and concerns over the consequences of approving the licence, including increased noise, anti-social behaviour and underage drinking in the local area.
Councillor David Hammond said: “With the previous four or five owners, there have been no problems and they have generally co-existed with residents.
“We like the garage, it’s a community garage with no complaints and we credit the previous owners.
“The most concerning point is the 24hour service with alcohol, which has happened before.
“There will be an increased risk of noise after 11pm when it’s usually quiet, antisocial behaviour will rise, litter problems, and heavy goods vehicles parking there will become a disturbance. It’s not necessary.”
It was made aware to the committee that the recreational area across the road was likely to be affected with people using it more often, specifically after consuming alcohol from the garage.
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Mr Hacking, representing the Pact Group for the Cadley and Greyfriars Wards, said: “This has been brought to our attention at three meetings now.
“The main concern is late night alcohol sales which will disrupt the immediate area and further afield.
“Underage drinking will rise, as they try to purchase alcohol or get overage drinkers to buy for them.
“It’s already a big problem in this country and extra outlets offering extra hours will just make it more likely. This is a step too far.”
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The representative for Rontec provided a presentation addressing the concerns.
He said: “Late night refreshments, specifically hot drinks from machines, tends to not cause issues.
“Motorists should be able to get hot drinks, like coffee, at night.
“Rontec is a very experienced operator, especially with 24hour sites. We will operate through a night pay window, with at least two staff working.
“Any problems we would immediately bring to the police’s attention, we want a continuing relationship with neighbours, and regarding underage alcohol sales, we will ask for identification of any customer who looks under the age of 25.”
Councillors approved the application for the extended opening hours and selling of late night refreshments and alcohol under the condition that the operating schedule is followed, including closing the entrance door at 11pm and no selling of hot food.
The Co-Op itself is due to close on Saturday 1 October and re-open under new ownership in the following days.
Do you use the Co-Op? What do you think of the licensing application? Let us know your views in the comments below