Tesco Express alcohol licence agreed
By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, February 05, 2013, 16:18
RESIDENTS have lost their fight against plans by Tesco to secure a licence to sell alcohol at its new store in Portishead.
The supermarket giant is to open a new Express Store at the former Royal Oak pub at West Hill this Spring.
The retailer had applied to North Somerset Council for a premises licence, to allow it to sell alcohol between 6am to 11pm.
The application had prompted objections from local residents who said it would bring additional noise, anti social behaviour and traffic to West Hill.
At a licensing hearing this week, councillors approved the application for the alcohol licence, despite residents attending and voicing their concerns.
Residents said they felt the licencing hours from 6am to 11pm were too long and there were already outlets in West Hill that sold alcohol
Campaigners, including members of the Portishead Tesco Action Group, now have 21 days to appeal against the decision.
Trader Krishan Patel, who works at the Costcutters store at West Hill, said: "We already have a real issue with drinking on the streets of West Hill.
"To allow alcohol to be sold until 11pm could lead to drinking on the streets late into the night.
"The hours that alcohol will be available are just far too long."
Other residents asked what controls would be put in place to ensure alcohol would not fall into the wrong hands.
They also raised concerns that up to 8,000 customers could be visiting the store each week, causing additional traffic problems.
Resident Pat Ogier said he was concerned there would be an increase in anti-social behaviour.
He said: "Youngsters have been gathering in West Hill all the time since I have lived there for more than 30 years.
"Another alcohol outlet will just increase this problem."
The store already has planning permission under permitted development rights and plans to open seven days a week.
Because it is under 3,00sq ft in size, it does not have to adhere to the strict Sunday trading laws which other stores have to.
Tesco representatives said there were 1,600 Express stores across the country and that alcohol only represented between seven and nine per cent of sales.
The store also operates a Think 25 policy to stop under-age drinking and said its alcohol range at Express stores was limited with only 120 lines.
Tesco said that anyone causing problems at the store would be banned and that there would be a number of CCTV cameras inside the premises and that store managers and staff would work closely with the local police.