CONCERNS have been raised over a bid to allow 15 Co-op stores in Portsmouth to sell alcohol until midnight every day of the week.
The Southern Co-operative wants its shops across the city in residential areas to offer booze and stay open until that time rather than 11pm or earlier.
But residents have hit out at the changes being proposed for the shops in: Tregaron Avenue, Cosham; Havant Road, Drayton; London Road, Copnor; Northern Parade, Stamshaw; Sultan Road, Buckland; The Hard; Winter Road, Southsea; Fawcett Road, Southsea; Francis Avenue, Southsea; Highland Road, Southsea; Great Southsea Street, Southsea; St James Road, Southsea; Copnor Road and Tangier Road, Copnor.
They believe the changes would create yet more problems with anti-social behaviour caused by drinking and have written letters to the council outlining their fears.
Jackie Croucher, of Great Southsea Street, said: ‘This is a conservation and residential area. There are already two public houses in close proximity to this Co-op, both of which sell alcohol until late at night.’
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, against the Winter Road application, wrote: ‘There is a strong likelihood that it could attract people – especially younger people and students into the area and mean considerably more rowdy behaviour and noise.’
Another resident, against the Sultan Road shop changing hours, said: ‘As a local community, we feel if this is granted and our home life is made more unbearable, we will have no option but to report all incidents as emergency calls to the police service, and add to the burden of their workload.’
Stan Heather, of Havant Road, added: ‘Alcohol is already being sold to 18-year-olds from the Co-op and then given to younger people outside, I have witnessed this many times.’
Seven other Co-op stores have already been granted permission to extend their booze licences until midnight – those in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove; Fratton Road, Fratton; Isambard Brunel Road, Southsea; Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw; Leith Avenue, Paulsgrove; Eastney Road, Eastney and New Road, Copnor.
The city council’s licensing committee will make decisions on each individual store and they will be heard in batches over five days, starting from tomorrow.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory deputy leader of the council, said the number of applications sounded excessive.
‘Tesco has a lot of stores licensed until midnight,’ he said. ‘It’s excessive in many locations because the Co-op stores are in residential areas, and if they are to stay open until midnight as well then that’s a bit on the late side. It will be interesting to see what case the Co-op makes.’