A GARAGE’S bid to sell alcohol 24 hours a day was approved after residents’ concerns were deemed to be purely speculative.
Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee has given Milton Road Service Station in Milton Road the go ahead to sell booze all the time.
It is an extension to its existing licence, which up to now has allowed it to offer drinks 18 hours a day from 6am to midnight.
Approval came despite a cluster of pubs being close by – Mr Pickwick, The Brewer’s Arms and The Milton Arms.
A representative for the garage’s alcohol supervisor Kaushik Thakrar insisted its intention was to meet the needs of existing customers and not attract people from further afield wanting booze.
But Lib Dem Councillor Ben Dowling, who represents the area, said residents were concerned people would pile out of pubs at closing time and go for more alcohol at the garage, which is also open 24 hours.
He said: ‘The general feeling is that although the applicant has made clear this is for current customers, if the licence was to be granted then those using the Mr Pickwick pub nearby would then after closing time look to buy alcohol at the petrol station, leading to drunkenness and noise which would obviously disturb these residents.’
But Cllr Les Stevens, a Lib Dem who chaired the meeting, said it wasn’t a concrete claim.
‘We can’t take that into account, because there’s no evidence to go with it,’ he said.
Yet two households wrote letters of complaint to the council about the level of noise being created in the area.
A couple who live in Maylands Avenue, Milton said: ‘Already, we can hear shouting and arguing well into the early hours of the morning.’
The committee gave its approval based on Home Office guidance which says that unless there is evidence proving otherwise, premises’ can sell alcohol during the hours they are open.
Alcohol will only be allowed to be sold through a hatch on the window between midnight and 5am, the same as other products.
No customers will be allowed in the shop between those times and it will remain locked.