Tesco overcomes objection to new Portsmouth store

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TESCO will open a new convenience store in Portsmouth after the city council gave it the green light.

The new Express shop will be in Kingston Road, Buckland, and was yesterday granted permission to supply alcohol between 6am and 11pm.

It drew an objection from a nearby shop owner – who said he was speaking on behalf of other business owners – convinced that Tesco’s low prices would lead to more alcohol-related disorder.

But the claim was not accepted by Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub-committee.

Its members said there was no reason not to grant permission.

The chairman of the committee Les Stevens said: ‘There were just no grounds for a refusal.

‘This store will benefit the area by giving the residents more choice of where they are able to shop.’

The sole objection was raised by Kulwant Laly, the owner of Mace Convenience on Kingston Road, who said an ongoing problem with drunkenness in the Hanway Road car park could be made worse by Tesco moving in.

He said: ‘A lot of local people have concerns.

‘When people sit out the back of my shop in the car park they normally go quickly if they have no alcohol, but when they have alcohol they stay.

‘Many times we have had to call the police when they have started causing a nuisance. This will get worse if Tesco opens here.’

Mr Laly added that he was also worried Tesco would drive other local stores out of business.

But Tesco’s solicitor Jeremy Bark said the supermarket chain had a long history of selling alcohol responsibly.

He said: ‘We have opened within lots of areas within Portsmouth that have their issues.

‘We’re confident that we will not cause or contribute to any problems there may be.’

He added that the shop’s prices would be set by Tesco’s head office and the local store would not be able to lower prices to undercut the competition as Mr Laly feared.

The shop is set to open in May and will employ 20 staff.