Garages are our modern corner and village shops

New commercial life is sprouting in Copnor Road

VERITY LUSH: Green shoots of recovery sprouting in northern Portsmouth

Have your say

Remember our crazy old licensing laws? Today’s 20-somethings would choke on their Jägerbombs if they were turfed out of the pub at 3pm or 11pm.

Those were the bizarre days, a remnant of laws introduced in the First World War to stop drunkenness among munitions workers, when, on a summer’s Sunday afternoon, you could not buy a pint between 2pm and 7pm.

Equally strange was the decision to ban shops attached to petrol stations from selling alcohol.

The nanny state reckoned it would prove too much of a temptation for drivers.

They would be unable to resist the lure of a four-pack when paying for their fuel and drink it while behind the wheel as soon as they left the forecourt.

So you could buy everything from deodorant to Domestos in these roadside shops, but never a bottle of wine, gin or brandy.

Thankfully, we now live in more enlightened times.

In 21st century Britain, filling stations have largely replaced the corner or village shop and many offer a better service, being open around the clock.

Which is why we applaud the members of Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee who agreed, with hardly a moment’s hesitation, to allow a garage to sell alcohol from 6am until midnight.

Milton Road Service Station, in Milton Road, Milton, will now sell alcohol 18 hours a day.

As we report on page six today, the garage is within walking distance of three pubs and an off-licence. So?

A filling station selling booze is hardly likely to hit a pub’s trade, is it?

If you need to quickly pick up a bottle of wine for the evening on your way home, you would never consider spending ages trying to find somewhere to park before popping into a pub for it. A garage forecourt with its ample parking is just the ticket.

As a measure of how times have changed, we note that only one resident objected to the Esso garage’s application to extend its alcohol-selling hours.

The next logical and adult step would be to allow all of them to sell it 24 hours a day.