Asda in Portsmouth applies for 24-hour alcohol licence - but residents fear drunken street fights

CONCERNED residents fear life could become a 'total nightmare' and have warned of booze fuelled fights in the streets if a large city supermarket is permitted to sell alcohol 24 hours a day.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 10:04 am

The Asda store in Somers Road, in Fratton, is seeking to extend its licence for the sale of alcohol all day, everyday as well as allow hot food and drinks to be sold at its petrol station from 11pm until 5am.

Currently the shop, which is part of the Bridge Shopping Centre, opens between 6am and 12am most days - but 10am-4pm on Sundays, and its alcohol licence is restricted from 7am until 11pm.

However, even if the licence is approved at a council meeting in January, the chain would still need planning permission to extend the store's opening hours to match. Legally it would not be able to sell alcohol all day on Sunday as the store can only stay open for six hours.

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Asda in Fratton has applied for a 24-hour alcohol licence Picture: Sarah Standing (123194-4633)

Asda has said the 24-hour licence would just allow customers to buy drinks during the full length of its existing opening hours.

But residents living in Garnier Street, which links to the Asda car park through an archway, feared it could lead to all day opening hours resulting in a repeat of events when a nearby convenience store used to have a 24 hour licence.

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Jan Williams, who has lived in Garnier Street for around 10 years, said: 'If it happens it'll be a total nightmare. We used to get loads of fights right outside our house and people kicking off. And it was all so noisy.

'We are just going to have the same problem again.

'It's just not appropriate. The times they have are enough.'

One of her neighbours, Peter Fisher, 55, added: 'It used to be a rat-run here when the corner shop used to sell alcohol 24 hours a day.

'Hopefully if Asda gets the licence the gate won't be open all the time.'

Ward councillors urged residents to make their thoughts known ahead of the licensing meeting.

Councillor and Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: 'The sale of alcohol, risk of anti-social behaviour and potential for increased litter are all points raised.

'I encourage community members to share these with the licensing team as appropriate. '

Cllr Cal Corkery agreed. 'A lot of residents have written to me about it and they are planning to give deputations at the meeting,' he said.

'I share their concerns around the potential for increased anti-social behaviour that could come with the alcohol sales.

'Particularly given the history of the area it's not appropriate.'

The licensing committee meeting is planned for Monday, January 6.

Asda was approached for a comment.

RESIDENTS’ VIEWS

CONCERNS regarding noise, anti-social behaviour and parking were raised by residents who feared an extended alcohol licence could lead to longer opening hours for a supermarket.

If approved booze could be sold at Asda in Fratton 24 hours a day - although planning permission would first need to be granted to allow the opening times to match.

Garnier Street resident Mark Curtis, 54, said: 'The bigger issue with it being 24 hours is people park here and walk through. They get to the gate and the trolleys stop working so they drag them into the road making loads of noise and just dump them.

'I won't be bothered if the gate isn't open 24 hours, provided that is closed it should be fine.'

His neighbour, Jan Williams, said: 'It's no good at all in a residential place like this. It would be different if it was slightly outside the city in a retail park.

'Generally living in a city area you expect some noise and you accept it. But we accepted the times as they are. Like on a Sunday it's nice not to hear the cars and trolleys in the evening.'

Peter Fisher, 55, who also lives in Garnier Street added: 'I'd rather it wasn't open 24 hours because we will get lots of people coming past at all hours. I think the times they currently have are enough.'

But for some it would benefit them. Richard Jones, 51, of Victoria Road North said: 'I use Asda as my regular supermarket so I have no problem with that. It would be more convenient for me.

'Although I don't live in the immediate area but I can understand why people nearby would complain about the noise and things like that.'

Murefield Road resident, Frank Scivier, 68, added: 'It's the only shop I use so it would be extremely handy for me. I have limited mobility so it's the only place I can get to.'