Portsmouth petrol station wins bid for alcohol licence

Councillor Luke Stubbs

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DISAPPOINTED neighbours have failed in their bid to stop alcohol being sold at a petrol garage in Portsmouth.

At a meeting of Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee yesterday, Milton Road Service Station, Milton, won its application to sell alcohol between 8am and 11pm.

The move will be introduced by Rontec Watford Limited once it takes over the garage from Total UK next month.

Rontec initially wanted to sell alcohol 24 hours a day but it compromised after police warned it could lead to anti-social behaviour.

The decision was made despite strong opposition from residents, trading standards and Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald-Vernon Jackson, who is also a councillor for Milton.

They argued there were already three pubs selling alcohol on the road – Mr Pickwick, The Milton Arms and The Brewers Arms.

Neighbours said problems with drunk people loitering in the street late at night could get worse.

David Wearn, 67, who lives with his wife Maureen, 65, at the back of the garage in Maylands Avenue, said: ‘Though we’re pleased it won’t sell alcohol for 24 hours a day we’re still disappointed with the outcome.’

Fears were raised about under-age drinking and people using the garage to top up on alcohol before going elsewhere.

Craig Coplands, community officer for trading standards, said: ‘We already have problems with youths drinking in Milton Park. This could escalate.’

Robert Botkai, solicitor for Rontec, said: ‘This is a company that wants to invest in a local store and make it better for local people.’

The licensing committee approved the measure because the garage will impose a ‘think 25’ age policy.

The premises must be run as a convenience store because it is illegal for a garage to sell alcohol under the 2003 Licensing Act.

Police will monitor sales to make sure the garage is obeying the law.