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A CONVENIENCE store in Southsea has been given permission to sell alcohol later into the night.

The Co-op store, in Elm Grove, applied to Portsmouth City Council to increase its licence.

It currently sells alcohol from 7am to 11pm.

But at yesterday’s city council licensing meeting, this was extended until 11.59pm.

The shop will also be open from 6am to midnight, where currently it is open 7am to 11pm.

A raft of concerns had been raised by three residents in the area, which were represented by Councillor Peter Eddis.

The worries included that more drunken and anti-social behaviour would be encouraged into the area; noise from the younger community; residents being awoken at 4am; noise from staff leaving and locking up the store; and noise and safety concerns from large lorries unloading outside properties.

Cllr Eddis said: ‘Unless you can prove there is a problem from longer hours, there’s not much you can do.

‘There was a concern about anti-social behaviour in the area.

‘But one positive is that a condition to the licence being given is that the store signs up to the “reducing the strength” campaign.’

As reported in The News, the city council is working with Hampshire Constabulary to encourage stores to stop selling high-strength beer or cider.

Stores are being asked to stop selling any beer or cider over 6.5 per cent in volume, not including premium products such as high-end ciders.

Councillor Phil Smith sits on the licensing sub-committee.

He said: ‘The licence was granted to the Co-op.

‘We recognise local residents have raised concerns about anti-social behaviour in Elm Grove.

‘But the store is in an area that has this – the store itself isn’t the cause of this.

‘With regards to the noise, there is an agreement to look at the roller shutters.

‘These might be causing an issue during closing time.

‘There was no legal ground on which we could refuse the application.’

Alongside longer opening hours and an extended alcohol licence, changes are also being made in-store.

A new queuing system will be put in place, and new fixtures to display goods inside the shop.