Concerns raised as Rowlands Castle garage makes second bid for booze licence

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CONCERNS have been raised after a petrol garage launched a renewed bid for a 24-hour alcohol licence.

The Shell garage in Whichers Gate Road, Rowlands Castle, has applied to East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) for permission to sell alcohol seven days a week.

Rowlands Castle Parish Council has objected to the bid, claiming it could bring anti-social behaviour to the area.

The district council is currently running a consultation over the application.

A spokeswoman for Rowlands Castle Parish Council said the renewed bid follows an awarding then revoking of the garage’s alcohol licence in 2011 and 2012.

The spokeswoman said: ‘The statistics and figures presented by Shell originally were highly questionable, and proved the prime purpose of the site was the selling of fuel.

‘We now look to the members of EHDC’s licensing team to decide whether the premises, which is currently being extended, is of sufficient size to be re-classified as a convenience store.

‘If so we note the police objection to the previous application for the 24-hour sale of alcohol, and the agreement to limit that to between the hours of 6am and 10pm only.

‘We consider the sale of alcohol 24 hours a day excessive and would support a similar restriction to reasonable hours.

‘The importance of preventing anti-social behaviour late at night should not be underestimated and such a restriction may well assist.’

In 2011 the district council granted the garage permission to sell alcohol from 10am-6pm every day.

But in 2012 the parish council won an appeal at Fareham Magistrates’ Court to have the licence removed.

Shell claimed 47 per cent of its sales had come from goods other than petrol.

But under Section 176 of the Licensing act, premises mainly used as a garage cannot sell alcohol.

Representatives from Shell were previously unable to convince magistrates the premises was mainly used as a convenience store.

Last year the district council granted permission for Shell to extend its Whichers Gate Road site, which is currently closed while the work takes place.

The application is also for the sale of late night refreshments.

A spokeswoman for Shell said the company is unable to comment on the matter during the period of consultation, which ends at midnight tonight.

Responsible authorities and residents can make representations to the district council’s licensing team if the effect of the grant of the licence relates to the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, or the prevention of public nuisance.

E-mail licensing@easthants.gov.uk