Decision to extend shop alcohol hours causes outrage

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 May 2011

The parish council and residents objected to the proposal

The parish council and residents objected to the proposal

Archant

ANGRY villagers say the decision to grant a national chain an extended license to serve alcohol is ‘socially reprehensible’.

The McColl’s newsagents in Brean will now be able to serve booze up to midnight after Sedgemoor District Council approved the extended license.

Residents say the move to extend the hours during the peak time between May and September will exacerbate the existing problem caused by youths drinking in the village and on the beach.

The store in South Road currently has a license which allows them to sell alcohol up to 10pm in the evening, but Sedgemoor District Council granted permission at a meeting on April 27 to allow it to extend that by two hours.

Speaking of residents’ concerns, Church Road resident Richard Smith said: “The current license seems to be perfectly adequate to me, I don’t know why they have to expand it.

“When people spill out of the pubs and clubs at closing time after a whole evening drinking, they’ll be able to go to the shop and buy more alcohol, and that can only add to the problems that currently go on.

“I just think it’s socially reprehensible of the store to decide to do this, they just want to put more money in the till.”

Another resident, Don Holland, said: “Most mornings when you’re out there are bottles and cans lying around. The newest thing for some drinkers seems to be smashing bottles on the road, and this really isn’t going to help.

“It’ll mean even more youngsters will be out drinking around the village, and the police just don’t have the resources to deal with it all the time.”

Both Brean Parish Council and Knoll Park Resident’s Association voiced concerns about the change, after expressing worries about a potential increase in crime and littering.

Paul Taylor, McColl’s general manager for marketing, said the store would be strictly adhering to the Challenge 25 initiative to make sure people under the age of 18 would not be allowed to buy alcohol from the shop.

He said: “The decision to apply to extend the shop’s licensed hours to sell alcohol was made after several people came to us and asked if we could extend the hours during peak times in the summer season.

“The shop will not be selling alcohol until midnight all year round, but only during these peak times.

“Our staff will be working to Challenge 25 and will be asking anyone who looks under that age for proof of age.”

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