Tesco’s refuse to budge on alcohol selling hours

angel pubMyself and my ward colleagues, Cllr’s Ruth Dombey and Marlene Heron, met with local residents and a senior figure from Tesco’s this morning over concern about the supermarket’s plan to sell booze from 7am to 11pm every day.

It was a very frustrating meeting for all concerned as the Tesco’s representative refused to give an inch on the question of alcohol selling hours.

It was supposed to be a mediation meeting but I thought the notion of mediation implied a certain amount of compromise. Alas Greg Bartley, Tesco’s national licencing manager, stuck fast to his line that the alcohol licence they are applying for complies with Government guidance and therefore that is what they will do.

Immediately after the meeting the Sutton North ward councillors agreed to make representations to the Licencing Sub-Committee next Wednesday (24th July at 2.30pm) seeking a reduction in hours for selling booze.

Several local residents are also expected to turn up and speak out against Tesco’s plan.

The multi-billion pound retail giant are to open a new Tesco’s Metro on the site of the old Angel Pub (pictured). They did not have to apply for planning permission as they exploited a loophole because moving from a pub to a local supermarket chain apparently does not constitute a change of use.

This is a well-worn tactic that Tesco’s have used up and down the country to open hundreds of new Metro stores while circumventing the normal avenues for residents to object, ie. the planning process where decisions are made by locally-accountable people.

Residents at this morning’s meeting explained to Mr Bartley that the site has a history of people abusing alcohol, which was part of the reason why the old pub was closed in the first place, and that Rosehill Park next door to the site has also had its’ fair share of issues of alcohol, drugs and vagrancy.

All this appeared to make no impact on Tesco’s, although they did make the very minor concession of pointing a CCTV camera at the rear car-park to discourage any anti-social behaviour there, and not to sell cider or lager over 6% alcohol – which essentially knocks out brands like White Lightening and Special Brew.

However the sticking point remains the licencing hours. Tesco’s originally planned to start selling booze at 6am but changed that to 7am on advice of the local police. However 7am to 11pm is far too long in the view of residents and councillors, and we shall together be pushing for something more sensible next week.

Will keep you posted!

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