RESIDENTS in South Ham have expressed their anger after a premises licence for a supermarket chain-run convenience store was given the green light by the borough council.
Councillors Diane Taylor, Tony Jones and Rita Burgess from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee granted a premises licence application from supermarket chain Morrisons for a Morrisons M Local store in Old Worting Road, in South Ham in front of a packed room of angry residents.
The approved licence means that alcohol can be purchased from the store on the site of the former Hammer and Tongs pub between the hours of 6am and 11pm, Monday to Sunday.
In their original application, Morrisons applied to sell alcohol on site from 6am to midnight, Monday to Sunday but after discussions with Trading Standards, the supermarket chain agreed to stop selling alcohol at 11pm.
However, the store will still be open from 6am to midnight, seven days a week.
But residents living opposite the site have expressed their dismay at the decision.
Old Worting Road resident and mother-of-two, Tracey Clarkson told The Gazette: “They have set a precedent so the next thing will be Lidl requesting to open later. We will have alcohol in the area until at least 11 at night. There are already existing problems in the area relating to alcohol and that should have come forward.”
Mother-of-three Catherine Waters-Clark added: “There is potential for trouble makers hanging round and potentially confronting people. This site is to be open for 17 hours a day selling alcohol, isn’t that excessive in today’s society?
“I know they (Morrisons) might work in areas of deprivation but there is a mix in this area plus Old Worting Road is an old residential road. We have younger families, old and disabled people and five minutes around the corner we have one of the most socially deprived areas in Basingstoke.
"A lot of us are unhappy about it and I would ask that the licensing application is rejected in full.”
A Morrions spokesman said: "Morrisons M Local is a community focused retailer and we are confident that our store will have a positive impact on South Ham
"However, we understand that we have more work to do to build relations with the local community and we will now focus on addressing the concerns raised at the committee."
Jon Wallsgrove, a solicitor representing Morrisons defended the application, telling the meeting: “The committee may be aware that shopping needs and wants of customers have changed in the last few years and convenience is the fastest growing retail sector in the country.
“The main focus of these stores is providing food to the community. Over 50 per cent of this shop will be given to fresh food and alcohol is just one smaller part of what a convenience stores offers."
He added: “Morrisons can understand why residents would have some fears about another licensed premises going into this location but these fears are not realistic.
“I want them to understand in great detail what a responsible company Morrisons is and what an asset to the community this will be even if they choose not to shop there.”
A number of conditions were imposed on the store after councillors agreed to grant the application, including a condition to not display alcohol at the entrance and exit to the store and CCTV must be used at all times during their operational hours and footage must be available to the police and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council when requested.
The store is expected to open later this year.