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New Tesco store, in Colnehurst Road, granted permission to sell booze from 7am
A new Tesco in Watford has been granted permission to sell booze as early as 7am despite concerns from residents it will attract street-drinkers and alcoholics.
Politicians approved a licence for a store in Colnehurst Road, in the Nascot area, after supermarket giant reduced their original application to sell from 6am.
Yet residents attending Watford Borough Council’s licensing subcommittee meeting yesterday objected saying they saw "no reason" for selling alcohol that early.
Christine Massey, of Regents Court, said she feared it would bring people who had been drinking all night to the area.
She said: "I am concerned people will be about all night and will come to the store looking for alcohol. It will also attract people who have been ejected from pubs and clubs and want more to drink.
"We will see the behaviour associated with heavy drinking including gang fighting, aggression towards passersby, accidental and criminal damage, urinating in the street and other frightening behaviour in front of our children.
"Having the store opening at 7am seems a nonsense to me. It’s far too early. I want to see it opening when children have gone to school at 9am. There’s no reason for it to be open earlier than that."
Another resident, Vikas Mehta, of Colnhurst Road, added: "It is highly likely the people buying alcohol at 7am will be alcoholics."
The residents’ concerns were backed by Nascot Liberal Democrat councillor, Mark Watkin, who said: "This is the only place in the area to buy alcohol that early in the day and it will attract street drinkers.
"They will go and drink in the playground where there are benches, which could cause harm to children.
"Tesco has spoken at length about the importance of community engagement.
"Tesco will not lose many customers by opening later and opening later will be a politically excellent gesture to make in terms of gaining the support of the community."
The store had originally applied for a license to sell alcohol from 6am to 11pm seven days a week.
However at the beginning of the meeting Tesco’s representative, Jeremy Bark, said the company was willing to compromise with a 7am to 10pm licence.
Mr Bark said: "Our original opening hours were from 6am to 11pm. We had no objections from the police about these hours provided we did not sell beer or larger in cans of less than 450ml, which we would not do anyway.
"We have had no objections from any schools in the area."
"We have listened to what residents have said and changed the opening hours to 7am until 10am, even though planning permission permits longer hours."
In the end three councillors on the committee, Liberal Democrats George Derbyshire and Helen Lynch and independent Malcolm Meerabux, approved the amended licence.
They also added conditions stating that there should be no sales above 5.5 per cent proof, no single cans of alcohol should be sold and notices should be put up instructing to customers to leave quietly.
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