MORRISONS has been given the green light to sell alcohol at its new store in Wroughton despite a huge outcry from local residents.
Swindon Council’s licensing panel approved an application brought by the supermarket giant to sell alcohol between the hours of 7am to 11pm Mondays to Sundays, at a meeting yesterday.
Morrisons is hoping to open an Mlocal store at the former Three Tuns pub, on Devizes Road. Contracts between the supermarket and Arkell’s Brewery have changed hands.
More than 80 residents lodged complaints with the authority citing traffic and noise issues as their main worries. But fears about underage drinkers congregating outside the site were also voiced.
Chris Kennedy, who represented a number of residents in Wroughton, said: “For Wrough-ton, with five shops already having off-licence sales, this would be one licence too many.
“The extended availablity of alcohol for consumption off the premises will inevitably result in increased public drunkenness and the attendant disorder, violence and vandalism – particularly by young people.”
He said noise would have an adverse effect on the 30 people aged 60 plus and 20 children living in close proximity.
But Morrisons representative Clare Johnson said traffic and noise issues were matters for a planning committee and should not be considered during a licensing hearing.
Mrs Johnson added there was no proof underage drinking would take place outside the store. She said Morrisons has highly trained staff in selling alcohol and has never had any of its licences revoked up and down the country.
“We are used to being good neighbours in the places that we open,” said Mrs Johnson.
“It is common when we open an Mlocal to have a lot of objections about what we might bring to that particular place.
“We simply do not cause the problems that are anticipated.”
Chairing the meeting, councillor Michael Bray (Con, Fresh-brook and Grange Park) said: “Having considered the evidence I have no hesitation in saying a licence should be granted.”
Laura Stubbs from Morrisons said: “We were pleased with the outcome of the licensing hearing and are excited about opening a Morrisons Mlocal in Wroughton.
“We’re looking forward to bringing the building back to life with a convenience store that has fresh food at its heart.”
A planning application for the change of use from a public house to a shop is expected to go through as permitted development.
Another planning application for external alterations to windows, doors, minor works to an existing car park and for a two-metre high fence to be built at the former pub was submitted to the council in August.
The application is likely to go before the planning committee on September 10.