Residents' fury over Lancaster Asda Express petrol station's 24-hour booze bid

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Concerns have been raised over a bid to allow a Lancaster petrol station to sell late-night alcohol and refreshments.

Residents are worried the plan would encourage anti-social behaviour, traffic, drug dealing and less choice of groceries for elderly residents. There are also concerns over the impact it would have on a smaller convenience shop nearby.

A licence application by Euro Garages for the Asda Express Ryelands petrol station on Owen Road seeks permission for alcohol sales 24 hours a day and late night refreshment from 11pm to 5am, both for seven days a week. Asda is also named in the application.

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Euro Garages says staff training, the display of alcohol behind a counter, a CCTV system and the Challenge 25 proof of age scheme will be among the measures to promote licensing objectives, prevent crime and disorder, and protect children from harm. Neil Robert Eccles is named as the premises supervisor in the application.

Owen Road, Lancaster. Picture: Google MapsOwen Road, Lancaster. Picture: Google Maps
Owen Road, Lancaster. Picture: Google Maps

In an email to the city council, the existing Convenience Express shop at Aldrens Lane, in Skerton, states: “As the proprietor of Convenience Express, I have major concerns about the Asda Express Owen Road application. I feel the area is adequately served by ourselves, during the sociable hours of 10am to 9pm.

“As an independent [business], trading has been difficult in recent years and any loss of trade to increased competition will only add to the challenges. Having served the area for over 30 years, I feel we are an integral part of the community. It would be a major loss if we had to call it a day.

“During the last 30 years of my proprietorship, I have seen a fantastic reduction in anti-social behaviour. For many years now, anti-social behaviour has been relatively non-existent.

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“My major fear now is, if granted, the proposed increase in accessibility to alcohol will inevitably bring with it alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour and start to undo all the good work done by the police, ourselves and local residents”

One resident also voiced their fears: “We are very concerned about the licensing application for the Ryelands garage 24-hour alcohol licence, and the haste and short notice of the change. Since the takeover of the site by Asda, the shop... have grossly cut back on the range of everyday items. This leaves very little for pensioners like us.

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“We presume the snacks are going to be an extension of hours for Subway and Greggs (or worse), which will give more smell pollution and a greater litter problem. The sale of alcohol can only be aimed at the passing trade of people coming home from night clubs, where they have already had too much to drink.”

The resident adds: “The shop at Aldrens Lane has to close at 9pm because of all the trouble they had when they stayed open until 11pm. This will be a lot worse.

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"The police have enough to do without having to check up on the garage. Ideally, it should only have petrol sales for 24 hours and convert to pay at the pump.

“The drug dealers will be back, parking their cars on the road, eager to supply customers straight from the garage shop. We object in the strongest terms to this proposed, very worrying development.”

Another resident highlights litter and late night noise worries. “We already tolerate being subjected to tedious, loud ‘conversations’ conducted below our bedroom window at night by revellers who choose to sit on our wall while having snacks and non-alcoholic drinks from Ryelands service station,” they said.

"We can only imagine how instances of this will increase if alcohol is added to the mix.

“We think we are reasonable people. We actively supported the Euro Garages application for 24-hour opening some years ago and they are good neighbours. Spar must have managed to make a profit without selling alcohol. Why not Asda?”

Lancaster City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee will consider the application on Thursday (May 18) at Morecambe Town Hall from 10.30am.

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