Shell garage alcohol sales approved

15:54 09 November 2012

Plans to sell alcohol at an Exmouth garage have been approved by East Devon District Council.

At a licensing meeting this week, councillors agreed that the Shell garage in Exeter Road could be licensed for alcohol sale, and for the provision of ‘late night refreshment’, which would be limited to soup and hot drinks.

The applicant, Nigel Fletcher, had initially applied to sell alcohol 24-hours-a-day, but agreed to drop this request to alleviate concerns from local residents, who feared it could lead to anti-social behaviour.

Instead, alcohol will be sold between 5am and midnight. Hot drinks will be available 24-hours-a-day.

The application had drawn numerous objections from residents, along with Exmouth Town Council and district councillor Jill Elson.

Cllr Elson told the meeting that neighbours’ main concern was over a footpath adjacent to the garage.

Cllr Elson said: “The path is a concern as it could encourage people to hang about and drink in the dark lane.

“Anti-social behaviour there would be out of sight of Exeter Road and Halsdon Avenue.”

In their own submission, Mr Fletcher’s representatives said there was no evidence that selling alcohol on the site would cause problems, and that the business’s clientele would not change.

The committee was told: “[The business] has been trading perfectly happily there for decades providing a service for the local community, and now for the store to stay open, alcohol is what people expect from a convenience store.

“The premises won’t be doing anything different, but customers will be able to buy a bottle of wine or hot drink.

“No [late night] hot food at all. It won’t become a burger bar.”

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary had initially objected to the plan, but withdrew these objections after being given assurances about the CCTV system which would be installed.

The committee therefore granted the license, having ruled that the business was allowed to sell alcohol, as Shell’s figures showed more people used it as a shop than as a filling station.

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