Residents lose fight over 24-hour plans

The BP garage service station and Mace Off Licence on Wigan Road, Atherton

The BP garage service station and Mace Off Licence on Wigan Road, Atherton

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An OFF-LICENCE has been given permission to open 24 hours a day.

National company Snax 24, with branches in the South and Midlands, is targeting a petrol station in the borough for one of its first ventures into the region.

The company has been given permission to open all day and all night, despite protests from neighbours and health chiefs.

No one from the company was available to comment today.

Neighbours are worried having alcohol on sale for 24 hours will mean the area around the shop, in Wigan Road, Atherton, will become the focus for booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

David Mills, a Wigan-based ambulance paramedic who lives on Wigan Road, told a meeting of Wigan’s licensing committee that the site was next to a children’s park, which was already troubled by problems caused by drunken teenagers causing vandalism and criminal activity.

He said: “The council needs to realise the extent of damage being caused due to alcohol misuse. I find most of our time is now spent dealing with these problems 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“When granting these licences in the first place to a petrol station to sell alcohol, don’t councillors realise the dangerous impact it is having on our social fabric.”

He believes that there would have been greater public outcry in the community if the notice on a window at the existing filling station had been more widely seen.

Another neighbour, Paul Westhead, called for the scheme to be thrown out because of the noise and disruption it would create in a residential area through the evening and early hours.

He said: “We already have the problem of car doors slamming and people shouting during the night.”

Licensing officers had declined to make any recommendation on the application which was eventually approved by majority vote.

They pointed out that a full CCTV system will be installed at the retail premises which will also record continuously and the company will operate a policy of no sales to those who appear to be under 25s without verification.

Snax 24 will also have to take steps, which can be reviewed by the council and GMP, to ensure staff safety.

They will also be told to provide adequate bins to encourage customners to dispose of bottles and cans responsibly.

Atherton Independent Coun Norman Bradbury, who is a member of the licensing committee which took the decision, declined to comment after the meeting.