Every little alcohol sale won't help

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has run roughshod over the wishes of Maida Vale residents and will sell booze at its petrol station Express branch

Susanna Wilkey

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has run roughshod over the wishes of Maida Vale residents and will sell booze at its petrol station Express branch.

Despite its licensing application being refused by Westminster Council, the grocery giant has appealed to the courts and won.

District Judge Roscoe announced his decision this week after a hearing in November and the Tesco/Esso petrol station on Maida Vale is now allowed to sell alcohol.

But there are certain conditions the supermarket must follow, including the installation of a CCTV camera and no special offers or alcoholic promotions.

A member of staff must also be present between 2.30pm and 5pm to supervise traffic and ensure the safety of schoolchildren.

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Celia Gordon from Warrington Crescent said: "I suppose if they have to do it then the restrictions help a bit.

"But it is not really good is it? It is a garage, surely it should be illegal.

"We are not very pleased about the decision at all. Tesco shouldn't be allowed to sell alcohol there considering it is a garage for cars.

"Most of us are very disappointed but what can we do?"

Residents originally objected to the application on the grounds it was inappropriate to sell alcohol at a petrol station and it would create more crime and disorder. They also said it was unnecessary considering there was a Tesco 100 yards away on Clifton Road and others nearby in St John's Wood and Kilburn.

Resident Madeleine Ginsburg, who also lives on Warrington Crescent, added: "There has been a lot of controversy about adolescent drinking because there are schools nearby in Maida Vale - and it is the sale of alcohol in the daytime which worries us.

"I thought the report made by the judge was fair and did take into account our concerns.

"But what I don't understand is why petrol stations can sell alcohol in the first place - it should be illegal.

"We will just have to keep a beady eye on it now. All I can say is that we should watch and make sure Tesco is sticking to the rules.

"There is no law stopping people selling liquor at petrol stations but I think it is wrong. Liquor and petrol stations don't mix."

The judge also said that there should be no increase in deliveries to the store and no sale of super-strength alcohol.

Any increase in street drinking in the local area would also be grounds for a review of the licence.

Maida Vale councillor Lee Rowley said: "We thought the council got it right the first time.

"We agree there are enough places that sell alcohol without getting another one. The important thing now is to make sure Tesco follows the rules that the judge set down.

"It is disappointing that the decision has gone against us. And, although the judge did set down some pretty stringent restrictions which we are grateful for, obviously we would have preferred it to be rejected."

Licensing boss Councillor Audrey Lewis added: "We have seen the judgement but have some concerns and are currently taking legal advice on this matter."