Published: April 27, 2011
Brean off-licence wins controversial bid to sell booze until midnight

A Brean convenience store has this week been given the controversial go-ahead to sell alcohol until midnight despite strong opposition from local residents.

Sedgemoor District Council's Licensing Panel held a meeting in Burnham's Princess Theatre on Wednesday afternoon (April 27th) where councillors considered the proposed extension in opening hours from 10pm to midnight at McColl's in South Road.

They heard from nearby resident Mary Vickers, who said she is concerned that the extra hours will lead to late night disorder and irresponsible drinking, and from David Crank, a solicitor representing McColl's, who defended the plans.

Mrs Vickers said: "This is a completely unnecessary extension in opening hours - the current opening is late enough."

"I fear it will open the floodgates for other retailers to apply for similar opening hours and lead to an increase in irresponsible drinking in Brean. Let's keep this a family-friendly holiday village."

But David Crank, a solicitor representing McColl's, told the meeting: "There is an increased demand from March to late October for a range of goods late at night at this store, including alcohol, which is why we want the extension."

He added: "We've heard the concerns of local residents and spoken to many people in the area. The store's manager is highly experienced and we have internal and external CCTV in place to record any problems. Furthermore, a strict 'challenge 25 policy' is in place where young adults are challenged to provide ID where there is doubt about their age."

"It's been suggested that this store will become a place of resort for alcohol late at night in Brean, but that's not correct as other pubs already sell alcohol to mdnight."

Licensing Panel Chairman Gill Slocombe told the meeting that the application had stoked up lots of interest in the village. "There have been lots of objections and we thank the local people for their interest," she said.

In giving approval to the extension of hours to midnight, the Licensing Panel has also placed a number of conditions on the owner - including enforcement of the 'challenge 25' policy.

Brean Parish Council also expressed concerns for the safety of the community. Barry Hunt, clerk of the council, told "The parish council have, in recent years, given much support to the police regarding unsocial behaviour, drunkenness, vandalism and underage drinking in South Road."

And Brean's Knoll Park Residents Association also objected to the application in the interest of preventing crime and disorder and public safety.


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