Morrisons in Yate wins 24-hour alcohol licence despite concerns over late-night car meets
YATE'S Morrisons supermarket has won permission to stay open and sell alcohol 24/7, despite fears it will fuel “boy racer” cruise meets in the car park.
The company applied for extended hours to give it the flexibility to open the Station Road branch in the centre of the town late in the run up to Christmas and at other peak shopping times, a licensing committee heard.
But residents whose homes back onto the supermarket said the car park was already a favourite for “boy racers” and that the late-night licence would only encourage them.
Morrisons currently shuts at 10pm and reopens at 6am, but its licence allows it to stay open until midnight.
Its nearest rival Tesco, at the opposite end of the town centre, already has a licence to stay open and sell alcohol 24/7.
Morrisons agent Richard Taylor told a South Gloucestershire Council licensing hearing that the supermarket simply wanted the same flexibility as Tesco, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
“We believe that in the run up to Christmas there will be demand from customers to shop at later hours when they feel most comfortable,” he said.
Mr Taylor said the supermarket needs a special licence to sell hot food and drinks between 11pm and 5am, which is why it had also applied to sell “late-night refreshments”.
“All we’re seeking to do is to make the full product range available when we’re open,” he said.
“So it is purely [for] the sale of coffee and the odd rotisserie chicken if it’s still warm.”
Mr Taylor said the supermarket cafe would remain closed between 11pm and 5am, and that a security guard would be employed when the supermarket was open after midnight.
But a mother who lives just 35m away from the Morrisons petrol station in the car park said one security guard would not be enough to deal with large cruise meets.
Introduced only as “Ruth”, the woman said the last two meets attracted at least 32 cars and that her husband was assaulted when “we tried to move on some boy racers” in the summer.
The availability of food and drink 24/7 would only encourage more big car meets, she said.
“We’re going to get very loud cars going in and out all night potentially, because it’s a great place to meet up if you can go in and get a pasty and a coke,” she said.
The neighbour also expressed fears that the petrol station would be lit all night, and said Morrisons had not addressed her past complaints about light pollution and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Taylor apologised on Morrisons’ behalf and said the organisation would “sort” the lighting problem and its handling of complaints about anti-social behaviour.
But, he added: “Any issues that exist in the car park are nothing whatsoever to do with alcohol sales [by Morrisons] or the sale of coffee or chicken or anything.”
He assured Yate Town Council, which was concerned the licence would allow the supermarket to sell late-night refreshments in the car park, that Morrisons had no such intention.
The committee heard that neither the police nor the council had objected to the supermarket’s application.
The council had not received any complaints about the store in the last 12 months, a licensing officer said.
Members granted the licence on November 27 but imposed conditions requiring Morrisons to employ at least one security guard after midnight and to keep its cafe closed between 11pm and 5am.
They also recommended the supermarket establish a liaison group with residents and the town council to ensure “a clear line of communication”.
The licence does not allow the Morrisons store to change its delivery times or the opening hours of its petrol station or car wash.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service