South Shields Asda wins 24-hour licence to sell alcohol

Asda, in Coronation Street, South Shields, has won its bid to sell alcohol for 24 hours.
Asda, in Coronation Street, South Shields, has won its bid to sell alcohol for 24 hours.

Supermarket chain Asda has been granted a 24-hour licence to sell alcohol at its store in South Shields.

Bosses at the retail giant asked South Tyneside Council for permission to let customers buy booze for longer hours from its shop in Coronation Street.

The decision has angered campaigner Colin Shevills.

The decision has angered campaigner Colin Shevills.

And the plans have now been given the greenlight after the council’s deadline for objections passed without any ‘relevant representations’ received.

The store’s previous licence conditions restricted its alcohol sales to between 6am – 11pm, although it also already has permission for 24-hour opening.

The move brings it into line with the firm’s superstore at Boldon Colliery, which has a year-round 24-hour alcohol licence.

While the application was being considered, Asda bosses insisted the change would only cover the festive period and would not carry on into the New Year.

However, the plans submitted to South Tyneside Council did not specify a date limit.

The proposal to extend sales was blasted by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, which campaigns for a ban on cheap booze sales and for a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Director Colin Shevills said: “Anything that increases the availability of alcohol is likely to increase the harms that it can cause.

“The widespread availability of cheap alcohol means that the North East already has the highest alcohol-related hospital admission rate in England and initiatives like this only make things worse.

“What we ought to be doing is reducing the number of places selling alcohol and the hours of sale, but the current Licensing Act makes this very difficult.

“We would like to see a review of the Licensing Act in order to place more power in the hands of local communities and councils rather than being at the mercy of the commercial priorities of alcohol retailers.”

In July, the council gave the go-ahead to plans for a 24-hour petrol station on the site of the shop’s current grocery collection site, with a loss of 31 parking spaces.

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service