'˜It Asda be stopped' - South Shields supermarket under fire over plans for 24-hour alcohol licence plans

Retail giant Asda is under fire from alcohol campaigners over a new plan to sell booze around the clock at its South Shields store.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 2:28 pm
Asda in Coronation Street, South Shields

Bosses at the supermarket want to open up its alcohol aisles at all hours – day and night.

They are trying to overturn a restriction at its outlet in Coronation Street, South Shields, which currently sales between 11pm and 6am.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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

Asda has now applied to South Tyneside licensing chiefs to alter the alcohol sales times.

It insists the change would only cover the festive period and would not carry on into the New Year.

South Tyneside Council, the borough’s licensing authority, said there was no date limit contained within Asda’s application.

In July, Asda was given permission to open a 24-hour petrol station at the site, leading to the loss of 31 parking spaces.

But its drinks plan has been rounded on 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.”

A spokesman for Leeds-based Asda said the extension application for South Shields was to cover the forthcoming festive period.

He added: “This is a seasonal trading application only and as far as I know only extends over Christmas.

“It is a small extension around the Christmas time, and gives flexibility around seasonal hours.

“This is something that we do every year, it just means that stores have the availability to extend.”

Comments on the alcohol licence application can be submitted to the council until Wednesday, November 14.

The South Shields shop trades 24-hours-a-day, Monday to Friday, until 10pm on Saturdays, and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

In July, Asda was given permission to open a 24-hour petrol station at the site, leading to the loss of 31 parking spaces.