Fears petrol station booze plans would see thirsty customers walk down A19

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A COUNCIL wants to turn down plans to sell drink at a petrol station over fears people could walk along the A19 to buy booze.

The Shell garage shop at Easington Services, on the road’s northbound carriageway, is applying for permission to offer alcohol around the clock.

But Hawthorn Parish Council has urged Durham County Council’s statutory licensing sub-committee to consider the danger that could be caused as people make their way to and from the shop.

Clerk Chris Bungoni said: “We feel that there is the possibility of people walking onto and along the motorway from neighbouring villages in order to purchase alcohol which is not available locally outside normal shop opening hours.

“The slip road is already dangerous to access and egress and the increased traffic will only increase the danger.”

The parish council said it has also felt the impact of fuel thefts in the area and believes the availability of alcohol will only make the situation worse.

Discussions have already taken place between the police and Shell, leading the firm to amend its application.

The company has agreed its CCTV system will be up to Home Office standards and will keep recordings for at least 28 days.

Officers will also be able to access the equipment and footage will be given as soon as possible.

Lockett, the firm acting as the agent for Shell, declined to comment on the proposals and objections, but has stated in papers the business will operate a Challenge 25 policy, ensure its staff are fully trained and keep a refusals book.

Councillors have been told the applicant has to consider drink-driving issues, along with a host of safety issues, as part of the application.

The shop locks its doors from 11pm and 5am, but continues to sell and take payment through a hatch.

The committee will make a decision at a meeting at 10am on Tuesday in the council chamber at Chester-le-Street Civic Centre, where representatives of Shell and the parish council will make representations.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham