Petrol station withdraws bid to sell alcohol near to charity centre

The petrol station hoped to sell alcohol between 7am and 10pm.
The petrol station hoped to sell alcohol between 7am and 10pm.

A bid to sell alcohol at a petrol station next to a charity centre supporting men with alcohol and drug abuse issues has been withdrawn.

Applicant Petrogas Group UK Ltd originally applied to Durham County Council for a licence at the Applegreen Plawsworth Service Station, off the A167 near Chester-le-Street.

This included alcohol sales between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Sunday, with a hearing due to take place at Durham County Hall to make a final decision.

However, the application sparked several objections from councillors, Durham Constabulary and council public health officers due to the nearby location of the support centre.

On October 16, the day of the planned hearing, it was revealed the licence bid had been withdrawn by the applicant.

The Fells, operated by charity Changing Lives, supports men with complex social needs back into mainstream society from alcohol misuse, drugs and mental health to violence and theft.

A report, due to be presented to the hearing, said Durham Constabulary had recorded 336 alcohol-related incidents linked to Changing Lives between March 1 2017 and July 16, 2018 which impacted the local community.

Of these cases, it added, alcohol was linked as a “causal factor”.

Police objected to the plans raising concerns about the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.

Durham County Council’s deputy director of public health, Gill O’Neill, also objected to the licence over the potential availability of alcohol to centre users.

A formal statement, submitted before the hearing, added this would “undermine the ethos promoted by the centre and be a constant temptation and threat to an individual’s recovery.”

Agent for the applicant, Licensing Matters, wished to make no comment about the status of the licence application.

A spokesman for Changing Lives, added: “We appreciate the concern of residents and the authorities and are pleased that the licensing application has been withdrawn.”

Caption: Plawsworth Service Station, A167 Northbound, Chester-le-Street

Caption: Durham County Hall

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service