Tesco has been refused permission to extend the hours it can sell alcohol at its new store on Churchill Way.
The supermarket giant will open a new Tesco Metro branch in the former Virgin Mega Store at the Capitol Shopping Centre later this month, and was given an alcohol licence in April allowing it to sell booze between 8am and 8pm – despite the store being within the Churchill Way saturation zone.
But a second application requesting a licence to sell drink between 8am and 10pm was submitted to the council earlier this month, and came before Cardiff Council’s sub licensing committee this morning.
Jeremy Bark, representing Tesco, told the committee the supermarket was requesting the two-hour extension after careful consideration, in order to offer customers shopping at that time a full range of products.
He said that despite the store being in a saturation zone, the company did not believe the extended license would exacerbate alcohol related problems in the area because of the extensive training staff would receive about serving either underage or drunk customers. He also argued that the peak times for the night-time economy in Churchill Way was between 2am and 5am – long after the store has stopped selling alcohol and closed.
However, South Wales Police’s licensing officer Tony Bowley said the force was opposed to the new application because it believed the street’s character changed at around 8pm, with large numbers of people coming to the street’s popular gay bars, and extended opening hours could encourage people to “pre-load” on cheaper supermarket alcohol before a night out.
The committee decided to refuse the application, with chairman Ed Bridges saying an extended licence would see Churchill Way’s only off-licence selling alcohol at a time when “revellers” are arriving to start their night out.
He added: “We cannot see how this would do anything other than intensify the problems, and 8pm-10pm is part of the night time economy that [the saturation zone] seeks to control.”
Tesco will still hold its original licence for the new store, allowing it to sell alcohol until 8pm.