Manchester

Didsbury 24-hour alcohol licence 'could attract prostitutes'

Shell garage on Wilmslow Road Image copyright Google
Image caption Concerned residents opposed the plans, predicting a 24-hour alcohol licence would lead to more anti-social behaviour

A petrol station has been denied a 24-hour alcohol licence after Didsbury residents complained it could attract "prostitutes and drug dealers".

About 70 residents opposed the plans for the Shell garage on Wilmslow Road on grounds of anti-social behaviour, litter and noise.

Owners Motor Fuel Group (MFG) argued residents were being overly fearful.

But the licensing committee said their concerns were valid and refused the extension.

Didsbury is one of the most affluent suburbs of Manchester with some of the city's most expensive properties.

Councillor James Wilson said an all-night alcohol licence would have "changed the dynamic of the village" and that late-night drinking was already a problem.

"It would be an easy place for intoxicated people leaving pubs to buy more alcohol," he said.

'Overly fearful'

Greater Manchester Police also objected to the plans saying the licence could draw drunk people to the area, disturbing people who live nearby.

West Didsbury councillor John Leech added that the plans had attracted huge opposition from locals.

MFG's solicitor suggested that some residents were being overly fearful arguing that, in other places, many residents' fears had not come to pass.

"People do have a fear of the unknown," he said. "One resident is saying that granting this licence will result in drug taking, prostitution, fights."

He argued that hundreds of petrol stations operate all-night alcohol licences without a problem including Chorlton and Ardwick.

But the panel backed residents, councillors and police saying the licence would have a negative impact on people living in Didsbury.

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