Families' anger after losing campaign to stop off-licence opening in their community
RESIDENTS fighting to stop a shop selling alcohol opening in their neighbourhood have lost their campaign.
Businessmen Santhosh and Sejin Jose have been given the go-ahead to overhaul a former girls' school in Chaplin Road, Normacot.
The duo, who will run the shop with another business partner, Jerry Jose, are planning to spend £25,000 to renovate the vacant unit and open it as St Mary's News.
However, their plans were met with a storm of objections as more than 100 residents signed a petition calling for Stoke-on-Trent City Council to dismiss the proposals over fears the shop could attract anti-social behaviour.
Barrie Harrington, chairman of Normacot Residents' Association, told the authority's licensing sub-committee: "We do have problems with anti-social behaviour in the area and I would ask you to really take in to consideration, the feeling of the residents.
"The residents don't want this in their midst."
Fellow campaigner Sajid Parvez, of Normacot, added: "This shop is going to cause us more problems.
"The gangs will be in and out and hanging around it."
But despite the concerns, the plans were approved by members of the authority's licensing sub-committee yesterday.
Once renovated, the convenience store, which will operate under the Premier name, will be allowed to sell alcohol from 6am until 10.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and between 8am and 8pm on Sundays.
Gill Sherratt, of Licensing Matters, who represented the businessmen at yesterday's hearing, said: "The reason for the 6am opening is because it will sell newspapers.
"The applicants are mindful of the local community with respect the opening hours.
"The shop will be gutted and totally new, making it modern and brightly lit."