Hanley's new £15m bus station could sell alcohol
A SHOP is hoping to sell alcohol in Hanley’s new £15 million bus station from 6am.
Spar is in talks to move into one of the units at the state-of-the-art transport hub, which is due to open early next year.
A licensing application has been submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which asks for the proposed shop to be open – and alcohol to be sold – between 6am and 11pm, Monday to Sunday.
The move has been labelled as ‘ludicrous’ by one passenger group, who fear selling alcohol at the bus station will lead to problems with anti-social behaviour.
Selwyn Brown, chairman of North Staffordshire transport group Aces, said: “It sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
“You’re going to have this brand new bus station open and groups of people congregating and buying alcohol.
“A new bus station has recently opened in Chorley and the council there have been very careful to select shops that fit in and don’t encourage anti-social behaviour.
“It’s an absolutely ludicrous idea and I don’t think any members of our group would disagree with me on that.”
In its application to the council, Spar says anyone buying alcohol who looks under 25 would be asked for photo ID.
Staff will also be trained on underage alcohol sales and CCTV will be installed at the shop.
Passengers at the current bus station in Hanley had mixed views on the plans.
Peter Morton, aged 39, from who lives in Shelton, said: “I don’t think it’s right that alcohol should be sold at that time anywhere, especially at a bus station.
“You get problems at the bus station now with people who are drunk and pestering passengers for spare change.
“It could lead to graffiti and damage being caused.”
Raymond Keeling, aged 70, who lives in Cheadle, said: “I can’t see it making much of a difference really.
“People will just get alcohol from somewhere else if they want it that much.”
Once the bus station is completed, there will be 22 bays for buses, electronic screens, cafes, kiosks, an indoor waiting area, and a travel centre where people can buy tickets and find out bus timetables.
It is the first phase of Realis Estates’ plans for the £350 million City Sentral shopping centre on the site of the former East West precinct.
Doug Wardle, spokesman for the City Centre Partnership, said: “I don’t have a problem with the shop selling alcohol but I think 6am is too early.
“The licensing committee at the council has the power to restrict the hours which a premises can sell alcohol and I’d say 10am would be a more suitable start time.
“Providing people take the alcohol they buy with them and don’t drink it at the bus station, I don’t see there being a problem.”
Members of the public have until November 26 to make any comments on the licensing application.
The council’s licensing sub-committee will then make a decision on the plans at a later date.