Traders join forces against Tesco Express license for Gloucester
TRADERS have joined forces against plans for the new Tesco Express to sell alcohol from 6am.
They said it will lead to a 'rapid recurrence' of drinkers and drug users hanging out in St Mary de Crypt graveyard.
The supermarket giant is forging ahead with work to refit the former JJB store in Southgate Street.
On Thursday Gloucester City council is due to decided whether it will be allowed a licence to sell booze until 11pm daily.
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Manager of Cafe Rene Chris Atine has launched a petition against the application.
It been signed by 23 traders and town crier Alan Myatt who said: "I'm not against Tesco coming into the city but selling alcohol until late at night isn't a good idea.
"It will get abused with people trying to sit outside the pubs and top their drinks up, taking trade away from businesses."
The campaigners also fear the licensing hours would see a return of drug dealing, fighting and urinating in the Southgate Street area.
In their objection, they said: "It took a long and concerted effort by ourselves and police to stop this behaviour and a resurgence of it can only harm the community and reputation of the area."
They are asking for alcohol sales to be limited to 9pm at weekends.
Police had raised concerns about the application, but following discussions with Tesco have not asked for opening hours to be changed.
They have asked for spirits to be behind the counter and other alcohol not within five meters of the entrance.
A police spokesman said they were satisfied these would stop it contributing to crime and anti-social behaviour. He added: "Officers have powers to seize alcohol from people in the area if it contributes to anti-social behaviour and we do this frequently."
"We understand residents' concerns and urge people to get in contact with the local team."
To contact them call 101.