TWO filling stations in the district have been granted planning permission to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, despite objections from neighbouring residents.

Bradford Council’s District Licensing Panel this morning granted the alcohol licences for the store at the Shell station on Bingley Road, Saltaire, and for the Spar store at a filling station on Barkerend Road.

There had been 13 objections to the Saltaire plan, by residents claiming the alcohol licence could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour, crime and public nuisance.

But Leo Charalambides, representing Shell, said these concerns were based on “anxiety rather than evidence.”

He said lighting and CCTV on the site would deter crime and anti-social behaviour, and added: “We don’t want crime, we don’t want anti-social behaviour – it is bad for business. And on a social level, it is bad for civil society.”

The panel were told that throughout the country, there had been no licence reviews for Shell run shops, and Mr Charalambides pointed out police had not objected.

He said the business was not a service station, but a “convenience store that sells petrol” and that it was the shop side that was the profitable element of the business.

Councillor Paul Godwin (Lab, Keighley West) said: “Do you not think supplying people at the forecourt will increase the chance of them drink driving?”

Mr Charalambides replied: “No more than a car park at Sainsbury’s would. There has been no link between the sale of alcohol at petrol station forecourts and drink driving.”

Sharon Burkey, speaking on behalf of residents of neighbouring Park Road, said residents had witnessed drug dealing in the station forecourt and that the petrol station had been targeted by fuel thieves 171 in the past three years. She said motorists often run a red light on Park lane when leaving the station.

She added: “It is disingenuous to say there have been no issues here.

“It is a massive forecourt, and there are a lot of people who congregate there playing loud music from their cars.

“We keep telling our MP, Councillors and police about this. We’re not sure what more we can do.”

Mr Charalambides said he felt “concerns have been exaggerated in order to make a point.”

The panel then approved the licence, but told objectors that if the business breaks that licence they could call for a review.

The Barkerend Road application had attracted objections in the form of two petitions, one signed by 32 people and another signed by 37.

One letter included with the petition said: “When alcohol is sold here it would be easier for people to get hold of it. This will have a negative effect as when people get hold of it the number of scandals can increase.”

The other said the plans would cause “chaos and havoc.”

However, at yesterday’s meeting, no objectors turned up.

Robert Botkai, representing applicant Malthurst Retail Ltd, said the company ran over 780 petrol stations across the country, and had 24 hour licences for over 470 of them.

He said: “There are no details of who prepared these petitions, no idea of who said what to who.

“The objections say the number of scandals can increase – we have no idea what these scandals are. It is difficult for you consider these representations when there is no evidence presented to back it up.”

He said the store may not end up selling alcohol 24 hours a day, but the licence would give them the flexibility to do so.

The committee then approved that licence.