A SUPERMARKET’S plan to sell alcohol from its store in a New Forest village has sparked a flurry of opposition – including from a neighbouring off-licence.

Objectors claim the proposals for the Tesco Express in Poulner go against a covenant in the shop’s lease which prevents different businesses on the small parade from competing with each other.

This is said to include Tesco not selling alcohol and nearby off-licence, Wine Box, not selling food, newspapers or other items in competition with the supermarket giant.

A petition, set up by one of the staff at Wine Box, has attracted more than 150 signatures from residents who are against the proposals.

Members of New Forest District Council licensing sub-committee are due to consider the premises licence application at a meeting on Tuesday, May 4.

An objection submitted on behalf of Wine Box proprietor Ozkan Bulbul by solicitor Philip Day says: “By making this application, Tesco is hardly adopting a “good neighbour” policy and if granted, the likelihood is that Mr Bulbul, restricted as he is with regard to what he can sell, would be unable to compete and would likely fail.

“Were that to happen, any argument about giving local people greater choice would fail and Tesco would be left with a monopoly that it would undoubtedly take advantage of in the longer term.

“Whilst this might not be directly relevant to any of the licensing objectives, it serves to demonstrate the attitude of Tesco towards the community.”

Mr Day adds that there are a number of issues relevant to these objectives, which the committee must consider.

He says the introduction of alcohol sales will “exacerbate” problems with shop-lifting at Tesco, while a “price-war” will lead to cheap alcohol and increase the prospect of anti-social behaviour and nuisance.

Sidar Hatipoglu, who has at worked at Wine Box for six years, told the Daily Echo: “There has been an agreement in place for more than 20 years that other shops along here should not sell alcohol and this included the shop that was there before Tesco.

“I can definitely say the community is not happy about this.

“There is no way we will be able to compete with them. We would not be able to match their prices.”

Tesco is seeking permission for alcohol sales from 6am until midnight, as well as late night refreshment until midnight.

In his objecting letter, Mr Day said: “There is nowhere in Ringwood that we are aware of that is open from that time of the morning to that late at night, selling alcohol.

“That in turn will also no doubt lead to customers who are not local to Poulner and the parade, to travel there at anti-social times of day in order to buy alcohol, again causing nuisance to local residents.”

Resident objections have raised concerns about additional crime and disorder that they feel will occur if the premises licence is approved.

A report to the licensing sub-committee by council officer Christa Ferguson says members must consider the application with regards to the licensing objectives.

These four factors are: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Ms Ferguson says references to the applicant’s leasehold terms in relation to alcohol sales falls outside the scope of the sub-committee.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re always looking for the best ways to serve our customers.

“This application to allow the sale of alcohol in our Poulner Express store has been welcomed by many customers and will allow us to improve our offering for the local community.”