A CONTROVERSIAL plan for a major supermarket in Winchester to have a late night alcohol license has been approved.

Tesco made an bid to sell alcohol from 7am to 11pm on Monday to Sunday at a new store on the High Street.

The store, in premises previously occupied by River Island, could open as early as December with the creation of 15 to 21 jobs.

A petition against the application, started by Debby Gardiner, owner of city centre health food shop Cupboard of Health, was signed by 230 people and was handed to Winchester City Council prior to the licensing meeting.

There were fears the license hours could result in increased noise and anti-social behaviour.

But on decision day there were only two residents in attendance and only one person registered to speak.

Tesco’s lawyer Jeremy Bark told the licensing sub-committee: “The idea is it allows convenient shopping for those living and working in the area. Alcohol forms a small but important part of that.

“It is a very carefully collected range of drinks to go with people selecting drinks for meals.

“They are going to be buying alcohol as part of a broader shop.”

He said no statutory authorities, including the police, objected to the application and that there would be at least 10 cameras on the shop floor including in the alcohol section.

Addressing fears over anti-social behaviour, he continued: “Our stance is simple – we will not tolerate it.

Chairman Richard Izard said the committee acknowledged the concerns of those worried about possible crime and public disorder but there was no evidence to back up their fears.

He added that if there was a problem the licence could be reviewed.