Alarm over drink sales near M-way

The Windmill Service Station on Preston New Road, Marton Blackpool.
The Windmill Service Station on Preston New Road, Marton Blackpool.
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A PETROL station has been granted permission to sell alcohol to drivers despite concerns about the garage’s proximity to the M55 motorway.

The owners of the Windmill Service Station on Preston New Road, Marton, said there was no evidence to suggest allowing alcohol sales from garages led to drink driving.

But Coun Tony Lee, sitting on a Blackpool Council licensing panel, said he found it “objectionable to sell drink of any description when drivers are just about to join the motorway”.

He added: “People are going to use your outlet on leaving Blackpool.

“It could be something fatal comes from that. This petrol station is 300 yards from the motorway entrance.”

But Robert Botkai, representing Rontec which owns the Windmill Service Station, said nationally there were now around 2,500 petrol stations licensed to serve alcohol, including on major routes such as the A1.

He said: “The fact it is 300 yards from the motorway is irrelevant. There is a 24-hour Tesco on the other side of the road, and people already drive to off-licences.

“There is no link between drink driving and alcohol being sold at a petrol station.”

There was no objection by the police to the application, but Mark Marshall, licensing health and safety manager at the council, objected saying not enough information had been provided ahead of the hearing by the applicant.

To secure an alcohol licence, petrol stations must prove retail is the primary use of the premises.

Mr Botkai said the company was proposing a £50,000 refit of the garage this March and alcohol sales were vital to the success of the premises.

He said: “The margins on fuel are very small and only service stations which have a good convenience store can survive, and alcohol is part of that.”

The panel agreed to grant the licence but attached conditions including that alcohol can only be sold between 7am and 11pm, two staff must be on duty, and sales must be monitored.

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