Outrage over Wolverhampton Aldi store’s bid to extend licensing hours

Plans to extend licensing hours for the sale of alcohol at one of Aldi's flagship Wolverhampton stores has sparked a raft of objections from neighbours.

Aldi wants to wants to be able to open stores for an extra four hours each day from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas
Aldi wants to wants to be able to open stores for an extra four hours each day from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas

The supermarket giant is bidding to extend the opening hours of several of its stores in the Black Country and Staffordshire over the festive period.

A number of neighbours have emailed Wolverhampton Council’s licensing committee to express their concerns regarding the superstore in Mercury Drive, off Stafford Road.

The store’s current opening hours are Monday to Sunday 8am to 11pm and Aldi is seeking an extension from 6am to midnight.

One resident said: “I have read that Aldi in Mercury Drive is wanting to open at 6am and close at midnight. This is ridiculous for all the residents who live nearby – especially the ones who live right opposite the store and the car park.

“The delivery drivers come every night at 2am, 3am, 4am et cetera, making lots of noise and leaving their engines running and their big headlights on, which shine through blinds and blackout curtains.

“It’s a disgrace. Also, I want to know who is responsible for the car park. I have witnessed and have video footage of drug dealing and other crimes on that car park – including indecent exposure,” she added.

“I have sent these to the police and they are looking into this to see who is responsible for the car park/CCTV. Please be aware that this is going on – you have a duty to protect the public.”

Elliot Russell said: “I object to this as the store is open late enough. I have small children and a family that need rest and are already dealing with ignorant parking, loud music and social disturbances from people coming in and out of the store late at night.

“There are taxis with no consideration blocking the road, so any further extension will only add to these problems.”

The Aldi superstore in Mercury Drive, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

Another resident, who didn’t wish to be named, added: “There are shoppers making noise late at night, parking outside my property with loud music playing while my children try to sleep.

“There’s noise from shopping trolleys, cars and traffic. Also, the Aldi lorries make a noise at night due to their late deliveries.”

A further written objection said: “The noise levels and traffic on the estate due to Aldi is bad enough now without longer opening hours – expecially selling alcohol throughout as well.

“There is only one way in and out of the estate and due to more traffic I honestly think there will be more accidents.

“Increased opening hours will mean more deliveries and more blocking of the road.”

Lisa Gilligan, of solicitors Freeths who are acting on behalf of Aldi, has provided licensing bosses with a mediation proposal.

She said: “By way of background, this application is part of a programme of approximately 400 being submitted nationwide where the current premises licences start at 8am.

“This motivation for the application is simply to achieve an operational flexibility moving forward, and permit the store to open earlier on occasions as it has over the last 12 months – particularly at Christmas and to achieve social distancing.

“However, we are keen to avoid the need for future Temporary Events Notice (TEN) applications.

“There is no current intention to permanently change the trading pattern of the store, but we appreciate the concerns raised by interested parties and would therefore wish to suggest the following compromise to the application.

“To amend the hours from 6am-midnight to 7am-11pm. As the current terminal hour on the licence is 11pm, the application would be limited to 7am – 8am only,” she added.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, the local authority must uphold the four licensing objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

The council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee will discuss the application next Wednesday (November 17).

A representative for Aldi and all those who have submitted concerns have been invited to attend the hearing.

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