Allowing a petrol station in East Horsley to have a 24-hour alcohol licence could result in it being ‘lit up all night like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, it has been claimed.
Villagers have objected to Shell’s plans to vary its licence to enable it to sell alcoholic drinks all day.
The Guildford Road garage is currently licensed to sell alcohol between 8am and 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 10.30pm on Sunday.
While it already has permission to be open 24 hours a day, the opening hours are actually 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday and 9am to 8pm on Sunday.
Philip Markley, who lives nearby, has written to the borough council, the authority responsible for granting such licences, to share his concerns. “The site would attract post pub drinkers going to parties and workers with lorries and vans seeking late-night and early morning refreshments,” he said.
“The commensurate noise would increase. The site would be lit up all night like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
“Noise and light pollution would ruin residents’ rights to a peaceful life and affect their sleep.”
He said the objections also included safety issues due to the busy nature of the A246.
“The application is completely unacceptable as the effect of approval would be to wipe out all the protections given to residents under the original planning approval,” he said. “In addition, how can it be justified or acceptable to sell alcohol 24/7.
“Having already experienced inebriated and other people entering the forecourt late at night, doing wheelies, revving engines, making noise and shouting, with music blaring, all of which were reported to Guildford Borough Council and the police, when the site was supposed to be closed, how much worse will it be if the site was open 24/7 for alcohol and from 11pm to 5am for sale of ‘refreshments’. ”
In addition to the 24-hour alcohol licence application, the company has requested a late-night licence from 11pm to 5am daily.
Mr Markley said his concerns were not about ‘nimbyism’ and it was the ‘community as a whole saying we don’t want this’.
A spokesman said: “Shell takes its responsibilities regarding the sale of alcohol very seriously. A robust and thorough due diligence process exists to make sure all site staff are trained and can retail alcohol safely and legally.
“We work closely with the police to make sure that the sale of alcohol on our sites is not negatively impacting the local area. We are pleased to confirm that none of the Shell sites has been asked to remove alcohol from sale owing to local issues.
“If it was deemed inappropriate by the police or the local authority to sell alcohol at a location, we would have absolutely no hesitation in removing the product offer from the site.”
Comments about the application can be made to the borough council until Friday September 4.