COUNCILLORS have ruled that two petrol stations are not petrol stations.
In a national test case, Kirklees Council yesterday decided that garages in Huddersfield and Dewsbury are not garages – and can continue selling alcohol.
West Yorkshire Police had asked councillors to review the licences of the Total petrol stations on Leeds Road in Bradley and Huddersfield Road in Ravensthorpe.
Both business are permitted to sell alcohol 24-hours-a-day.
But officers believe that garages are banned from selling drink under Section 176 of the Licensing Act 2003.
Barrister Oliver Thorn put the case for the police at yesterday’s meeting of the council’s Licensing Panel at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“The aim of Section 176 is to keep people who are driving vehicles as far away from the temptation of purchasing alcohol as possible,” he told councillors.
“Parliament saw fit to limit the sales of alcohol from garage premises to prevent crime.”
Mr Thorn added that the businesses at Bradley and Ravensthorpe were garages.
“An analysis of the cashflow and footfall shows they are garages. That means the businesses are excluded premises,” he said.
Mr Thorn told the three-strong panel that the hearing could have wide implications. “This is a test to see if the police’s view of all garages is correct,” he said.
“The police have their concerns about other premises. Once something has been allowed to develop in the way that it has, any attempt to deal with it has to start somewhere.”
Police carried out three surveys of customers arriving at the petrol stations.
From 2.30pm to 3.30pm on December 6, 2011, officers found 37 drivers buying fuel from the Bradley station, seven motorists using either the shop or the cash machine and two pedestrians going to the convenience store.