A HUDDERSFIELD petrol station has been refused an alcohol licence – because it’s a petrol station.
Councillors yesterday decided not to give the Total service station on New Hey Road the right to sell drink.
In a decision which could have national implications, Kirklees Council’s Licensing Panel decided that the Salendine Nook site could not legally have a licence because it is primarily used as a garage.
Pc Richard Woodhead, who objected to the service station’s licence application, told the Examiner he was satisfied with the result.
“The committee has understood licensing law and realised that a premises can’t sell alcohol if its primary use is as a garage,” he said immediately after yesterday’s meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“We’re quite happy with the decision which has been reached.”
Pc Woodhead added that the decision could have an impact on petrol stations which already have a drinks licence.
“Garages that are selling alcohol ought to study their trade mix to make sure they are not breaking the law.
“They need to think about current legislation,” he said.
Watford-based Rontec, which owns all Total garages in the UK, had asked Kirklees for permission to sell alcohol from the Salendine Nook service station 24 hours a day.
West Yorkshire Police objected, pointing out that Section 176 of the Licensing Act 2003 bans the sale of alcohol from “excluded premises”, including sites which are “used primarily as a garage.”
Speaking for Rontec, solicitor Robert Botkai said he had been dealing with this issue since 1994 when only two petrol stations in England and Wales had a licence to sell alcohol.
He told the panel: “There are probably 2,500 petrol stations which now sell alcohol.
“Petrol stations are closing all over the country and they have to find ways to survive. The forecourt sector has to change dramatically.
“Frankly, alcohol is part of the convenience store offer. If you don’t have everything the customer wants under one roof then they take all their custom elsewhere.”