The owner of a new convenience store has spoken about how hard independent trading is during these tough economic times.
Kalvinder Singh Bhullar yesterday won approval for an alcohol licence for his new Costcutter franchise on Manchester Road, Longroyd Bridge.
Approval came despite concerns from neighbours about the impact of late night alcohol sales.
Mr Bhullar, of Longwood, is investing £250,0000 into the new store opposite the new Kirklees College.
He attended a Licensing Panel before Kirklees councillors at Huddersfield Town Hall and said: “Convenience stores are now facing a lot of challenges and threats of closures because of things like Tesco Express – it has caused a lot of damage to independent trade.
“This store will meet the needs of the children at the college, the teachers and those at evening classes.
“It will get passing trade from traffic down Manchester Road and there is a lay-by for parking.”
He explained that an alcohol licence would make the shop viable as independent traders faced higher costs than national chains.
His agent, Paul Sherratt of Licensing Matters, told councillors: “You will find it difficult to find a person with more experience in independent retail that Mr Bhullar.
“He has more than 30 years experience and no problems whatsoever with licensing.”
Councillors were told staff would be trained at Mr Bhullar’s Leeds store, two workers with 20 years experience would relocate to the Huddersfield branch and CCTV installed.
It would also have a Challenge 25 policy for alcohol sales and automatic age prompts at the till.
Nine residents submitted an identical letter of objection and three attended the meeting.
Mary Larkin said: “I welcome a shop – it’s the alcohol sales I don’t want. It’s such a small area of residents, there’s only 11 houses.
“There are shops in the town centre that sell alcohol, another isn’t needed.”
Ian Clough added: “There’s already problems with parking. I have a permit and can’t park anywhere near my home.”
After a discussion Clrs Mumtaz Hussain, Tony Brice and Mohan Sokhal agreed to grant the alcohol licence.
Neighbours were told they could call for a review if problems arise and Mr Sherratt said Mr Bhullar would be on site to talk about any problems.
The Costcutter will be open from 8am until midnight Monday to Saturday and 11am until 11pm on Sundays.