Cromer store wins licence extension

Festive shoppers can buy their Christmas booze a bit earlier in the morning after a north Norfolk supermarket won a change in its licensing hours.

Morrisons at Cromer wanted to extend their license to 6am-11pm daily, replacing the current 8am-11pm on Monday to Saturday and 10am to 10.30pm on Sundays.

The move sparked some local concerns but only one member of the public turned up at yesterday's hearing into the bid.

Steve Wickenden from West Street, who is a cleaner at the store, said there was evidence of strong links between alcohol and social problems, and 'we should be looking at reducing licensing hours not expanding them.'

He felt there were issues over late night drinking in what was a family holiday resort, and that people could get cheap drink at the supermarket before going on to the Buddies bar next door, which had 'social implications.'

Mr Wickenden said he was limited over what he could say because he could face action under employment law for bringing his company into disrepute.

'I am not anti-drink, but need to make people aware of the problems.' he told a licensing hearing at North Norfolk District Council, which granted the extra hours.

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Morrisons agent William Buckenham said the minor change was only for provide more flexibility to open a little earlier at peak times such as just before Christmas and New Year.

'People are queuing up outside the door to get in, and there is a need to open a little earlier,' he added.

Previously the shop opened early at 7am but not serve alcohol where the aisle had to be blocked off.

'People could buy their sprouts but not their wine,' said Mr Buckenham who added that the lack of any official objections showed the authorities had no concerns.

Council licensing manager Chris Cawley said there had initially been objections from 14 residents and the town council, but only four had valid licensing reasons.