Alcohol licence approved for former chapel after 'record number' of security cameras installed at new shop

The former Methodist chapel in Thornley, which is now a shopThe former Methodist chapel in Thornley, which is now a shop
The former Methodist chapel in Thornley, which is now a shop
A ‘record number’ of security cameras will be installed at a new shop on the site of a former Methodist chapel.

The proposals had prompted fears of increased ‘crime and disorder’ from some neighbours, but backers argued there was nothing to suggest this would happen and insisted precautions were being taken in any case.

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“To restrict [alcohol sales] hours you would need real evidence, as opposed to a fear of what may happen in the future,” said Robert Botkai, a solicitor acting for the applicant.

He added: “With regards to CCTV, 32 cameras is just about a record number, as far as I’m aware for a store of this size, [but] I can understand the fears of the residents.”

Botkai was speaking at a meeting of Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Planning permission for the former church to be demolished to make way for the shop, which will be part of the Jack’s franchise run by Tesco, were approved in June 2020.

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An application was also submitted to the county council’s licensing department to open and sell alcohol from 7am – 11pm, seven days a week, with Sunday and Bank Holiday hours reduced to 9am – 4pm

Concerns were raised by Thornley Parish Council, others that the shop would ‘create disturbance and lead to antisocial behaviour’.

But after hearing yesterday’s evidence the panel agreed to grant the licence.

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