SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons is stepping up moves to open two new convenience stores – including one branch at the historic Red Deer pub.
The company has plans to open a store on the pub site in Brighton Road, South Croydon, and the other at the former Jessops photographic store in North End in the town centre.
Councillors will hear Morrisons' application for an alcohol licence at each location next week – the clearest signal yet that the chain's plans for both sites are advancing.
The Bradford-based business will not require planning permission for either site, so could effectively set up shop – licensing committee's decision permitting – once negotiations between Morrisons and the Red Deer's owners, Town Centre Inns, have concluded.
Both parties were this week remaining tight-lipped as to when that might be.
A Morrisons spokesman said the company would not be commenting until after the meeting of the licensing sub-committee being held on Thursday (May 9).
Sub-committee members will have a number of objections to the licence before them, including one from Croham ward councillor Michael Neal.
Morrisons is applying for permission to sell alcohol at the South Croydon store from 7am to 11pm every day of the week.
In his objection letter, Cllr Neal highlights local concerns that there a number homes in the area housing vulnerable adults.
He says: "The South Croydon Community Association has raised concerns that these vulnerable adults are able to obtain alcohol early in the morning which may increase the level of nuisance, crime and disorder."
Cllr Neal added that following the opening of Tesco's convenience shop at the nearby former Swan and Sugar-Loaf pub "residents are concerned that further licensed premises allowed to serve alcohol early in the morning will fuel further binge drinking in the area."
Other residents have objected, pointing out there are four shops within 50 to 100 yards of the pub which already sell alcohol.
One adds: "The shops in the area will suffer reduced demand and income as a result and may well be forced to close down, leaving boarded-up shops and making the area further run down."
The application for a licence to sell alcohol in the proposed North End store from 6am to midnight every day will be considered by the licensing sub-committee on Tuesday (May 7).
There is one objection, saying there are already enough shops selling drink in West Croydon and granting the licence would increase drinking in the town centre.