Muslims oppose Tesco booze bid

Petitions handed in as licence hearing looms

More than 150 people have signed petitions imploring Luton Borough Council to deny the new Tesco Express in Bury Park an alcohol licence.

The bid from the supermarket giant has upset Muslims living in the area, some of whom say they find the idea of alcohol being sold offensive.

Next Tuesday councillors will make a decision on the application, which, if successful, would see the store permitted to sell alcohol from 6am until 11pm every day.

Tesco says its stores sell alcohol as part of a broad range of goods, and that staff receive formal training which is regularly reviewed, including the 'Think 21' scheme, where anyone who looks under 21 is asked for proof of identity when buying alcohol.

But its policies have done little to assuage the concerns of some local residents, who say they are worried the sale of alcohol at the shop could lead to more crime and jeopardise children's safety.

One petition, signed by 120 people, says: "The almost 'slum' conditions of the area overwhelmingly demonstrate the lack of attention that this area is paid.

"And now, rather than support us in realising our wishes, we are subject to a greater and worse step: the sale of alcohol on our doorsteps."

The decision on the application will be made by the council's licensing panel at its meeting on Tuesday, September 30. The meeting takes place at 10am in committee room 3 at Luton Town Hall.