THE NEW Windsor Aldi store made its case to councillors to be granted a premises license following objections from neighbours.

The discount supermarket applied to open and sell alcohol to be consumed off the premises from 6am until midnight seven days a week.

Last year, members of the Royal Borough Development Management Panel permitted developers to demolish the old garden centre on Dedworth Road for an Aldi store.

At the planning meeting, Aldi proposed opening hours were 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

At a licensing sub-committee on Tuesday, April 20, members heard Aldi applied outside their proposed opening hours to “future proof” the license in the event trading restrictions are relaxed on occasions.

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Seven objectors were against Aldi’s licensing application and triggered the hearing.

Speaking against the plans, Pat Morrish, co-founder of the Cardinal Clinic psychiatric hospital on Oakley Green Road, feared the ‘excessive and unnecessary’ licensing hours will have a negative impact on neighbours and could set a precedent for other supermarket stores.

She added the early morning and late night availability of cheap booze will ‘escalate’ crime in the area.

Mrs Morrish said: “This free availability of liquor from potentially 6am through to midnight will only fuel those with drinking and substance abuse issues and will inevitably lead to increased crime and anti-social behaviour in what is essentially a quiet residential area.”

It was heard this application falls outside the Royal Borough’s framework hours of 9am to 11pm for off-licenses to operate.

Lisa Gilligan, legal representative for Aldi, told councillors Aldi has ‘no intention’ to trade outside their permitted hours and all of their stores have applied for a 6am to midnight license as it will give them ‘flexibility’ to open sooner or close later on occasions.

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She cited the pandemic as an example as Aldi opened an hour early just for key workers and vulnerable people to shop.

Ms Gilligan said: “It isn’t uncommon. It’s not a trick and to get around planning at all.

“In fact, ASDA and Morrisons over the past 12 months have made a significant number of 24-hour applications.

“It’s not like their stores are open 24 hours. Again, it’s future-proofing.”

She added Thames Valley Police did not object to their application.

Members of the sub-committee will make their decision within five working days.