A RESTRICTION should be imposed on the sale of alcohol at a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in exceptional circumstances, according to a county councillor.

John Howson, Liberal Democrat councillor for St Margaret’s division in Oxford, is concerned about the supermarket chain’s plans to open a new convenience store on the ground floor of the Royal Oxford Hotel which has its entrance in Frideswide Square.

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A premises licence application for the sale of alcohol from 7am to 11pm is being submitted to Oxford City Council.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Howson said he was not opposed to the Sainsbury’s Local opening but is asking the council’s licensing panel to consult the police on limiting alcohol sales on ‘exceptional’ match days between rival teams such as Oxford United and Swindon FC.

In 2015 Oxford and Swindon fans clashed in what Mr Howson referred to as the ‘battle of Botley Road’.

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While the teams now play in different divisions the county councillor is keen for the licensing panel to consult police on whether a restriction could be imposed for certain matches or for major demonstrations involving fans or protesters arriving at Oxford station.

He added: “You could restrict the sale of alcohol at Sainsbury’s where it might be a factor in crime or disorder on certain exceptional days.

“I think this condition is perfectly workable and I want the city council to run it past the police - I will be disappointed if it is not added.”

Mr Howson said he did not believe the new supermarket, expected to open in the summer, would lead to an increase in street drinking.

He added: “Other places sell alcohol and the problem hasn’t occurred.”

Oxford Mail:

The county councillor said Sainsbury’s third Local store in close proximity - there are others in St Aldate’s and Magdalen Street - could make it more likely that the chain’s Westgate store will close.

He added: “Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda did not go through so it needs to look for new ways of trading.

Oxford Mail:

“More people are buying on demand rather than relying on a traditional weekly shop and the new Sainsbury’s Local at the hotel will be in an ideal position to serve the Osney Lane Student Castle development.

“The Sainsbury’s at Westgate might have a better chance of surviving if it became more of a discount store to compete with Lidl and Aldi.”

Any objections to the licensing application need to be made by May 10.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said there were no plans to close the Westgate store.