A NEWSAGENT'S bid to serve late night booze could fuel rowdy and yobbish behaviour, neighbours fear.

Southcote residents have hit out at Martin McColl Ltd's application to sell alcohol in Coronation Square from 6am-11pm seven days a week.

The bid follows the demolition of the former Happy Prospect pub site - now being developed into affordable housing - which previously included covenants preventing shops on the square from supplying alcohol.

But residents point out nearby MSS Food Store has already been granted a license to serve alcohol and Southcote Residents Association chairman John Bowsher, who lives in Southcote Lane, said: "There's no point of having two in the same block. Anti-social behaviour has already dropped since the pub shut so it doesn't make sense encouraging it to start up again."

Pensioner Shirley Dix, from Hatford Road, said: "It would attract lots of youngsters there and the next thing you know they will be drinking on the Green. We don't want trouble round there."

Southcote ward councillor, Pete Ruhemann, is lobbying the council's licensing committee to reduce the hours the store can serve alcohol and said: "I'm concerned this late opening could mean that we would again be seeing large groups of people drinking in the area well into the evening, which residents find intimidating. It should be a much earlier closing time."

But Martins owner Leslie Reynolds stressed it was the parent company that applied for the licence and said the shop would not necessarily serve alcohol until 11pm. He added: "If we catch anybody supplying under age people with alcohol they will be banned."