CAMPAIGNERS breathed a sigh of relief when a garage’s controversial application to sell alcohol around the clock was thrown out.

Members of Reading Borough Council’s licensing applications sub-committee rejected the request to allow the Texaco petrol station in Oxford Road to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, following a heated three-hour debate.

Battle councillors and the Oxford Road Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) sent out 600 letters to residents canvassing opposition to the bid and 19 official objections were lodged, complaining that extending the license from 6am to 3am to 24-hours-a-day would encourage street drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday last week, Cllr Chris Maskell said: “We have a real problem in the area and the concerns of residents should be taken seriously. Texaco have applied for this three times and have no concern whatsoever for the community - this is an example of a business trying to chip away over the years to achieve its goals.”

But Krisco Services, which runs the service station as a franchise, submitted an 84 signature petition in favour of the proposal and its barrister Roy Light slammed the objections, claiming there was no evidence previous extensions to the licensing hours had an impact on crime.

But committee chairman Cllr Peter Jones and his colleagues eventually refused the application after a tense 30 minute deliberation because of the impact it would have on crime, disorder and public nuisance.

He added: “The applicant has given insufficient evidence to how it will address the objections and concerns of the residents, which were supported by the police.”

Speaking after the meeting, Oxford Road NAG chairwoman Teresa Colliass said she was over the moon about the decision.

She added: “It feels really good. We are so pleased the committee listened to the evidence before them and realised the objections from residents out-weighed the extension.”

Krisco Services declined to comment on the decision, but has the right to appeal.