A PETROL station in East Reading has won a licence to sell alcohol non-stop after a two-and-a-half hour hearing.

The application from BP had been met with objections from the RBC licensing team, Thames Valley Police and a local resident, who did not attend the hearing.

The Wokingham Road businesses, BP Weldale Connect, which includes an M&S shop, already opened 24/7 and had a licence to sell alcohol from 8am till 11pm.

It will now be able to sell alcohol around the clock.

Resident Martin George had warned of a potential breach of the peace and wasteful use of police time, but he did not attend the hearing to present his objections.

Furthermore, the police failed to produce evidence of public disorder of crime and nuisance in their written presentation and new evidence from PC Simon Wheeler came too late to be presented at the hearing.

PC Wheeler said: “I am hamstrung by my colleague’s lack of evidence to support the report.”

The application was approved at an occasionally heated licensing sub-committee at the Civic Offices on Thursday, September 6.

Councillor Chris Maskell, vice-chairman of the licensing applications committee and standing chairman, became frustrated with Robert Botkay, BP’s legal representative, saying: "I don't want to get into debates".

Various members of the committee seemed unhappy with the way Mr Botkay answered questions, wanting specific answers in relation to the application to RBC.

Mr Botkay mentioned several times that every other council had agreed to their licensing applications.

He said: “We now operate around 170 licensed BP/M&S petrol stations around the country and all seems to have gone well.”

Cllr Maskell responded: "I'm just asking a question again”, explaining that they were looking for answers in relation to the application presented to RBC, not other councils.

He added: “You have to remember that we are not the licensing experts. We are hear to represent the people of Reading. Could we just relax a bit.”

After conservative councillor Jeanette Skeats raised concern about potential follow through from drunk citizens when employees remotely open the door late at night, Mr Botkay responded that there was no evidence of this happening at any of their stores.

Cllr Skeats said: “I don’t like the way you responded to my statement.”

In a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, the committee almost had a second deliberation as the committee and Mr Botkay argued over semantics and minor details of what area would be covered by CCTV footage.

Despite the tension, the committee approved the licence with conditions including not selling alcohol above 5.5 per cent, except for premium alcohol – to be agreed with RBC officers.