A Post Office on Oxford Road won a licence to sell alcohol after the council’s committee was persuaded the owners would not bring back ‘problems’ to the area.

The application for a premises licence at Norcot Post Office was brought to Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) licensing committee on Tuesday, March 20, after failing to adequately address licensing policy.

Committee members were convinced, however, by the co-owners’ understanding of the licensing objectives and the issues in the area, and their willingness to adapt to suggestions from RBC and TVP.

RBC licensing officer Richard French said while the initial application was not compliant with licensing policy, he was ‘somewhat’ reassured by the businesswomen’s answers.

He said: “My position has softened. Bearing in mind the situation we had in that area, we have to be confident that you will put conditions in place.

“We don’t want to replace one problem with another. We are not anti-business; we just want good businesses.”

Ariana News, across the road, lost its licence after a host of breaches, including employing an illegal worker, selling booze to drunk people and not training any of its staff.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) withdrew its objections before the meeting after the owners agreed a series of conditions recommended by the force.

More than a dozen conditions suggested by TVP and RBC were attached to the licence, including selling no beer or cider stronger than 5.5 per cent and keeping an incident register.

An estimated 19.2 per cent of residents in Norcot binge drink, according to trading standards officer Ian Savill.

The business is owned by mother and daughter Archina Gohil and Mina Wadhia, with Ms Wadhia running the shop.

Ms Wadhia said the shop was looking to expand to become ‘more competitive’ as it currently does not make enough money.

The store will be able to sell alcohol from 8am-10pm, with the applicant initially asking for hours of 8.30-11.30pm.

Councillor Chris Maskell, Mr French and Mr Savill all praised the neighbouring Shell shop for its performance as a licensed business in the 'problem' area. Mr Savill said any new premises in the area must perform similarly to the oil company in meeting licensing objectives.