RESIDENTS in the best kept village of Christleton are protesting at the possibility of their local store becoming an off licence.
The application has been made at Christleton Stores on Village Road in Christleton by Susan and Philip Preece.
They have told licensing officers at Chester City Council they are seeking hours of 6am to 9pm for the shop and 10am to 9pm for off sales at the newsagents and general stores, although this would be the latest the stores would open.
At present it closes at 6pm.
Objections and a petition have poured in from villagers and from Christleton Parish Council.
Village Road resident Mr R Wilcox points out the shop is opposite the village pub and within 30m of a working mens club.
Parking in Christleton already causes "major problems" he claims and is being surveyed by a parking action committee.
He feels that with the government considering action against binge and under age drinking, a licence within 100m of a high school is inappropriate.
Helen Woodward, also of Village Road, says that although Christleton is considered by many to be a pretty and popular village "there is, nevertheless, an increasing problem with unruly and nuisance behaviour by a sizable number of youths".
She believes an off licence would "almost certainly" heighten the problem of drunken behaviour.
At Corner Cottage, Village Road, Suzanne M Brown suggests the police believe that "off licences are a magnet for youths" and there would be a risk of underage sales.
Petitioners say they are concerned about an escalation of youth problems if alcohol is available close to waste ground where they congregate while Mrs A M Emery, also of Village Road, fears that evening off sales will only attract teenagers as residents would go to Sainsbury's or Oddbins which have a wider selection and easier parking.
Residents K F and F Waldie of Village Road fear the offie could attract people from further afield to congregate in the centre of the village which, they say, already has a history of unsocial behaviour.
Similar concerns are raised by Christleton Parish Council.
The police have asked for spirits and high strength beers and ciders to be kept behind the counter and this has already been agreed.
The stores says it intends to sell "a small amount" of wines, beers and spirits and will "probably not" open late.
The approach would be no ID, no alcohol.
CCTV will be installed and they will not put up with people hanging around outside or drinking in the street.
No children will be sold alcohol and staff will be trained.
The application is due to be considered by Chester's Licensing Act sub committee at a meeting on Tuesday January 27 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester.