A supermarket has been given permission to "try out" alcohol sales at one of its petrol station shops, despite opposition from a local councillor.

The County Durham Asda store will become an off-licence under a trial by the major chain, councillors heard.

Asda asked Durham County Council's licensing sub-committee to supply alcohol at its convenience and petrol store on Yoden Way, Peterlee between 7am and 11pm every day.

Read more: Asda petrol station in Peterlee wants to sell alcohol

Solicitor Richard Taylor, for Asda, said Covid had changed people's habits towards "little and often shops".

He said: "What Asda is doing is trialling five of its petrol filling stations with alcohol sales to see how that goes, and this is one of those stores.

"The idea is if somebody wants a bottle of wine, a couple of beers to go with their meal, they can nip in. Asda just wants to serve those customers.

"If the trial is successful then you may well see quite a lot more."

He said the shop would have measures including "top notch" CCTV, the Challenge 25 proof of age scheme, a till prompt system, spirits kept behind the counter and no sales of single cans or miniatures which might be linked to "street drinking or young people".

He said Asda had high-quality training, policies and procedures "to ensure that all of its premises operate without any difficulties whatsoever" without any prosecutions or licence reviews.

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Councillor Diane Howarth, ward member for Peterlee East, objected to the request, saying it would antagonise a "huge problem" of alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour in the area.

She added: "Youths frequent convenience stores to hang around until late causing nuisance and intimidation to consumers using them."

She said anti-social behaviour was a problem at Asda's nearby store, with speeding drivers performing "stunts all through the night" in its car park.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Diane Howarth. Picture: Durham County Council.Cllr Diane Howarth. Picture: Durham County Council.

She added: "If granted a licence it will encourage more drinking until late at night.

"Having access to another late-night retailer selling alcohol will only add to the problems surely."

Mr Taylor responded: "The experts on crime and disorder, the police, don't object to this application at all.

"What is the evidence against it? Well, there is nothing."

The committee granted the licence.

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