A CHARITY which supports men with alcohol and drug abuse problems has said it is pleased an application to sell booze from a nearby petrol station has been withdrawn.

Applicant Petrogas Group UK Ltd applied to Durham County Council for a licence to sell alcohol at the Applegreen Plawsworth Service Station, off the A167 near Chester-le-Street, which is near a support centre operated by Changing Lives.

The application was withdrawn ahead of a hearing at the council following objections from councillors, Durham Police and council public health officers due to the nearby location of the support centre.

The Fells, operated by charity Changing Lives, supports men with complex social needs back into mainstream society from alcohol misuse, drugs and mental health to violence and theft.

A report, due to be presented to the hearing, said police had recorded 336 alcohol-related incidents linked to Changing Lives between March 1 2017 and July 16, 2018.

Police objected to the plans raising concerns about the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.

Durham County Council’s deputy director of public health, Gill O’Neill, also objected to the licence over the potential availability of alcohol to centre users.

A formal statement, submitted before the hearing, added this would “undermine the ethos promoted by the centre and be a constant temptation and threat to an individual’s recovery.”

A spokesman for Changing Lives said: “We appreciate the concern of residents and the authorities and are pleased that the licensing application has been withdrawn.”

Agent for the applicant, Licensing Matters, wished to make no comment about the status of the application.