CONCERNED locals have joined together to fight plans for a new off-licence.
More than 300 shopkeepers and residents along Sutton Road, Southend, have signed a petition against the granting of the licence which would allow the owner to sell booze from 10am until 11pm seven days a week.
Sunil Patel, who owns an off-licence and shop two doors along from the empty shop, said there are already eight businesses selling alcohol within a mile of the parade.
Mr Patel, who has had the business for 26 years, said another entreprenuer wanted to open a hardware store there.
He said: “Nobody wants it and we don’t need it.
“We haven’t got a hardware store round here and we would appreciate that.”
The petition will be handed to Southend Council before next Wednesday, January 9.
Doreen Crathern, who owns Bizzy Lizzy florist further along the parade, said she was fully in support of the petition.
She said: “There are enough off-licences and in this parade we need something different.”
The parade, near to Jones Memorial Recreation Ground, has a mixture of shops and takeaways which the traders want to keep.
Nick Hickin, co-owner of car parts shop Victory Motor Factor, added: “The parade could do with a different type of shop. It needs something different to help the parade survive.”
People living in Sutton Road and the surrounding area said they feared another place selling alcohol would encourage antisocial behaviour.
Tony Chytry, 58, who lives in Royston Avenue, said residents were fighting to get an alcohol exclusion zone put in around Cluny Square and this would not help.
He said: “We get beer bottles and cans strewn up the road a this is just going to fuel more of it.
“What would be nice is to see things like butchers return - things the community needs.”
Grandmother Karen Brown, 46, who lives in The Mulberrys, is a regular customer of the parade.
She added: “It would be nice to have a bakers or a greengrocers - something that we haven’t got already. Something a bit different would be good.”