A CONVENIENCE store’s bid to sell alcohol 24/7 has sparked fears there could be queues of rowdy customers lining the street throughout the night.

The owners of Appans, in Hamstel Road, Southend, told councillors during a licensing hearing they would serve customers on a “two-in, two-out” basis to avoid trouble within the shop.

However, it sparked concerns it could lead to already inebriated people waiting outside in their droves to be let in and potentially causing trouble.

At the hearing, Ino Ratnasingam speaking on behalf of his father, Sinnathurai Ratnasingam, said: “I understand that environmental health made representation but there has been no representation by the public at all.

“All the public that come to the shop support us. They need this. It’s not just about alcohol, it’s about necessities as well.

“Some people work night shifts and they might want to grab something to eat or drink after work.”

In addition the store wants to deliver alcohol and convenience items throughout the night.

Mr Ratnasingam claimed deliveries would help reduce drink driving incidents and staff would be trained not to disturb the public.

The committee heard there would be two staff in the store and the door would automatically lock as it closed allowing staff to admit two people at a time via a remote control key.

Mr Ratnasingam said a panic button would be installed which would automatically alert police of any disturbance.

Paul Pearse, from the council’s environmental protection team, said “I believe the application to vary the hours as proposed is highly likely to cause a public nuisance.

“The area is very quiet at night. There is nothing in the vicinity that is comparable to the proposed application.”

The application was opposed by the council’s licensing authority and environmental health and police, prompting the hearing on Friday.

Licensing officer, Adam Penn, added: “My submission must be as the expert opinion of a licensing officer of 20 years is that this application, if granted, will undermine the licensing objectives and there is no evidence that it won’t, and you must refuse it outright.”

The licensing committee will announce its decision at a later date.

The store currently opens from 7am to midnight Sunday to Wednesday and 7am to 1am Thursday to Saturday.