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Co-op set to be first shop to open on new station area site

The Co-op has stolen a march on its rivals and is set to become the first shop to open in Cambridge’s redeveloped station area.

The company is negotiating for a convenience store on the ground floor of student accommodation in the cb1 scheme where more than 500 Anglia Ruskin University undergraduates will take up residence this autumn.

The site is at the centre of the city’s supermarket wars, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s trading within a stone’s throw of each other at Cambridge Leisure Park and Tesco hoping to open its 13th store in an area further down Hills Road. However, police are concerned about the Co-op’s bid to offer alcohol from the outlet – at the junction of the new station access road and Hills Road – fearing increased anti-social behaviour.

Customers would be able to buy liquor between 7am and 11pm daily if an application is approved by Cambridge City Council on Friday but Pc Peter Sinclair said the shop would be on a major thoroughfare to and from both the city centre and the leisure park.

In a representation to the licensing committee, he said: “It is a well-known fact that the pre-loading of alcohol purchased from supermarkets prior to using night-time venues in the area is a common practice.

“There have also been issues of proxy purchasing and attempts by underage persons to obtain alcohol prior to attending youth events at the leisure site.

“There is also a likelihood that patrons, particularly in the night time, may call into the premises on their way between the areas and are likely to be ‘in drink’, which can also cause issues for staff.

“Therefore any additional outlets for the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises will only add to and exacerbate the pre-existing issues unless additional controls are in place.”

These should include employing a security guard on Friday and Saturday evenings, Pc Sinclair said.

The Co-op has said it will use CCTV and a “challenge 25″ policy of ID checks to stop disorder.

A Co-op spokeswoman said: “We can confirm we are currently in negotiations regarding the acquisition of a site in the new cb1 development on Hills Road, with a view to opening a convenience store.”

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