Richmond parents fear underage kids will buy booze and get rowdy if plans for a corner shop selling alcohol opposite a school go ahead.

Residents fear schoolkids will disturb neighbours if Ham Express is allowed to open on Ashburnham Road.

Manno Singh Chopra has applied to sell booze at the new shop from 8am to 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays and until 10pm on Sundays.

The premises was a Met Police station but was allowed to turn into a shop on appeal in April.

Licensing officer Sumeet Anand told Richmond Council’s licensing sub-committee on Monday (August 22) objectors are “concerned about the late opening of the premises which may result in noise disturbance late into the evenings”.

She said locals were worried about a potential increase in underage drinking and the shop being opposite Grey Court School which they “believe will encourage young people to attempt to buy and consume alcohol around the area”.

She added: “High levels of antisocial behaviour is also a concern as another licensed premises may potentially further add to the current issues.”

In a letter objecting to the plans, Grey Court’s headteacher Chris Rhodes wrote: “This is already an area with high levels of anti-social behaviour and another licenced premises would further add to the issues.”

Another objector said: “The local village area of Ham is becoming noisy and not very peaceful to live in.

"We currently have two off licenses in the same area and we do not need a third.

"This will only increase crime, disorderly behaviour and graffiti on walls.”

He added: “Finally with a school in very close proximity, this is adding to encouraging young children to think consumption of alcohol is ‘cool’ and will add to more underage drinking in the area.”

Lib Dem councillor Penny Frost wrote: “We already have significant problems of anti-social behaviour from groups of young people congregating after school and at weekends and holidays around the school and in the library garden for long periods of time.”

She said there is a “concern that an alcohol licence will make access to alcohol for under-age drinkers far too easy”.

Solicitor Surendra Panchal, speaking on behalf of Ham Express, said Mr Chopra was brought up in the area “so he understands the local people”.

He said: “He has worked very much with the local people during the Covid period in the area so he is very familiar with the area… hence he has decided to run the shop in this area at the moment.” 

He said during term-time there will be a member of staff on the door from 3pm “so that will cause less nuisance”. 

He added: “If he finds somebody making noise, he will politely go and speak to the person and say: ‘Look we have got neighbours, can you calm down.’”

He said there would be a challenge 25 policy and that all staff would be trained and ask for ID before serving booze.