A supermarket chain has been granted an alcohol licence for its small Irvine store after the tightest of votes, following concerns about over-provision in the town.

Morrisons Daily went before the North Ayrshire Licensing Board on Monday, June 17, looking to get the green light for their store near the Cross in the High Street.

Alex Green was the agent for Morrisons, with Kenny MacInnes the area manager of the chain.

Mr Green said: “We took over the unfortunately failed RS McColl stores in 2022.

“We now have 1,300 convenience stores across the country. We made a huge investment to convert the stores to Morrisons and a six-figure sum was invested in stores to ensure uniformity in what is offered to our loyal customers.

“We have health and beauty products, fresh food, household goods and  groceries. We plan a very small offering of alcohol, which is important to the Morrisons brand, which means people can buy everything in one go. It’s not a large shop but an important one.

“Upstairs we have a compliance base used by our regional team."

They added: “This is a long-standing store with largely older clientele but very loyal. There are six members of staff with 80 years of experience between them. Investment has made the store viable.

“The alcohol area is 6.8 square metres – a very small percentage of the store. It is important to give customers a good choice.

“They can have a bottle of wine with their groceries, instead of having to go to make a trip to Aldi. We have a Challenge 25 policy, which staff were trained on.

“Despite the policy in North Ayrshire, no authorities have raised any concerns. Surely if it was going to have an impact on crime and disorder, the authorities would have objected.”

Morrisons wanted to compete on a level playing field with other national retailers.

There had been one objection from a tenant upstairs but the store said they would make sure patrons did not hang around outside and cause a disturbance.

Home delivery was organised through Just Eat and a small range of alcohol would be on offer including spirits, beer, wine and cider.

Irvine Cllr Christina Larsen said Iceland was just 10 feet away and there were five other premises with alcohol within half a mile.

Tory leader Cameron Inglis proposed not to grant the licence owing to over-provision and this was seconded by Cllr Larsen.

Cllr Donald Reid proposed to grant and Cllr Jean McClung seconded it.

The Board voted to grant it by just four votes to three.