Shop secures drinks licence in spite of community petition
CONCERNS have been raised after a south Leamington shop was given a drinks licence, despite opposition from the community - and a letter from the council saying it shouldn’t be.
There were angry scenes outside a meeting on Tuesday at which Orchard Corner Convenience Store in St Margaret’s Road was granted a licence to sell alcohol.
Some 500 people had signed a petition started by the owner of nearby Cheers off licence Surjit Hayer to block the supermarket’s application.
Now Mr Hayer may challenge Warwick District Council, which owns the shops, because the decision appears to contradict a letter from another council official in 2009 stating it “would seek to ensure” the convenience store did not sell alcohol.
Orchard Corner’s new owner Lakhmir Singh Garewal had applied to sell alcohol throughout his opening hours, but reduced this to meet police conditions.
Licensing services manager David Davies ruled Mr Hayer’s petition could not be accepted as it was based “solely on commercial reasons”, but Cllr Penny Bould felt representations showed residents were also concerned about the impact on their neighbourhood.
She said: “We all know that problem drinking and addiction to alcohol is one of the biggest problems we face in our society. There are considerable costs both economically and socially.”
Representing Mr Garewal, Surendra Panchal, a director and trainer at Middlesex-based Personal Licence Courses, said all requirements had been met, with 14 CCTV cameras installed, the owner trained and another member of staff being trained.
Granting the application, a panel of councillors said there had been no objection from authorities.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Panchal said: “We are happy. We will make sure all the licensing objectives are in place, we will serve the community in the right way and we would like to build relations with the community in future.”
But Marleen Kok, who lives above the precinct, feared that while drunken behaviour had fallen since she moved there eight years ago, they might increase.
Mr Davies said the 2003 Licensing Act did not allow for other circumstances governing whether a shop could sell alcohol and Cllr Bould said it might need revising. She added: “I have gathered from talking to people that there are a number of problems with it. It’s a very difficult situation if a community feels it can’t be adequately heard.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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