Shop could be prohibited from selling alcohol to combat anti-social behaviour

A grocer could be prevented from selling alcohol over fears it could worsen high levels of booze-related crime and anti-social behaviour.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 9:28 am
The Best-in Best store in Railway Road, Leigh

Best-in Best is seeking permission to sell alcohol from 9am to 8pm seven days a week in Leigh town centre where alcohol-linked crime has nearly doubled in three years.

The owners of the Railway Road shop say liquor sales would increase their offer and allow a “well-established local business” to develop. But officers from Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Police are concerned that granting another alcohol licence could bring further disorder.

The number of crimes involving alcohol in the area increased from 68 in 2016 to 128 in 2018, while violent crime with alcohol rose from 42 to 79. But the amount of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour halved in this time, according to documents presented to a licensing meeting this week.

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Council public protection officer Gillian Littlehales wrote: “This application if granted would exacerbate the problems of alcohol-related crime and disorder, including ‘street drinking’, youth related anti-social behaviour, general public nuisance and alcohol related violent crime, already suffered in this area.

“The premises are situated in a densely populated residential area with a high proportion of elderly residents. It is considered that these premises would become a focal point for youths gathering which in turn would increase the potential for further crime and disorder and youth related anti-social behaviour.”

Leigh town centre has been designated a “cumulative impact zone”, which means the number of premises selling alcohol causes serious problems of nuisance or crime and disorder in a particular area. Licensing applications from bars, pubs, nightclubs and off-licences in these zones are refused unless the applicant can prove it will not have an impact.

Ms Littlehales said Best-in Best failed to show they would not add to the cumulative impact being experienced in the town centre.

PC Clive Rigby, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We believe that the granting of this application would adversely affect the promotion of the licensing objectives for the prevention of crime and disorder and the prevention of public nuisance.”

In their premises licence application, bosses of Best-in Best said that the alcohol would be located away from the entrance to the shop near to the counter, and that spirits would be displayed behind the counter.

“This is a well-established local business and the focus of the shop will continue to be as a general convenience store,” says the application.

“The range of goods available for sale is truly extensive and the proposed alcohol sales would just add to this and be a part of the overall business, to allow the shop to develop.”

The application was being considered by Wigan council’s licensing sub-committee this week.