West Yorkshire Police offer no objection to alcohol licence for Wakefield store Homemart

Police have said they will not oppose a new city centre store's bid to sell alcohol, despite complaints from nearby businesses.

By David Spereall
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 9:35 am
The store opened in November.
The store opened in November.

That came after neighbours Waterstones, Halifax and Shooter's Pool Bar all objected to the idea, citing fears around nuisance drunks in the area having more access to alcohol.

The store's bosses have insisted they will be responsible and will abide by several conditions if they get the licence, which would allow them to sell booze between 8am and 10pm.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The city centre is the subject of a cumulative impact zone, which means the council has to be strongly persuaded that giving out a new alcohol licence will improve the area.

Among them is the pledge that shoppers will have to spend £5 on other items in order to purchase alcohol.

The store has also previously promised to employ security staff and avoid selling beer and cider in single cans.

Now West Yorkshire Police, which normally objects to a premises getting a licence if they feel it will increase the risk of crime, has said they've no problem with Homemart selling alcohol.

In a letter sent to Wakefield Council ahead of a licensing hearing next Tuesday, PC Chris Schofield said: "Considering this application on its own merits, the police on this occasion is satisfied that the application submitted is of an exceptional nature."

Labour councillor Betty Rhodes said she remained opposed to the application.

He added that there is "no evidence" to suggest granting the application would make crime and anti-social behaviour worse.

PC Schofield said police forces in other areas where Homemart trades had been consulted, and had raised no concerns about the business.

But some councillors and neighbouring businesses remain unconvinced.

In her objection to the latest application, Labour councillor for Wakefield North, Betty Rhodes said: "The city centre does not need another off-licence outlet to add to the problems of street drinking and anti-social behaviour already (being) experienced by residents and shoppers.

"This area of Kirkgate is part of a major regeneration plan and it is vital that this behaviour is minimised.

David Cole, from nearby Wool 'n' Stuff Ltd, said: "We have had customers too scared to leave our shop due to the aggressive behaviour of the drunks and the public urination.

"Even though the centre has a restriction on the consumption of alcohol the rule is constantly violated and granting the application would only lead to more problems and more damage to surrounding businesses.

"When you open your shop at 9am on a weekday and see people falling over, arguing, fighting and urinating because they are already drunk, it should give you an idea of the problem the centre already has."

Last week, local councillors voted in favour of retaining Wakefield's cumulative impact zone, which is designed to limit the number of new premises in the city centre selling alcohol.

To obtain an alcohol or late-night food licence, businesses must demonstrate that they can improve the area.

Local Democracy Reporting Service