Portobello residents fear alcohol licence for shop will make anti-social behaviour worse

Residents on a Wakefield estate are fighting a newsagent's plans to sell alcohol, as they claim it will make anti-social behaviour in the area worse.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 3:56 pm

Portobello News, in the south of the city, has asked Wakefield Council for permission to sell booze between 6am and 11pm every single day.

But six objections have been submitted against the idea from local residents.

They claim that petty crime and problems with street drinking in the area will be made worse if the shop, on Duke of York Avenue, is granted a licence.

The applicant's representatives insisted that the shop had taken steps to help prevent anti-social behaviour.

A public hearing will take place next Wednesday to decide whether or not the newsagents can sell alcohol.

In a written objection submitted to the council and published in advance of the hearing, Luke Cooper said: "I regularly visit my grandad who lives in the area and we are both concerned about another business potentially selling alcohol.

"There is currently a lot of anti-social behaviour and I feel that granting another license would only increase this."

Another objector, Vanisha Ahir wrote: "Whilst living on this estate for over 30 years I have seen residents unfortunately deteriorate in their own health due to alcoholism and/or drug abuse.

"On many occasions we have seen many residents lose their lives over excessive alcohol consumption, potentially due to the ease of which alcohol is available in the area.

"Adding another off licence will only worsen this issue over time if the availability and ease of access to alcohol increases."

In her objection, Caroline Matthews said that granting a licence would be a "bad influence on the lives and safety" of the community.

She said: "I've lived on Portobello for many years and there is a lot of anti-social behaviour.

"I do not want my grandkids to be influenced by this behaviour, especially when they are proposing to sell it in the early hours of the morning when a lot of kids go to that shop on the way to school."

In his application, shop boss Nadarassa Arunanantham outlined details about how he would promote public safety and the prevention of crime, as any business with an alcohol licence is obliged to do.

A Challenge 25 system to tackle underage drinking would also be in operation, and staff would be fully trained in licensing matters, he said.

He added that a "comprehensive" CCTV system would operate in the shop and that a diary log would be kept of all customers who would be refused alcohol.

In a statement, Mr Arunantham's representatives said: "This is an established local store.

"It would like to provide all products to its existing customers. It has not been selling alcohol and has not contributed any problems if they exist.

"The store has taken number steps to prevent any anti-social behaviour.

"It will continue to promote the good practice in sale of alcohol, beyond the licensing law."

Local Democracy Reporting Service