Police and council chiefs say off-licence application at Wakefield city centre store will increase anti-social behaviour
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Ward councillors and a business owner have also raised concerns that granting the licence could lead to a further increase in anti social behaviour.
The owner of Orzelek International Foods has applied to Wakefield Council for permission to sell alcohol at the store daily, between 9am and 10pm.
The premises on George Street is within the council’s ‘cumulative impact zone’ – an area identified as being under the most stress from crime, disorder and public nuisance.
The zone was first introduced by Wakefield Council in 2006, in response to concerns there was too much drinking in the city centre.
It means that new applications for an alcohol licence from city centre premises tend to be rejected unless they can demonstrate they will improve the area.
An objection letter from West Yorkshire Police states: “This is already an area with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, where there are a number of similar off-licence premises in close proximity.
“These premises already cause issues in relation to promotion of the licensing objectives and this premises is not seen as anything different or exceptional.
“It is the concern of the police that to grant this application within an area with these restrictions will only add to the problem.”
Paul Dean, a licensing enforcement officer at the council’s anti-social behaviour unit is also against the proposal.
His objection states: “Having another off-licence premises increases the risk of alcohol related problems, and the potential to cause further crime and disorder in that given area.
“The site is an area that regularly comes to the authority’s attention, notably with street drinkers who congregate in and around the area, causing nuisance to the local businesses and residents who live and work in the immediate area.”
Wakefield North ward councillors Betty Rhodes and Margaret Isherwood also object to the application.
A letter from Coun Rhodes states: “My colleagues and I are very much aware of the issues and problems caused by on street drinking resulting in anti-social behaviour in King Street, George Street and surrounding areas.
“Due to the number of licensed premises in this part of the city dealing with the sale of alcohol, I do not support the need for another one.
“I am also aware that businesses to the rear are badly affected by the actions of the users of alcohol there.”
An application submitted on behalf of Orzelek International Foods states that alcohol will not be sold to a customer unless they also spend a minimum of £5 on other items, excluding tobacco.
It says: “Therefore it is inconceivable that street drinkers would source their alcohol from our premises as to do so they would have to spend an additional £5 on non-alcoholic purchases.”
The application states that a CCTV system will be installed and staff will be trained in “responsible alcohol retailing.”
The application also states: “All employees will be vigilant and monitor the area immediately outside the shop.
“They will use their best endeavours to disperse groups of three or more individuals who have been customers of the premises and then appear to be loitering in the above vicinity.
“All staff will report any incidents of crime and/or anti-social behaviour to the police."
A council licensing sub-committee will consider the application at a meeting on Wednesday (December 21).