`

Shop granted alcohol licence despite crime fears

editorial image

An off licence has been granted permission to sell alcohol despite fears it could encourage underage drinking and anti-social behaviour and in the surrounding area.

Kanan Ahmed has been given the go-ahead to run a Baltic Foods store on Manygates Lane in Sandal by Wakefield Council.

His application had received a strong objection from local resident Graham Kirwin, who claimed that the presence of another off licence, along with five already in the area, would attract large groups of youths.

In his submission to the council, Mr Kirwin said: “I am sure West Yorkshire Police would agree that the presence of six licenced premises in such a small area is detrimental. I believe local crime figures will support this argument.

“I have been a victim of a violent attack by a gang of youths in the immediate area and I have no doubt that the assault was fuelled by alcohol; were alcohol not so easily available at so  many premises and readily available late in the evening in the immediate area, this crime would very likely not have occurred.

“Granting a sixth licence to sell alcohol will only seek to encourage more anti social behaviours, including the urinating in public at the entrance to the deprived and undeveloped Woodlands Village.”

But these claims were disputed by licensing consultant Nick Semper, who was representing Mr Ahmed.

Mr Semper said the application met the strict criteria off-licences have to adhere to.

He said that figures for the Manygates Lane area showed there was no major issue with crime.

Mr Semper said: “What is immediately apparent is that although there is some crime, the crime does not seem excessive for a city suburb.

“But even if there were to be a particular problem, there is no causal link between these premises and this applicant in any event. Because this is a new application Mr Ahmed cannot be held responsible for anything that went on in the past. ”

Councillors allowed the shop to trade between 7am and 11pm every day, but attached several additional conditions.

All staff members must be trained in challenging underage drinkers and the shop cannot sell single cans of any drink which is at least 6.5 per cent alcohol.

Explaining the council’s decision, senior legal adviser Paul Jaques said: “The police have no concerns with this application. Neither do Environmental Health.

“Mr Kirwin’s representations included reference to a number of already running establishments selling alcohol. Whether there is any further need for another shop selling is not relevant here.”

David Spereall , Local Democracy Reporting Service