Councillor, vet and police chief line up to oppose plans for off licence in High Street

A COUNCILLOR, a vet and a police chief will line up later this month to fight off plans for an off licence in March. Amin Aziz Bashdar of Peterborough wants to convert the former Tilecraft shop at 88 High Street into an off licence but the plan has attra

A COUNCILLOR, a vet and a police chief will line up later this month to fight off plans for an off licence in March.

Amin Aziz Bashdar of Peterborough wants to convert the former Tilecraft shop at 88 High Street into an off licence but the plan has attracted widespread opposition.

Councillor Kit Owen, chairman of Fenland District Council Licensing Committee, happens to live nearby and so has removed himself from the chair to support residents opposed to the off licence.

Cllr Owen says prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm are his reasons for trying to stop the application going ahead.

"As with public nuisance, off-licences are notorious throughout this town of March and the country as a whole for attracting youngsters who may wish to acquire alcohol and thereby acquire it through devious means," he said.

He said it was "highly probable" under age youngsters would be attracted to the off licence and "beg or persuade others to acquire the alcohol and cause unacceptable nuisance during the evenings and nights after acquisition".

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He also said March had plenty of alternative outlets "some of which are already causing problems of offensive and unruly behaviour from customers during the night time economy of the town. An additional outlet as proposed could increasingly add to existing problems."

Mr Bashdar will also face opposition from Inspector Rachel Gourlay, sector commander of March Police, who said the location was in a "crime and anti social behaviour hot spot".

She feared litter, criminal damage and disorder on the streets, noting the "link between alcohol and violence thus there will be more people who could be subject to violent assaults or commit a violent act".

Dr Nick Valley of Amical Veterinary Centre, the neighbouring business, said the council "has no right to give planning permission to a business that will increase the crime, affect the town security and binge drink culture."

Cllr Owen added that his opposition to the March off licence would not affect his ability to adjudge decisions elsewhere "as the decision is ultimately based on evidence not hearsay.

"As a resident I have a right to state my views on an application near to me geographically.

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