Wisbech shop that wants an off licence refused after being told town already has too many - and yours is too near park and alcohol treatment centre

Wisbech Park.

Wisbech Park. - Credit: Archant

A grocery store was refused a drinks licence today after hearing criticism of the proposals from police, health officials and trading standards. The application for Euro supermarket at 12 Lynn Road, Wisbech, was rejected at a licensing hearing chaired by Councillor Mark Buckton.

In his ruling he said the premises are within the Wisbech Cumulative Impact Zone which carries a “rebuttable presumption” against new licenses.

He said the applicant, who did not attend the hearing, had produced no evidence to challenge the council’s policy.

Cllr Buckton said the applicant could, of course, challenge the council’s ruling before magistrates.

PC Phil Richardson, on behalf of Cambs Police, said the applicant had not put forward sufficient evidence to counter the cumulative impact policy.

He pointed out that there are three off sales shops within a “mere moment’s” walk of the shop; at 5 Lynn Road, the BP petrol station at Freedom Bridge and another off license at 141 Lynn Road.

“There are also a large number of off sales premises within just a few minutes’ walk from this site,” he said.

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“This venue is also situated close to the Town Park. This area attracts large numbers of street drinkers which puts a mar on something which is dedicated for the townsfolk to use and should be a safe haven for young people.

“The policy is aimed at addressing the public health and community safety issues where the number, type and density of licensed premises are unusually high and serious problems of noise, nuisance and disorder from alcohol misuse can occur outside or some distance away from the premises in question.”

He added: “The number of premises selling alcohol in central Wisbech has been a concern for some time.”

Andrew Fayers of trading standards said the applicant, Shamal Abas Ibrahim, had been involved in the selling of non duty paid alcohol in Rugby.

He said that if the council was to give him a license for the Wisbech shop he would want conditions imposed including an ultra violet light for ease of checking the UK Duty stamp on all spirits.

Kate Parker, on behalf of the county’s public health director Dr Liz Robin, also presented evidence to the hearing.

She noted the shop was only 0.6 miles from the county council’s alcohol treatment centre.

By licensing this store, she said, it would “increase the temptation of users of the service to consume alcohol that are already alcohol dependent and trying to receive help with their addiction”.

She said that in the year ending March 31, 2015, the centre had worked with 316 people who needed “comprehensive structured support to address alcohol misuse in the Fenland area”.

“Out of the 316 a total of 42 had an alcohol problem requiring either a community detox requiring medical supervision or an inpatient stay in hospital.

“The multi agency partnership has been keen to highlight harms from alcohol locally and offer help to people who suffering from alcohol misuse.

“This has resulted in a large number of people seeking help at Inclusions alcohol treatment service. During 2014 the service received 223 referrals but this has increased by 63 per cent during 2015 with 364 people being referred. This increase is far higher than all other areas of the county and highlights the adverse impact alcohol is having on local people.”