Wisbech supermarket told it can open earlier to serve alcohol and no longer required to put ‘no loitering’ sign in the shop

Changes have been agreed for sale of alcohol at Nene supermarket in Lynn Road, Wisbech. Picture; GOO

Changes have been agreed for sale of alcohol at Nene supermarket in Lynn Road, Wisbech. Picture; GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech supermarket can now serve alcohol from 8am to 9pm instead of from noon daily and need no longer erect ‘no loitering’ signs and ‘no alcohol served to known street drinkers’.

Changes in the licensing conditions were agreed by the licensing sub committee of Fenland District Council following a request by Nene supermarket owner Hemen Saied.

Nene supermarket was originally refused a drinks licence in November 2016 but the decision was overturned by magistrates the following May with the council ordered to pick up a costs bill of £4,100.

Mr Saied's legal representative Duncan Craig told the hearing that his client recognised the supermarket was in "a challenging area from the perspective of street drinking" and to allay concerns had amended his application from midnight to 9pm.

Mr Craig said the same reasons applied when agreeing to rescind the request to increase the strength of beer sold from 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

The supermarket falls within the cumulative impact area but neither the police nor trading standards objected to the application.

Public health officials at the county council voiced concerns and said they were concerned about Wisbech and increasing the density of premises selling alcohol would exacerbate local issues.

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Joseph Keegan, on behalf of the public health team, said a recent litter survey had found over 1,000 alcohol-related items "and shows the consequences of alcohol misuse in the town".

The committee was told by Councillor Nick Meekins that a nearby garage could sell alcohol 24/7 and it was anomalous for a supermarket shopper to have to go elsewhere to buy alcohol.

Mr Craig said the changes proposed were "both modest and proportionate" and the store would continue to be run responsibly.

He argued that the public health objections were generic and not related to this store but acknowledged that street drinking in Wisbech was a concern but it was of note that the police had not objected to this licensing change.

Parts of the ruling by the committee included the continuing ban on single can sales and they allowed Mr Saied to increase from five to 10 per cent the floor area given over to alcohol sales.

Chairman Mike Humphrey said: "We are reminded that conditions must be reasonable, proportionate and enforceable."