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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

North London council faces pressure to quash hardware store’s plans to start selling alcohol

A North London council is being urged to quash a hardware store’s plans to start selling alcohol at the back of the shop. Both the police and local councillors fear it will add to the area’s existing problems with drunken behaviour and littering.

Amandeep Singh Dhall has applied to Brent Council to add an alcohol licence to One Stop Superstore, a hardware shop on Ealing Road in Wembley (formerly Jalaram Superstores). The application seeks to sell alcohol from 9am to 10pm every day.

The plan has received criticism from both the Metropolitan Police and the ward councillor, Anton Georgiou. They feel that adding a third premises to buy booze on this stretch of Ealing Road will only exacerbate the existing problems with street drinking and antisocial behaviour (ASB).

Cllr Georgiou believes the area already has ‘more than its fair share of issues’ due to the number of venues where people can buy alcohol and is calling for the plan to be thrown out.

He said: “Not only does this part of the ward experience heightened ASB due to the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages, but it also suffers from large amounts of rubbish, namely cans and bottles, littering our streets when consumers do not discard their waste responsibly. This is a huge issue.”

He added: “Another business selling alcoholic beverages has the potential to make this problem much worse. Cumulatively this has a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of local residents, in the overall appearance of the area and dealing with the consequences are a considerable drain on council and police resources.”

The premises already fall within the Wembley Central CIZ (Cumulative Impact Zone) – areas where licences are strictly controlled to limit any problems – which was introduced specifically to help combat crime, street drinking, and antisocial behaviour caused by alcohol sales.

In documents submitted against the application, the police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) suggest that there is an issue with street drinking in the vicinity. Officers believe that alcohol is being purchased from the existing licences along Ealing Road and then drunk elsewhere. They feel that adding another place to buy booze in the area would ‘only increase the existing street drinking and ASB issues’.

Whilst the shop sells hardware products, Mr Dhall wants to be able to supply alcohol to help increase sales. He feels that implementing certain measures will help to ‘tackle the concerns’ raised about the CIZ.

He has suggested a series of conditions be attached to the licence to help mitigate the potential impact on the area. These include installing fully operational CCTV cameras at the entrance always staffed by two fully trained workers after 6pm, and implementing a ‘Challenge 25’ policy.

However, the Brent police licensing team feel that adding another off-licence to the area will have a negative effect. They suggest that even adding strict conditions to the venue ‘won’t eliminate this risk’. Brent Council’s alcohol and entertainment licensing sub-committee will review the application at an upcoming meeting (31 January) when a decision will be made.

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