An application for an alcohol premises licence for a new Portswood Road store, which has received some pushback from residents, will be heard by a council panel on November 16. Image: Google
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‘Sam Store’ will be on the ground floor of a newly-built block of flats ‘The Balbirs’ at 72 Portswood Road, close to the Alma Road junction on the opposite side of the road.
It proposes to sell alcohol between 7am and 11pm Mondays – Saturdays, and on Sundays from 11am until 11pm.
The application has received 30 public opposing comments on the council’s licensing portal, including from Highfield Residents’ Association (HRA) and Portswood ward councillor Katherine Barbour (Green).
Concerns about increased crime and anti-social behaviour, and feelings that the area is already saturated by retail and hospitality outlets, are prevalent amongst objectors.
One resident simply commented: “No need for new store area already rammed with stores of this kind”.
Another pointed out that the site is close to the mosque where adults and children pray, and suggested that an alcohol store could “contribute towards drunken hate crime that has happened several times over the last few years”.
On anti-social behaviour, one said “already young drinkers sit in groups late night drinking”, and suggested that ASB in the area “has increased over the years”. Another said it would be “really bad news for residents with children”, and suggested challenges for youngsters getting to sleep and walking to school alone.
Among other objections, HRA said the proposed number of hours is “excessive” and “inappropriate” to to the store’s location near a nursery and mosque.
Licensing authorities are obliged to focus on four ‘licensing objectives’, which are: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.
The applicant has agreed to various conditions being added to their licence, such as a Challenge 25 policy, staff training, CCTV, and restrictions on the sale of single cans and high strength drinks.