Hastings MP blasts alcohol licence decision

London Convenience Store, 13 London Road, St Leonards.
London Convenience Store, 13 London Road, St Leonards.

The MP has condemned the council for awarding a licence to sell alcohol to a shop on London Road, St Leonards.

Amber Rudd described the decision as a ‘huge misjudgment’ by Hastings Borough Council as it is ‘the last thing’ the area needs.

The authority’s licensing sub-committee approved London Convenience Store’s application in November despite staunch opposition from police and other groups.

“This is a huge misjudgment by the council; the last thing we need is another off-licence in this area,” Ms Rudd said.

“I urge them to reconsider.”

The committee members decided to grant the licence because no factual evidence was provided by the police and the applicant provided a ‘robust schedule’ to achieve their objectives.

Both Ch Insp Paul Phelps and Sgt Christopher Verrand wrote to the committee urging them not to grant permission.

They were concerned about the level of street drinking and anti-social behaviour and believed another off-licence would only worsen the situation.

Resident Philip Oakley brought the issue to Amber Rudd’s attention as he believes the conditions are ‘meaningless’.

“Sadly, against it seems the wishes of most of the community, police and other agencies yet another licence to sell alcohol in St Leonards has been awarded,” he said.

Mr Oakley said there would be little chance of enforcing the conditions and said the decision ‘makes a mockery’ of the council’s saturation zone.

“I would suggest that a review of how this committee operates, who they are and their ability to make decisions, against the advice of professional agencies, salaried officers within the council, and the wishes of the greater community should take place without fail,” he said.

The conditions include staff training, signage, limits on what alcohol it can sell, and no alcohol can be displayed outside the shop.

Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: “Licensing is a strictly controlled, quasi-judicial process, and the law was correctly followed by the licensing committee; no appeal was received as a result of its decision in this case.

“Our licensing officers will continue to monitor the shop, as they do all licenced premises, and will take action if it is felt to be necessary.”

The shop was approached for comment but was closed.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/ 2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hastingsobserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.