Blackpool’s new Polish shop could be banned from selling alcohol amid fears over area’s crime

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Health statistics show the Talbot ward has the second highest rate of alcohol related crime in Blackpool, is amongst the highest ratio of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the town and is described as “saturated” with off licences

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The site of the new 'Polon' Polish food store which is on Abingdon Street, Blackpool where BrightHouse used to be
The site of the new ‘Polon’ Polish food store which is on Abingdon Street, Blackpool where BrightHouse used to be (Image: Google Street Image)

A new polish food shop in Blackpool that has had more than £100,000 worth of investment may not be able to sell alcohol due to the area’s problems with drink.

The new European fresh food and general convenience store called Polon is located on Abingdon street just between the town centre and the central pier.

After undergoing a full refurbishment from its former life as a BrightHouse store, the shop opened last month and offers a wide range of fresh produce.

Located within a shopping area, the outlet is aimed at families who are shopping for European speciality food and quality meats.

The owner has requested permission from Blackpool Council to sell alcohol, for consumption off the premises, from 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday with opening hours from 8am to 10pm Monday to Sunday.

According to council documents, the premises falls within an area covered by the Off Licence Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) however, meaning applications for new premises licences or variations go under intense scrutiny.

To persuade the council to depart from its policy, an applicant must demonstrate that their application will not add to the existing cumulative impact in the area.

Despite the store vowing to refuse “customer who appears to be carrying an alcoholic drink in an open vessel “and implementing a minimum purchase of £5.00 of non alcoholic products (not including cigarettes ) before any alcoholic products can be purchased, the application looks to set be refused.

So far four the police, the licensing authority, public health and Blackpool child protection services have urged the council to reject the application.

The whole of Talbot Ward is included in the area which is reportedly “saturated” with off licences and council documents say it is one of the worst affected areas in relation to alcohol related crime and alcohol hospital submissions.

There are currently 23 off licences in the area which make up 12.8% of all off licences in Blackpool and the shop is located around 100 meters from the Co-op store, 25 meters from News and Booze and 50 meters from Home Bargains.

Abingdon Street in Blackpool falls into the Talbot Ward
Abingdon Street in Blackpool falls into the Talbot Ward (Image: Google Street View)

According to documents provided, Blackpool has high levels of alcohol related harm for the size of the population and has widespread deprivation within the Central Wards of the town.

Talbot currently has the second highest rate of alcohol related crime in Blackpool.

Police logs in the last year (25/06/2020 – 25/06/2021) show that there have been 229 recorded incidents on Abingdon Street alone.

According to a representation made by Lancashire Police, “Abingdon Street also has regular rough sleepers and street drinkers that have become verbally abusive to the public on many occasions.

“The police concern is that by allowing another off-licence in this area alcohol is even more available and this would further exasperate the problems already being experienced in this area.”

The Public Health department for Blackpool Council also raised concerns stating that there is “a statistical correlation between Blackpool’s areas of deprivation and hotspots for violent crime, domestic abuse, and criminal damage, all associated with alcohol abuse to some degree.”

The rate of alcohol related crime in Talbot is 65.7 per 1,000 population, over three times higher than the Blackpool average of 18.0 and ten times higher than the Lancashire average of 6.4.

The Public Health body also has concerns that if an alcohol licence is granted it would increase the availability of alcohol in an area which is already experiencing significant levels of alcohol-related harm.

Health statistics show Talbot ward to have amongst the highest ratio of alcohol-re lated hospital admissions in Blackpool.

The alcohol-related admission rate of 279.9 per 100,000 is almost 200% higher than the national average and Blackpool as a whole is 83% higher than the national average.

Ambulance callout rates for overdose, ingestion and poisoning are three times higher than the Blackpool average of 10.3 and almost eight times higher than the Lancashire average of 3.6.

Child Protection Services and the Licensing Authority also had similar concerns acknowledging a correlation between alcohol consumption and the numbers of crimes and health issues in the area.

The application will go before the licensing panel on Friday July 23.