Blackpool town centre off-licence could be blocked over street-drinking fears

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Dr Arif Rajpura warns the proposal “would increase the availability of alcohol in an area….”

 

A view of Blackpool at night
A view of Blackpool at night (Image: Getty)

Health chiefs want to block proposals for a new off-licence in Blackpool town centre because they say there are already enough shops selling booze in the area.

The police are also objecting to an application by Sunil Kumar for a licence to sell alcohol between 10am and 10pm daily from premises on Church Street amid fears it would fuel drunken behaviour.

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A council licensing panel will now be held on Thursday September 23 to consider the proposals.

Documents submitted to the hearing say there are already 18 off licences in Talbot ward including five within a five minute walk of the proposed new store.

In evidence submitted to the panel, Blackpool’s director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura warns the proposal “would increase the availability of alcohol in an area which is already experiencing significant levels of alcohol-related harm.

“This premises is situated in a ward that has one of the highest number of off-licence premises in the whole of Blackpool.”

He adds: “We are aware of the problem of street drinking within the locality in which this premise is located.

“These problems have a negative impact on public safety and the health and wellbeing of the local community.

“The sale of low value/high alcohol products and the potential negative impact of increasing alcohol availability within this locality are not taken into consideration.”

PC Emma Pritchard, of Blackpool police licensing department, says in her submission: “Police concern is that by allowing another off-licence in this area alcohol will become even more available and this would further exacerbate the problems already being experienced in this area.”

But in his application Mr Kumar, who would operate the off-licence within a general convenience store, says staff would be on duty at all times to comply with the licence and prevent crime and disorder.

He says: “I will make sure that all of my employees are trained on their responsibilities when it comes to selling alcohol, especially when it comes to drunkenness and under-age people.”

The application site is within the council’s cumulative impact zone meaning applicants must prove their premises will not have a detrimental affect.