The courts have upheld tough restrictions on new licensed premises in the centre of Brighton by rejecting an mini market’s appeal against them – despite upholding a similar challenge by Tesco.
On Tuesday, magistrates upheld a decision by Brighton and Hove City Council to refuse permission for a convenience store in West Street to operate as an off licence.
The One Stop Shop in West Street wanted to sell booze from 8am to 11pm – but councillors turned it down as it falls within the city centre’s cumulative impact area (CIA).
This was in stark contrast to another application by Tesco’s St James’s Street store, which was also rejected by the council – but allowed by the same court in April last year.
The apparent double standards were criticised by the chair of the St James’s area local action team Chris Cooke.
He said: “”Whilst I applaud the magistrates sensible decision to uphold the alcohol ban on the premises in West Street, I wish these decisions could be applied consistently throughout the CIA.
St.James’s Street is within the same city centre CIA as West Street, yet quite different rulings are made here and licences have readily been granted. Let’s have some uniformity throught the CIA please.”
But the latest decision was welcomed by Tim Nichols, the council’s head of environmental health and licensing.
He said: “We are pleased that the court has supported the licensing panel’s decision, which was taken after listening to the concerns raised by the police, residents and others.
“The council works closely with the police and other partners to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour and ensure the city centre is safe and welcoming at night for everyone. We were concerned that granting an additional licence in West Street could have a detrimental effect.”
Chief Inspector Simon Nelson, Brighton and Hove operations team, Sussex Police, said: “The number of assaults resulting in injury continues to fall and controlling both the density and approach of licensed businesses in the city centre supports this trend.
“We have to strike a balance in ensuring that the local economy endures, crime and disorder continues to fall as well as acknowledging the significant local alcohol-related health challenges the city faces. Our actions reflect the needs of the community.”
The One Stop Shop’s application also included a proposal to sell late night food from 11pm to 5am.
Last year, Brighton & Hove was granted national Beacon status for managing the night time economy. Ongoing work by the council, police and other partners includes firm enforcement action against any licensed premises causing problems, high profile police patrols, taxi marshals, and a radio system linking licensed premises.
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