A supermarket chain took the council to court after being refused a drinks licence for a store in Brighton.
But the court sided with Brighton and Hove City Council and even ordered the supermarket – Sainsbury’s – to pay the council’s legal costs.
Brighton magistrates rejected the supermarket’s appeal yesterday (Tuesday 5 July) over its drinks licence application for its new North Street branch.
The court agreed that another outlet selling alcohol in the area would add to the cumulative impact of licensed premises.
In the appeal, although Sainsbury’s offered to accept more stringent conditions on its licence, the company did not prove that its application would have no negative cumulative impact.
So the council’s decision to refuse, which was in line with the city’s cumulative impact policy, was upheld.
The city council can take into account cumulative impact as part of its licensing policy to limit the availability of alcohol in the city centre.
Councillor Ben Duncan, the council’s cabinet member for communities, equalities and public protection, said: “We are pleased that magistrates have upheld our decision which will strengthen our policy to prevent crime, disorder and public nuisance and protect public safety and children from harm.”
He said that half of 14 to 15-year-olds in Brighton and Hove had reported drinking in the previous week.
And on average 356 children aged 13 to 18 years were treated in hospital in Brighton every year because of alcohol.
Councillor Duncan said: “The magistrates took into account the wider issues of street drinking and what can happen to the alcohol once it leaves the premises, something that licensees have no control over.
“This is a good result because it shows we have a clear policy that works, with strong partnership support. Our policy is there to make sure that we do not add to the numbers of licences where we are already at saturation point.”
Brighton and Hove’s licensing committee is seeking to extend the cumulative impact area to protect more residents and reduce alcohol-related disorder.
Broadly, the additional areas would include Brunswick Town in Hove and the North Laine in Brighton.
The cumulative impact zone allows councillors to take into account the impact of other licensed premises in the area when considering an application for a new licence or variations to existing ones.
The policy says that new licences will not be issued unless there are exceptional grounds for doing so.
The council’s licensing panel turned down the application for Sainsbury’s to sell beers, wines and spirits at 134-138 North Street, Brighton, on Tuesday 21 December last year.
Today the council said that the magistrates were particularly impressed with the police evidence.
Councillor Lizzie Deane, chairman of Brighton and Hove’s licensing committee, and Dr Tom Scanlon, Brighton and Hove’s director of public health, also gave evidence during the case.
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