Residents who live near one of Brighton’s shadiest off licences are relieved after the owners finally shut up shop following the loss of its licence.
International Food and Wine’s licence was originally revoked in December after BRighton and Hove City Council’s licensing panel heard it had been caught selling smuggled booze and fags, out of date food and that its management was evasive and shoddy – but it was allowed to stay open while it appealed the decision at court.
Meanwhile, a fresh application was submitted by a “new owner” – but this was refused after councillors heard that he had previously also been caught selling smuggled alcohol at another off licence and that he hadn’t even read the licence application made in his name.
The appeal was due to be heard earlier this month, but when the applicant didn’t show up at Brighton Magistrates Court, it was dismissed. ANd around the same time, residents saw staff taking away alcohol and cigarettes from the shop, which was then boarded up and apparently abandoned.
Neighbour Kerry Howard said: “The last three weeks since the shop has been closed has seen such a difference, the area outside is cleaner and there have been no disturbances not even at the weekend.
“Luckily for us the police and trading standards were involved and there was proof of their illegal activities.
“It has been dreadful. There was noise late at night from deliveries which they took through the shop and store in a makeshift shelter in the rear court yard. Why the need for nocturnal deliveries?
“There was shouting by customers late at night who have been sitting drinking in the bus shelter right outside the shop. The sound really carries into our little mews so we couldn’t have windows open in the summer.
“Litter, cans and cigarette butts were left outside the shop and our front entrance and our entrance way used as a toilet – nearly every morning we were having to disinfect the area and clean up.”
Cllr Jackie O’Quinn, chair of the licensing panel which refused the latest application said: “We are so pleased that this is a matter which is closed because there were so many issues coming from these premises. It had a historic reputation and a lot of complaints from residents and it had been open until 3am.
“What we are particularly delighted about it that the licence has now been surrendered. Its a residential area and new off licences can’t even go to 11pm in that area.
“A lot of late licenses did go through historically. We are very happy to stand by our licensing policy because I thin we are saturated and I think residents are fed up.”
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