Co-op denied drinks licence for new premises in Brighton shopping street

Councillors have rejected a drinks licence application from the Co-op which wanted to stock alcohol at its new premises in London Road, Brighton.

Neighbours and Sussex Police opposed the application to sell beers, wines and spirits at 65-67 London Road, formerly the Maplin electronics shop.

The shop is in Brighton and Hove City Council’s widespread “special stress area” where there are official concerns about high levels of crime and disorder and public nuisance.

The council’s policy is to refuse applications for new off-licences in the special stress area other than in exceptional circumstances.

A panel of three councillors rejected the Co-op’s application because the retail chain did not show that there were exceptional circumstances.

At a licensing panel hearing on Wednesday 12 August, barrister Edward Elton, for Sussex Police, said that the wider area had problems with alcohol.

And police licensing officer Hannah Staplehurst said that there were 32 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the previous two months at The Level, near by, where officers carried out additional patrols.

At the hearing she said: “Shoplifted alcohol is taken to The Level to be consumed and shared with others.

“Recently, we arrested two drunk 15-year-old girls at The Level for assaulting police officers doing their job on patrol under Operation Safety.”

Richard Arnot, for the Co-op, told the hearing that the retailer was losing 8,000 sq ft of shop space in the area.

He said that the chain’s new-build shop at 119 London Road would be significantly smaller than its former store on the site.

The company does have a licence for this site.

The panel said in a decision letter: “The panel is not satisfied that this application engages the exceptional circumstances proviso in our Statement of Licensing Policy.

“If granted, it will create yet another alcohol outlet in an area with acknowledged issues of crime and disorder and public nuisance, often associated with alcohol.

“Further, the panel does not feel that the extensive additional conditions offered by the applicant would mitigate the problems a new store selling alcohol in the area would create. “

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