Online delivery firm seeks 24-hour drinks licence for Brighton depot

A new express grocery delivery service has applied for a 24-hour licence to sell alcohol from an east Brighton industrial estate.

Quick Commerce is the third company to apply for an alcohol licence for an online or app-based delivery service this year.

In May, Weezy was granted a licence for its base in Newtown Road, Hove, but not for a depot in Trafalgar Street, Brighton.

Getir wanted a 24-hour licence for its base at St Joseph’s Business Park, in St Joseph’s Mews, Hove, but last month councillors granted a licence from 9am to 11pm each day.

Now, Quick Commerce, is looking to join the fray. The directors of the business, which is based in Sevenoaks, Kent, include the Lithuanian venture capitalist Rytis Vitkauskas, who is also a director of online marketplace app Vinted.

The company plans to operate from a unit on the Freshfield Industrial Estate, in Stevenson Road, Brighton.

Sussex Police, Brighton and Hove City Council’s Licensing Department and a neighbour have written to object to the application.

Sussex Police said that the force was concerned about the high risk of proxy sales and rising alcohol-related crime in the centre of Brighton since the government lifted social distancing restrictions.

Police dealt with 2,054 alcohol-related crimes in the centre of Brighton during the pandemic last year, compared with 2,313 in 2019.

A former letter of objection said: “Sussex Police note this premises is requesting to operate and deliver alcohol 24 hours a day which leads to concerns of alcohol being delivered to persons who are already intoxicated, to persons continuing to drink having already been out drinking or to extend drinking at a party.

“This is likely to cause public nuisance to the neighbours of customers purchasing through Quick Commerce Ltd.”

Sussex Police is also concerned about the risk of “proxy sales” with under-18s using a credit or debit card to buy alcohol for delivery.

The council’s licensing department shared similar concerns and said that new off-licence applications were limited to an 11pm closing time outside the centre of Brighton.

A resident objected, saying that the application raised concerns about increased traffic close to Brighton College and Queen’s Park Primary School as well as about crime and disorder.

The resident’s letter, with their details redacted by the council, said: “There are episodes of cars racing on the industrial estate, break-ins in the area, attacks and under-age drinking in the immediate vicinity of Queen’s Park.

“The granting of a 24-hour licence could exacerbate the potential for an increase in crime and disorder.”

Quick Commerce said in its application that alcohol would be delivered to residential and businesses only by delivery riders employed and trained by the company.

Any sale to an open space or a street would be aborted and logged in an incident book – and all riders would receive training in age-restricted sales.

Overnight deliveries between 6pm and 6am would be carried out on foot or by pedal bike, electric bike or other electric vehicle.

A council licensing panel, made up of three councillors, is due to decide the application at a hearing starting at 10am next Wednesday (15 September). The hearing is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

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