Brighton delivery firm awaits drinks licence verdict

A delivery service in Brighton is waiting to hear whether it will be allowed to deliver alcohol until midnight.

Quick Commerce, trading as Zapp, wants to deliver alcohol from 8am until midnight, which is an hour later than Brighton and Hove City Council’s licensing policy usually permits.

The business originally wanted a 24-hour licence to deliver drink and food from the Freshfield Industrial Estate, in Stevenson Road, Brighton.

Sussex Police opposed the application for a 24-hour licence. Instead, the force proposed a compromise, allowing deliveries until midnight.

Council licensing officials objected to the original proposal as well as to the compromise at a licensing panel hearing today (Wednesday 15 September).

The council’s policy sets a closing time of 11pm at the latest, other than in exceptional cases, for new off-licences – a licence for the sale of alcoholic drinks to be consumed off the premises.

Licensing official Donna Lynsdale said that the council was concerned about more alcohol being delivered after 11pm to areas affected by drink-related crime and disorder.

A resident, Martin McManus, also objected to the licence application. He was concerned that sixth form borders at nearby Brighton College would be able to order in drink, even if they were over 18.

Zapp’s solicitor Robert Botkai said that the company would work with the school to ensure pupils could not get their hands on alcohol.

Mr Botkai told the licensing panel, which was made up of three councillors, that late-night deliveries to people’s homes would not lead to more crime or anti-social behaviour in the centre of Brighton and Hove.

He said: “The normal concerns that would apply to an off-licence shop selling between 11pm and 12 midnight simply don’t apply here.

“We’re not going to be having customers going to our premises, perhaps worse for wear, and getting an extra drink.

“This is allowing people the freedom to buy and order for delivery to their home.”

Mr Botkai said that if a licence was granted, he planned to check with police every three months to assess what effect the delivery service was having on crime and anti-social behaviour.

If there were no issues, then Zapp would apply to vary the hours to allow drink to be delivered 24 hours a day.

Zapp’s head of expansion, Nils Howland, said that all its riders were trained and employed on a regular wage, with no zero-hours contracts.

Riders were not incentivised for speedy deliveries, he said, although the company promoted itself as offering groceries within 20 minutes of an order being placed.

During the past four months three firms have applied for a drinks licence for an online or app-based delivery service.

In May, Weezy was granted a licence to deliver until 11pm from its base in Newtown Road, Hove, but not from its 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.

The panel retired to reach a decision which should be made public within five working days.

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