Drink delivery operator awaits licensing chiefs’ verdict

A new drink delivery service owner has cut his proposed hours after talks with police and council licensing officials.

Elliott Hale applied for a licence for Go Sip to offer deliveries from 10am to 4am daily from premises at the Knoll Business Centre, in Old Shoreham Road, Hove.

But after talks with Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police, Mr Hale trimmed the proposed delivery hours.

He now hopes for permission to deliver from 10am to 11pm from Sunday to Wednesday and from 10am to 2am from Thursday to Saturday.

At a licensing panel hearing yesterday (Tuesday 21 June), three councillors – Zoe John, Anne Pissaridou and Dee Simson – heard concerns from police and licensing officers about the late-night weekend operation.

Sussex Police licensing officer Claire Abdulkader said that the force was concerned about alcohol deliveries to intoxicated people continuing to drink after a night out or after a party.

Ms Abdulkader also said that delivery drivers would be at risk from potentially abusive behaviour from customers if Go Sip refused them alcohol at the point of delivery.

She said: “The police acknowledge the willingness to be adaptive and reduce hours. Our concerns remain if alcohol is to be delivered off the premises until 2am across the weekend.

“Crime data held for the city shows high levels of violent crime into the early hours of the morning, especially at the weekend.

“Therefore, any additional outlets making alcohol available until 2am could add to existing issues in problem areas.”

Mr Hale’s solicitor, Piers Warne, of TLT, said that the delivery service was “not aimed at the night club crowd”.

He said that customers ordering from Go Sip’s site would be warned that they would not receive their drink if they were intoxicated or could not provide identification.

Councillors were given a sample menu of the product range, focused on local and craft products, and showing that at least two thirds of the beer and wines would be from Sussex.

Mr Warne said: “It is a premium business and that is important. It does support and promote local producers.

“The point was made, is 66 per cent enough? The truth of the matter is if you look at the menus, the level of support for local businesses is much higher.

“But what we didn’t want to do is set a figure that was impossibly high, based on a number plucked out of the air.”

Mr Warne countered police concerns about crime by saying that the business kept people off the streets who might otherwise visit a late-night off-licence if they ran out of wine.

Councillor John said that she was concerned about people dependent on alcohol presenting themselves as sober when their deliveries arrived.

She said: “That is something to take into account. If you are alcohol dependent and a high-functioning alcoholic, you can present yourself as quite sober.”

Mr Warne agreed, adding that the test was about people who were obviously intoxicated.

The panel said that it would make its decision public within five working days.

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