Plans to extend a city centre shop’s opening hours to 4am will go ahead despite concerns over “social issues” and “disharmony.”
An application by Anpalagan Subramaniam to vary the premises licence at the GoLocal store on London Road to open for an additional two hours has been approved by Liverpool Council’s licensing and gambling sub-committee. This was after fears were raised by a ward member over the potential increase in anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Westhead’s concerns about a rise in vulnerable people gathering at the shop late at night for hot food takeaways were dismissed, with licensing agent Ian Rushton explaining this would only amount to a “sausage roll”.
The GoLocal store trades from 7am to 2am, selling alcohol throughout the day. The new plans will now allow Mr Subramaniam’s shop to extend this by a further two hours, as well as the ability to provide hot food and drink until 4am.
A description of the shop included in documents released by the local authority said it was a “well established licensed general convenience store, operating under the popular Go Local branding, selling a wide range of goods such as groceries, soft drinks, cigarettes, magazines, cigarettes, dairy goods, snacks, confectionery, alcohol etc.”
Mr Rushton told a three-person panel at Liverpool Town Hall how it was a “commercial decision” to seek to open until 4am given the “competitive” nature of the area and presented an opportunity to grow the business. The agent also cited how Mr Subramaniam held a licence for a store on Lime Street as well as a nearby shop which held a 24-hour licence.
In her representation, Cllr Westhead said unlike other city centre wards, Brownlow Hill has no developed night time economy and “often attracts vulnerable people wanting to be away from police” in busier areas. She said that extending the opening hours would in effect be an extension of the city centre and would not want to set a “precedent” in the area by allowing later drinking.
Regarding the provision of hot food, Cllr Westhead said she was concerned by this addition, to which Mr Rushton said it would include a coffee machine and options to heat small items, adding, “It is just a sausage roll.”
The Labour member, who said she hoped to see the application rejected, felt the additional two hours would “exacerbate” social issues in the area and create “disharmony” in the community.
In granting the plans, the committee said the business must adhere to strict conditions including the outlaw of certain sales.