Booze plan approved despite Liverpool Council boss concerns

A Liverpool shop’s plan to sell alcohol has been given the go-ahead despite concerns raised by the leader of the city council.

Proposals submitted by Beniamin Florea to add alcohol sales to Paco Market on Prescot Road have been approved by local authority officials. Mr Florea’s business has been awarded permission to provide alcohol daily from 8am to 11pm.

Concerns about the plans had been raised by Cllr Liam Robinson and his colleagues who were worried about alcohol being present around schools and in a “crime and anti-social behaviour hotspot”.

Ian Rushton, licensing agent on behalf of Mr Florea, told a meeting of the city’s licensing and gambling sub-committee at the Cunard Building his client sought to add to the offering at the business which he described as a Romanian convenience store. He said adding alcohol would help “develop” the shop and would account for 12 to 15% of floor space.

Mr Rushton said he did not expect the business to “suddenly change” and had committed to preventing sales over 6.5% abv. The agent said his client had previous experience co-running a shop on Breck Road and had acquired a five-year lease for the business.

It was said it may well go on to sell cigarettes and vapes, but there was “no immediate desire to”.

Cllr Robinson, who submitted a formal objection alongside ward colleagues Cllrs Wendy Simon and Liz Parsons, told the committee concerns had also been raised by a residents association within the community. The Labour councillor said he had met with Mr Florea to discuss the matter and described him as a “committed local business” stressing the objections were not personal.

The council leader said the area around Prescot Road had been identified as a “crime and anti-social behaviour hotspot” which presented challenges, including a large number of children in the area, including schools. He said alcohol sales should be barred before opening times to prevent young people being exposed to it.

Cllr Robinson said his main issues with the application were the potential for street drinking and “gregarious behaviour that can spill over into anti-social behaviour”. He cited the success of a public space protection order preventing the consumption of alcohol in public places.

One objection had been lodged by another business but this was dismissed by Mr Rushton as being commercially motivated.

The committee signed off on proposals subject to conditions.

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