Fears Netherley community could be ‘shattered’ by alcohol sales

Fears have been raised that a community could be “tipped on its head” as permission was granted for a convenience store to sell alcohol in the area for more than a decade.

Liverpool Council’s licensing and gambling sub-committee has given the green light for Mahesh Priya Sampath Mudiyanselage to sell alcohol at his shop at Woodlands Square, Netherley. The applicant has secured terms from 7am to 10pm daily.

Despite this, residents and community leaders have expressed concern at the impact of the change, suggesting the reintroduction of alcohol sales to the area could lead to a “settled” estate becoming “shattered.”

In Documents made public, Mr Mudiyanselage described the business as “a small well-established shop which operates as a general convenience store selling a wide range of goods including magazines, groceries, soft drinks, cigarettes, dairy goods, snacks, confectionery, etc.” While no concerns have been raised by the authority or Merseyside Police, residents were fearful of the impact of new sales, with a previous trader having their licence removed more than a decade ago.

Licensing agent Ian Rushton said the applicant had sought to sell alcohol at the licence to try and make the business more viable and sustainable. He said given there had been queries from customers about potential sales, there was evidently “a market for it.”

The agent said Mr Mudiyanselage was “aware of the fear” of anti-social behaviour based around historical issues and had been left upset by a representation that described potential granting of the licence as “like pulling the pin from a grenade.” Mr Rushton added how his client was also hoping to set up a post office in the vacant unit next door.

Cllr Ruth Bennett, Belle Vale ward member and deputy leader of Liverpool Council, described Woodlands as a “very residential estate” with a nearby community centre used by toddler groups and the elderly. She explained how when a previous alcohol licence had been in place, gangs of youths would congregate around the shopping parade, having moved from areas like Woolton, Wavertree, and Childwall, then would be moved away.

She said without the licence, this hadn’t been the case and granting it could turn it into “another target area in the ward where settled life is disrupted.” The Labour councillor also expressed concern about the use of CCTV cameras, telling the committee it wouldn’t stop offenders, merely identify those responsible.

Cllr Bennett said the estate had been “something of a success story” which politicians and residents didn’t want “tipped on its head.” She added: “It’s a settled community since the alcohol licence was withdrawn.

“We don’t want that to be shattered.”

Community members were also in attendance at the hearing, with one person admitting gangs of youths hanging around the area was “intimidating” and since the presence of alcohol sales had been taken away from the estate, it was a “much nicer place to live,” adding: “We don’t want to go back to the way it was.”

The committee was not satisfied there were sufficient grounds to refuse the application. Chair Cllr Christine Banks said it would be up to how the applicant managed the premises moving forward.


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