Gateacre off licence signed off despite historic society fears

Plans to sell alcohol at a former Chinese takeaway in Gateacre have been signed off despite concerns from local people.

After taking out a six-year lease on the former Happy Family takeaway on Grange Lane to transform it into a new convenience store, Antany Jayaseelan Mariyathas lodged a bid to extend the business’ offering to include alcohol sales. This was met with a backlash from residents in the village who expressed fears around anti-social behaviour and crime.

After offering a number of concessions, Liverpool Council’s licensing and gambling sub-committee were satisfied Mr Mariyathas was a suitable trader.

The application, received last month, originally sought consent from the local authority to open up the business from 6am to midnight, seven days a week. Ian Rushton, licensing agent on behalf of the applicant, said he was happy to reduce this by an hour to 11pm.

Mr Rushton added how his client had made a “big investment” into the location and sought to “complete” the convenience service with alcohol sales – which he said would account for no more than 15% of the store. Mr Mariyathas already operates two stores in West Derby and Huyton, trading for the past decade.

The licensing agent said the applicant “wants to deter and prevent any problems” and would not sell any single cans but did seek to provide a selection of stronger beers and ciders.

Prior to the hearing, members of the historic Gateacre Society had made their concerns known to the council. Addressing councillors, Sandra Sandland questioned whether the addition of alcohol sales in the village would enhance the wellbeing and health of residents.

Dawn Styles, society treasurer, said the opening of another convenience store would add to a “saturated” offering locally and residents had worked hard to maintain the “integrity” of the village and “protect its security”. Cllr Kris Brown, who represents the Gateacre ward, said it was a “relatively quiet area” and queried the need for an additional shop.

Mr Rushton said his client “wants to work with residents, he doesn’t want to cause issues.” The agent was also asked to explain what kind of magazines the convenience store would sell, with committee chair, Cllr Christine Banks, querying if any publications would be covered up.

A slightly flushed Mr Rushton said he had not had that discussion with his client but was assured it would be a “usual” offering of lifestyle, sport and regular publications.

The plans were given the green light subject to additional conditions.

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