Granting alcohol licence would like ‘pulling pin from grenade’

Concerned residents have warned that allowing a Belle Vale convenience store to sell alcohol “is like pulling the pin from a grenade.”

An application has been lodged with Liverpool Council by Mahesh Priya Sampath Mudiyanselage to secure the right to sell alcohol at his shop at Woodlands Square. The proposal seeks to trade between 7am to 10pm.

However, the plans have been met with apprehension by those in the area who felt it could “heighten the fear” of gangs operating locally.

Currently the shop in Belle Vale operates between 6am and 10pm and according to application documents released ahead of a licensing and gambling sub-committee to be held next week, is described 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, representations have bene made by residents and ward member, Cllr Ruth Bennett.

She said, “As the local councillor, I have been contacted by local residents, when there was alcohol sold previously there was a significant problem with anti-social behaviour.” Cllr Bennett also expressed concern regarding the proximity to a community centre that hosts youth clubs, toddler groups and “other young people’s events”.

One resident said allowing alcohol sales would lead to increased anti-social behaviour. They wrote, “There is already a problem with gangs congregating outside these premises smoking cannabis, throwing alcohol into the mix is like pulling the pin from a grenade. 

“The main thoroughfare from the bus stop on to the estate leads you straight past these premises. It is very intimidating at present and this will only worsen.”

Another expressed fears about “intimidating” gangs lingering in the area, adding, “adding alcohol will only heighten the fear.”

The convenience store is located on a shopping parade with a number of other businesses. In granting any licence, the panel of councillors must be assured the shop will conform with licensing objectives including prevention of crime and disorder, as well as not allowing public nuisance and protecting children from harm.

The application, which was received by city council officers last month, will be considered at Liverpool Town Hall on Thursday, 8 February.

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