Despite concerns about street drinking, controversial plans for an off-licence have been authorized.
Despite claims from ward councillors that it will worsen problems with street drinking and anti-social behavior, plans for a new off licence in Fairfield have been approved.
After the council’s licensing and gaming sub-committee approved the proposals, Easy Go Convenience, at 182 Prescot Road, can now sell alcohol until 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Members did, however, force the proprietors to move the store’s opening hour to later in the morning so that alcohol would not be served while children were walking to school.
The shop had been a “well established family operated business for many years,” according to a spokeswoman for Easy Go’s proprietors.
He went on to say that there were no other shops nearby that sold alcohol, thus there was unlikely to be an overabundance of licensed establishments in the area.
Councillor Liam Robinson, speaking on behalf of the area’s three elected members, said neighbors had complained about the proposals and expressed concerns about anti-social behavior and criminality.
“Youths congregate at Newsham Park nearby, and we have a lot of assisted living facilities in the region, supported living premises for those with alcohol addictions,” he said.
“There is a problem with people staying there looking for alcohol close because such places are dry.”
Street drinking, according to Councillor Robinson, is still a problem in the region, despite a recent extension of a police order prohibiting the activity.
The shop’s spokesperson responded that police data showed no considerably increased level of crime or antisocial behavior, and that the shop’s proprietors had a track record of running reputable enterprises in the city.
“There is nothing in the ward councillors’ statement that challenges or criticizes the premises, the application, or the designated premises supervisor in any manner,” he stated.
After a period of consideration, the subcommittee approved the application.
However, an initial start time of 8 a.m. for alcohol sales was pushed back to 9 a.m. to avoid conflicting with youngsters heading to the nearby Academy of St Francis of Assisi.