CONCERNS: Avonmouth Store wins alcohol licence
A shop in Avonmouth has won a licence to sell alcohol 24/7, despite the local councillor’s concerns it will attract late-night drinkers to the “quiet” village.
Avonmouth Convenience Store in the village of Avonmouth stocks a wide range of groceries including beer, wine and spirits, and currently opens from 6am to midnight.
Owner Waheed Ahmed applied to keep the mini-supermarket open 24/7 and sell alcohol around the clock, a licensing committee heard.
Mr Ahmed claimed he was having to turn away customers before closing and had received requests to extend his opening hours.
But councillor Don Alexander, who was the only person to object to Mr Ahmed’s application, said he had concerns 24-hour alcohol sales would attract late-night drinkers from outside the area and lead to street drinking.
He said Avomouth village was “quiet” and “quite conservative” and the shop would be the only premises “for quite a long way around” with a 24-hour alcohol licence.
Mr Ahmed’s legal representative, Peter Rosser, said people’s shopping and working habits had changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and retailers needed to adapt their hours to suit.
He held up a petition signed by more than 100 locals in support of Mr Ahmed’s application, but the committee was advised by a licensing officer not to accept any submissions after the official consultation period.
Mr Ahmed said “99.99 per cent” of the community wanted him to open 24/7, which was why he had applied for the extended hours.
“It’s not totally for the money,” he said. “If I want the money I can open another site. This is for the local people.”
He criticised Cllr Alexander for objecting to his application, saying he should be representing the views of local people, some of whom were shift workers.
But the member for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston said he worried that people from outside the area, or punters from the pub opposite, would end up drinking in the bus stop outside the store, or in the park nearby, if alcohol was available 24/7.
“This isn’t an area that has any tradition of night life at all,” Cllr Alexander said. “To have people attracted from outside for drinks or to have people encouraged to consume drinks, I think it would be very difficult to supervise in reality.”
The committee heard Mr Ahmed had spent more than £40,000 on a complete re-fit of the shop since buying it six months ago, and had installed a new CCTV system with 32 cameras and a large screen visible from the counter.
Mr Rosser said: “Staff have excellent vision across the whole store offering very good supervision at all times.
“It’s a large, clean, well laid out and brightly lit store.”
The new licence, which comes with various conditions, was granted by a Bristol City Council licensing committee on Thursday, August 12.
Before Avonmouth Stores can enact its new licence, all staff must be trained in how to safely deal with drunk or under-age customers who become belligerent when refused alcohol sales, the meeting heard.
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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