Whitchurch off-licence loses licence to sell alcohol
Shropshire Council’s Licensing Act Sub-Committee has revoked the premises licence for The Local at 30-32 High Street, Whitchurch. This follows a request for a review of the licence by trading standards officers, who are currently undertaking a criminal investigation into recent activities at the premises.
The matters under investigation were put forward to the committee to demonstrate that two of the key objectives of the licensing regime, the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder, were being significantly undermined. West Mercia Police attended the hearing to support the review with their own concerns that the premises had become a focal point for youngsters in the area, leading to concerns from parents and a rise in anti-social behaviour.
The premises licence holder for the store did not attend the hearing, with it appearing that a decision not to engage with the review process had been made.
The committee, having heard the representations from trading standards and the police, made the decision to revoke the licence. The premises licence holder has a right of appeal, which they must exercise within 21 days of receiving notification of the committee’s decision.
Grant Tunnadine, investigations team manager for trading standards and licensing, said:
“We welcome the decision of the Licensing Act Sub-Committee to revoke this licence. The activities that were taking place at the premises not only damage the community but also adversely impact on the health and welfare of individuals, in particular children. The activities also introduce unfair competition for other retailers in the area and damages the viability of legitimate businesses. Our investigation into a range of criminal offences is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage. I can, however, confirm that the premises licence holder is not a potential defendant in the matters under investigation.
“The outcome of this licence review serves as a strong reminder to future licence applicants and existing licence holders that the council will take robust action to ensure the Licensing Act objectives are not undermined.”
Joyce Barrow, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, waste and regulatory services, commented:
“The licence review process is a key tool under the Licensing Act and I am pleased to hear that it is being used to protect children from harm and tackle criminality in relation to licensed premises. It is encouraging to hear that councillors are taking their responsibilities seriously and making the right decisions to protect the health and welfare of children and to protect legitimate businesses in our communities from unfair competition.
“The improved working relationships and co-operation between professional officers across trading standards and licensing are making a real difference to the way in which the Licensing Act is being enforced in Shropshire. This will continue, and be reinforced with the introduction of a significantly revised licensing policy that will be implemented in April 2019.”