Residents voice concern as Parklands store given licence

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Residents in Parklands say they remain concerned after an alcohol licence was granted for a new convenience store, despite strong opposition.

On Monday members of Chichester District Council’s licencing and gambling acts sub-committee agreed to grant an alcohol licence for the Co-op store, which is to be created at the former Inn on the Green pub, in Oliver Whitby Road, on the Parklands estate.

This was in the face of local claims it would result in increased anti-social behaviour and late-night noise nuisance, with objections from more than 200 residents and businesses.

Councillors decided to allow the sale of alcohol – for consumption off the premises – every day from 8am-11pm.

Hours the store will be allowed to open to the public will be from 6am-11pm daily.

The sub-committee, which heard ‘substantial alterations’ were proposed for the former pub building, agreed to impose a series of conditions, which had previously been agreed in principle between the applicants and Sussex Police.

These included:

n Operation of a ‘challenge 25’ policy under which anyone appearing to be under 25 will be asked for photographic ID to prove their age.

n All staff members engaged in selling alcohol to receive training.

n Installation of CCTV in accordance with Home Office guidelines.

Sub-committee chairman Cllr John Ridd warned at the start of the hearing: “The law of the land does not allow us to judge this application on the basis of need. Nor does it allow us to require the premises to continue as a pub. We have no control over that.”

Solicitor Jon Wallsgrove, representing Southern Counties Co-operatives Ltd, said the general feeling expressed by residents was they did not want a shop to open there at all.

This was not the sub-committee’s decision – it was a commercial decision for the retailer. The sub-committee’s decision was whether a shop should be allowed to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.

Some objectors attended the meeting to express their concerns. Kathy Lang, representing a number of residents, said it was a well- documented fact that the area around Oliver Whitby Road and Sherborne Road had problems with anti-social behaviour.

“Having a shop selling alcohol until 11pm can only serve to worsen these problems,” she added.

Unlike any other shop of its kind in Chichester, this would be the only one with a large public area in front of it where people gathered.

Peter Strong, local resident and owner of the Costcutter store at Parklands, said he welcomed competition, but people were very angry about the idea of 11pm closing.

Anti-social behaviour was a real local problem. “This is not an appropriate area for 11pm closing – I close my shop at 9pm,” he told the sub-committee.

Another resident, Angus Heron, said alcohol consumption by children was on the increase. “It is time to bring the sale of alcohol under stricter control, not make it more readily available,” he declared.

After the meeting Mrs Lang, said: “We are disappointed, but not surprised.”