Alcohol licence granted to Peterborough store in area ‘swamped’ with off-licences

International Food Centre in Lincoln Road
International Food Centre in Lincoln Road

An alcohol licence has been granted to a convenience store in an area already “swamped” with off-licences able to sell booze.

A licence was issued to International Food Centre in Lincoln Road, close to Westgate, after deliberations of more than an hour by Peterborough City Council’s Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee.

This was despite resistance by Brian Gascoyne of MANERP (the Millfield & New England Regeneration Partnership) to the application from store owner Razaq Karim.

Mr Gascoyne said: “I have owned and run seven public houses in the Peterborough area over the years so I know what I am talking about when it comes to alcohol licensing.

“The police in this area of Lincoln Road can often take hours to respond to issues raised, many of which are started or as a direct result of alcohol-induced anti-social behaviour.

“I do not know Mr Karim, nor do I know of his business. My simple concern is that this area is already swamped with late night, early morning premises with alcohol licences and I cannot see the need for yet another.”

Mr Karim was represented by Andy Cave of Hunt & Coombs who pointed out that the shop is on the far eastern end of a series of shops on Lincoln Road which all have equivalent alcohol selling rights.

Requesting the right to sell alcohol from Monday to Sunday between 7am and 11pm, Mr Cave explained to councillors that his client has another premises in Peterborough, and that in four years of trading he has never once had an anti-social incident of any kind reported against him, or the police called to his shop.

Mr Karim had proposed that no alcohol be served from his store in either single items or bulk purchases to help ensure that no loitering and drinking would take place nearby.

Furthermore, all and any purchases of alcohol from his store would have to be accompanied with a purchase of a food stock item, while Mr Karim would purchase two additional rubbish bins for the outside of his store and pay for these to be emptied, reducing the potential for alcohol-based litter on the streets.

Committee member Cllr Steve Allen wanted to know what the economic effect of not granting the licence would have on Mr Karim, to which Mr Cave explained it would have a quite considerable effect on his sales, and that there was the possibility the store would have to close.

Mr Karim’s customers had been asking him for some time why he does not sell alcohol, he added, so it was in response to demand that he made the application in the first place.

The councillors departed the room and deliberated for well over an hour before returning and granting the license to Mr Karim with conditions.

Rob Alexander - Local Democracy Reporting Service