Monday, January 15, 2007

Not Drunk Enough - given green light

I was bitterly disappointed this morning when after very lengthy deliberation, the Licensing Committee did in the end agree to grant a very late license to the thoughtlessly named "Not Drunk Enough" off-licence on Prescot Road.

I spoke at some length on behalf of residents, arguing not against an off-licence altogether, but against the need for it to be open in the middle of the night.

Local people at a recent meeting of the Fairfield Assembly had agreed several key points they wanted me to get over to the committee so I made sure they had the full picture.

We talked about the noise, the traffic, the drunks staggering about, the mess, the broken bottles, selling to children, the anti-social behaviour, all sorts of things.

The only thing they would not let me talk about was the story in the newspaper about the shop giving taxi drivers money to encourage them to bring drunks to their shop to buy more booze. I was not allowed to mention this because no-one had made any representations about this and it was new evidence I could not therefore introduce. I was furious because it was Cllr Marbrow, my opposite number in the LibDems who got himself on the front page of the Liverpool Echo pointing this out to the wider world and so presumably also Cllr Marbrow who did not follow up his glory moment by arranging with concerned residents that they wrote in about this.

If I had known he was not going to bother to get organised we would have made sure it was in the Fairfield Assembly submission but we didnt want to be accused of stealing his thunder, never again.

It makes me so bloody mad, his grandstanding for the cameras and not following it up with action.

Anyway, as we were...

I have been told before that it is very difficult to get an application thrown out so I was not surprised when it was granted but I kept my fingers crossed about the conditions under which it would be allowed to trade.

As of today the license has been granted, (indeed it could already be open now as I type), but as a result of our intervention and campaign it must follow these instructions.

1. It must operate a Challenge 21 policy at all times while it is open - this is because it has been found guilty of selling alcohol to an underage girl already. This means if someone looks to be aged less than 21 they must be asked for ID.

2. CCTV must be installed inside and out, by 12th February, all video film must be kept for 28 days and handed to the police upon request at any time.

3. "Leave quietly" signs must be put up in the shop - this is frankly laughable, what drunk at 3am leaving with a bag full of ale is going to take the blindest bit of notice of that?

4. If at any time problems are caused by the shop being open until 4am, interested parties (residents and their representatives) can ask for a review and this can be changed.

This last point is the only thing that gives me any hope really.

I did ask the owner if he would consider changing the name and he said he would if the committee asked him to, they said that was not part of their recommendations so I asked him if he would do it anyway, for the sake of community relations.

I dont know whether he will.

Watch this space - and if you are a Fairfield resident or the police, or the community wardens or any of the other concerned people worried about this, and you see see it going badly wrong, let me know so we can do something about it!

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