At this evening’s meeting of the London Road LAT, the ongoing problems posed by members of the street community drinking super strength alcohol was highlighted as a issue problem for the area.
The LAT was instrumental in bringing a review of the alcohol licence of B&W Store, a shop in York Place, Brighton. It was the first time a review of licence has been brought by Local Action Team.
Along with Philip Wells (chair of the LAT and the Minister at the Calvary Church in Viaduct Road), and Cllr Ian Davey (local ward councillor), I gave evidence to the panel of councillors reviewing the licence. The panel also heard from representatives of Sussex Police, Trading Standards and the licensing authority.
The panel of councillors decided to revoke the licence in spite of an eleventh hour offer by the licensee to stop selling super strength alcohol. This move was regarded as too little too late. The licensee has been selling super strength alcohol for years and years, apparently unconcerned at the harm being done to the street drinkers (one of my primary concerns).
The licensee has 28 days to bring an appeal. In the meantime, B&W Stores can continue to sell alcohol.
The problem has not been resolved by the loss of B&W Store’s alcohol licence. Already another store has been identified which is being irresponsible with the alcohol it stocks and sells, and who it sells to.
Here are three things that I think should happen:
The government must honour its previous commitment to introducing minimum pricing of alcohol. (I have previously blogged about why I support the minimum pricing of alcohol, and also my disappointment that the government has not introduced minimum pricing).
Local government should use its powers to put conditions on licences to restrict the sale of high strength larger.
We as local citizens should make an effort to report drunkenness to the police and any anecdotal evidence we might have of any licensee selling alcohol to anyone who appears drunk. Yesterday I called the police who attended most efficiently with a rowdy and aggressive group of street drinkers outside my office.
I have written an article for this week’s Brighton and Hove Independent about public attitudes towards, and harm done by alcohol. I will post the text of and a link to the article on Friday.