Authorities advise against latest Armley alcohol licence

15 February 2019

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Police, council officers and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves have spoken out against an application to sell alcohol at a popular Armley supermarket, claiming it would “add to the problems” of anti-social behaviour in the area, writes Richard Beecham.

As reported by the Dispatch, Heron Foods has applied for a licence to sell alcohol from its Town Street branch, with the plans set to be discussed at a council committee next month.

But letters sent by West Yorkshire Police, the council’s own licensing authority and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves object to the plans, claiming the area already suffers from alcohol-related anti-social behaviour problems and this would only worsen the issue.

What is the application for?

The shop has applied to sell alcohol from 8am-7pm on Monday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday. It also states there would be a CCTV system in place, as well as staff training and an incident register for anti-social behaviour.

Why is this an issue?

It follows measures introduced by the council to the area in 2016, which aim to limit the number of shops selling alcohol in an attempt to combat anti-social behaviour, such as street drinking. These are known as Cumulative Impact Policies (CIPs).

Other CIPs include Horsforth, Harehills and two parts of Leeds City Centre.

What do the police say?

The letter from West Yorkshire Police states:

“The application provides nothing fundamentally different to what already applies to the licensed premises in this area, which are essentially responsible for the problems of disorder and anti-social behaviour associated within the area of the Armley CIP.

“There is nothing included in this application to dispel the view that the premises will do nothing but add to the problem that already exists on Armley Town Street.”

What about the other objections?

The police’s concerns were mirrored in a letter sent by the council’s own licensing authority.

It stated:

“[We are] of the opinion that your application does not contain sufficient information about how granting your licence would not add to the impact already being experienced in the area.”

MP Rachel Reeves’ letter added:

“There is no doubt that the link between the high number of off-licenses in the Armley Town Street area selling strong alcohol at a cheap price has been the main driving force for why problems due to street drinking has become a chronic problem for local residents.”

She added that no new off-licenses open in Town Street for the foreseeable future.

Local councillors have also objected on similar grounds.

When will the decision be made?

The application will be heard at a Leeds City Council licensing sub-committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26.

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