Convenience store secures alcohol licence amid 'malicious' sabotage fears

Northgate Street premises

A premises on Northgate Street in Great Yarmouth is being refurbished into a convenience store. - Credit: Submitted

A convenience store has been granted a licence to sell alcohol - despite "malicious" complaints threatening to derail its bid.

Variety Food Store 199, on Northgate Street in Great Yarmouth, was the subject of a "malicious attack" according to owner Vania Loures.

She claimed at a Great Yarmouth Borough Council licensing sub-committee meeting on January 27 that the 29 objections lodged against her proposal had come not from neighbours but a business owner "scared of competition".

"It has come to my attention that a business owner nearby had a form on his desk and was asking customers to sign it, which I don't think is right on his part", she said.

The objection letters included what meeting chairman Graham Carpenter referred to as "serious and unjustified" allegations.

All were simply template replicas with different signatures at the bottom.


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They suggested another off licence would "increase the crime rate", "encourage children to make the wrong choices" and make the community unsafe for "family and the elderly".

Zoom meeting GYBC

The application was discussed at a Great Yarmouth Borough Council licensing sub-committee on January 27 - Credit: GYBC

One template even included the claim that Ms Loures would be selling illegal cigarettes - which she strongly denied.

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"It's so frustrating. It's a malicious attack," she said.

"People can purchase alcohol anywhere on the street. There's a 24-hour garage a couple of doors down.

"If they don't get alcohol from me, there's plenty of other places to get it.

"There's already three shops and other pubs that sell alcohol on the road."

Ms Loures dismissed the concerns about crime as disingenuous, and gave the example of Gorleston as somewhere with a "large number" of off-licences but "one of the lowest crime rates in the area".

objection letter

One of the repeated objection letters submitted to GYBC regarding the application - Credit: GYBC

objection letter

One of the repeated objection letters submitted to GYBC regarding the application - Credit: GYBC

objection letter

One of the repeated objection letters submitted to GYBC regarding the application - Credit: GYBC

Variety Food Store 199 opened two months ago, and Mr Carpenter pointed out that "no responsible authorities" had objected to Ms Loures bid to sell alcohol from 7am-11pm Monday - Saturday and 8am - 9pm on Sundays.

He said: "Many serious allegations have been made in objections: none of which have been justified by the evidence heard today."

He added that by installing CCTV and operating a proof-of-age policy the applicant had satisfied police conditions, and trading standards had raised no concerns.

"The application is reasonable, and the licence is granted without any further conditions," he concluded. 

Attempts were made to contact competitors for comment but were not successful.

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