Yarmouth shop’s 24-hour booze licence bid

AN off-licence’s bid to sell alcohol 24 hours a day sparked a community plagued by street drinkers into action.

Residents living around the Middle Market Road area of Great Yarmouth said drifters with cans of lager regularly kept them awake by shouting, urinating against their walls and throwing cans into their gardens.

So when Nelson Road Food and Wine, in Nelson Road North, applied to extend its alcohol license it was met with fierce opposition.

Residents successfully fought off the 24-hour alcohol application, but could not stop the borough’s licensing committee from extending the shop’s booze hours to 11.59pm every night.

Ron Tillbrook, chairman of Middle Market Road Car Park Residents’ Association, said: “We will give it a try. We will be fair as that’s the way we’re going now, but I’m disappointed.”

The store’s owner had wanted to sell alcohol 24 hours per day Thursday to Sunday, and until 3am for the rest of the week - extending from 11pm and 10pm on Sundays.

And licensing bosses were flooded with objections - including concerns from the police, a petition signed by more than two dozen residents and almost a dozen letters of objection.

Most Read

Mr Tillbrook voiced his fears to Wednesday’s licensing meeting, telling the shop’s owners: “We’ve had problems with anti-social behaviour, mainly through drink, and the people you are going to get into your shop at later hours are the local drunks.”

He added: “Residents work during the day and expect to sleep at night - they don’t want cars pulling up and doors banging.

“Guest houses are losing customers but you want to gain them by fuelling the problem we’ve got?”

Police created a dispersal zone around Middle Market Road last month, and Nelson Road Food and Wine sits right at the edge of it.

Sgt Dan Smith revealed officers have had to move 34 people on since July 2, and there is a real problem with anti-social behaviour in the area.

He told the meeting the people they have moved on recently have mostly been from the Eastern European community.

“We’re talking about a very different demographic than the people who go to the pub,” added Sgt Smith.

“These are street drinkers with cans of lager.”

Shop owner Tania Jeyaseelan, who runs Nelson Road Food and Wine with her husband, defended the plans and said they were “not targeting a particular market”.

She suggested that extending the licensing hours may help the street drinking problem, adding: “Sometimes if you don’t give a sweet to a child they want it more - maybe this will help.”

Chairman of the licensing committee Cllr John Holmes said that making a decision on the application was one of the most difficult the committee had faced.

The shop was granted permission to sell alcohol until 11.59pm every day of the year.

However, borough councillors ordered the owners to install CCTV cameras which show clear images of the shop entrance and alcohol displays, and keep 28 days of footage.

CCTV signs must go up, and footage handed to the police whenever it is requested.

The store must also operate a Challenge 25 policy, be a member of Nightsafe and the community alcohol partnership, and have two staff on duty from 9pm to 11.59pm.