New Aston off-licence ‘won’t benefit residents in any form’

The granting of an alcohol licence to a new off-licence in Aston would not benefit local residents ‘in any way, shape or form’, it has been argued.

Church Road in Aston, where the off-licence would be located (Image: Google)
Church Road in Aston, where the off-licence would be located (Image: Google)

And the issue has also sparked concerns for many of the area’s vulnerable people, with the stark conditions of some hostels in the area laid bare during a licensing meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting to determine whether the Church Road Convenience Store should be granted a licence to serve alcohol until 10pm every day, residents claimed it would not help efforts to support local residents, several of whom already suffer from drug and alcohol issues.

“We are residents actually living in the area, so I believe that we know our neighbours and what we need in our area,” said one resident.

“A second off-licence is not it. It won’t benefit us in any way or form. We’re trying to build a community and I recognise the points being made, but we are actually the people who are living here.

“When this shop is closed at 10pm and people have still got their alcohol, the owner has gone home and we’re left here. He desn’t know what goes on behind closed doors. It’s not beneficial, it’s not sending a positive message to young children.

“We haven’t been pressured or persuaded into this view – we think ourselves for our own community.”

The application received several letters of objection from local residents prior to the hearing, with concerns including the proposed new off-licence’s proximity to a local primary school, YMCA and local hostels, as well as worries around the potential for anti-social behaviour.

A representative for the applicant claimed that many of the objections were immaterial to the licensing objectives, pointing to the fact that no responsible authorities, such as the police, had voiced any concerns.

He also added that most of the hostels in the immediate vicinity were being used by backpackers, not vulnerable people.

However another resident hit back, detailing the appalling conditions that one young girl had to endure while staying at one of the locations.

“It has been said that the hostels are for backpackers – that is not true,” she said.

“I am a councillor in the area and I have personally dealt with many of these young people that suffer with drugs and alcohol. I knew a young lady that was at one of those hostels and was terrified there – it was not a nice place to live in, there was alcohol continually, she ended up getting raped and has now got a baby, and had to be moved out of the area.

“They are definitely not for backpackers.”

A decision on the application is expected within five working days.

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