Violence fears over planned booze store in Walsall

A planned new booze store has sparked concerns that existing problems with alcohol-fuelled violence in Walsall town centre could get worse.

Shop units in Bridge Street, Walsall. Photo: Google
Shop units in Bridge Street, Walsall. Photo: Google

West Midlands Police has raised concerns about the Leo Shop convenience store potentially opening in an empty unit in Bridge Street and the impact it would have on the area and their resources.

The application, submitted by Gina-Camelia Pirvu, will be heard by Walsall Council’s licensing sub committee on June 6.

Members will be told the applicant has already set out a number of conditions to ensure the new store would operate correctly and keep people safe from harm.

This includes one which states alcohol will only be on sale between 2pm and 6pm and will be kept within a secure cabinet with no self-service available to customers.

But the premises sits within a designated cumulative impact assessment area with lots of licensed premises in the vicinity.

Jennifer Mellor, licensing and regulatory services officer at Walsall Police, said: “Allowing an additional licensed premise in an already concentrated area of such premises does have the potential to impact on crime and disorder.

“We also do have street drinkers in the town centre, by having this additional premise allowing sales of alcohol, on the balance of probabilities could displace them which is a concern and would undermine the public nuisance licensing objective.

“Walsall town centre is unfortunately experiencing an increase in violence, this violence is impacting greatly on the police.

“The police are in consultation to change our officers shift patterns to accommodate this violence, placing front line officers on the street until the early hours of a morning as the town needs to be a safe place for residents and visitors to frequent during the night time economy.

“This change in shift patterns will impact the levels of policing during the day and although police demands are not a factor in the four licensing objectives, the impact of this within a saturated area of licensed premises, on the balance of probabilities would undermine the crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance licensing objectives.”

Other conditions proposed by applicant Gina-Camelia Pirvu include operating a strict Challenge 25 Policy and having CCTV to cover both inside and directly outside the store.

All staff will be trained, incident and refusal log books will be kept while notices will also be posted urging people to keep noise down to avoid causing nuisance to neighbours.

There is also a commitment to refuse service to anyone who is or appears to be drunk.

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