Angel shop’s booze bid prompts debate over antisocial behaviour

Duncan Street. Photograph: Google.

An attempt by a convenience store in Angel to secure permission to sell alcohol is being opposed by a ward councillor, with local residents up in arms over antisocial behaviour in the area.

A previous bid by Angel Food & News for a booze licence was denied, but its representatives say this time it will introduce measures including staff training and CCTV.

The shop argues that all licence applications should be viewed against the background of the economic catastrophe caused by Covid.

But the application has caused residents to lift the lid on the problems they are experiencing in their community. 

One said: “In the past few years, we have had ongoing issues with our communal stairwell and entryway areas being occupied by drug dealers, drunks, heroin addicts and homeless people. 

“They have used these areas in order to imbibe their various addictions, to make noise at all hours, cause a nuisance and threaten the residents that live here, sleep in the areas, litter, graffiti, vomit, aspirate blood, urinate and excrete faeces outside people’s front doors. 

“We have been in constant contact through this period with the council and the police to remove these people, and we have many official records to back up that claim, but yet they still return.”

Objectors revealed that the council have had to reinforce the doors of properties close to Angel Food to prevent people forcing their way inside.

Residents also fear patrons of nearby pub, Duncan Street’s The York, will be able to access alcohol from the store late at night.

Their formal objection was backed by St Peters ward councillor Martin Klute, who said he did not feel that “any circumstances have changed to justify a different decision from the 2019 hearing”. 

The Town Hall’s own licensing authority also laid out a number of “issues of concern”, including the large number of venues already selling alcohol in the area.

Angel Food & News’ application reads: “We are aware that this type of premises falls within the special policy in relation to cumulative impact in respect of shops, giving the rebuttable presumption that such applications will be refused.

“ I would ask that this application be assessed under the current climate brought about by Covid, and not to take a general opinion of ‘no more off sales’. 

“There are currently many premises that are closing down due to the impact of Covid, and this will continue into the foreseeable future.

“A business that is prepared to invest in the area, boost the economy, and create jobs should be looked at in isolation the policy, which was written, and adopted long before anyone could have foreseen the economic climate we are facing in the near to medium term future.”

The application is set to be decided next week.