VOTE: call for minimum alcohol price after Worthing off-licence approved

AN application for a fourth off- licence in a deprived road in Worthing has been granted, despite opposition from residents.

At a licensing meeting at Worthing Town Hall, Chapel Road, on Thursday, a licence was granted to Offie, in Ham Road.

The decision was made despite shop-owner Edmund Ranjith presenting a petition, with more than 300 signatures opposing the plan, at the meeting.

Edmund, who owns the shop Best One – next to the premises Offie is moving to – was also joined in his opposition by Selden ward councillor Roger Oakley and Peter Brooksbank, who lives in a flat above where Offie will be.

Mr Brooksbank said the granting of the licence would lead to anti-social crime like it did when Threshers occupied a nearby site in Ham Road two years ago.

The 64-year-old said: “There’s no problem at the moment because the off-licence is no longer there, but this will bring the problems back. They’re not taking into consideration people – only money.”

But Bob Smytherman, chair of the licensing committee meeting which approved the application, said: “We can’t turn the application down without objections from police, the fire service and environmental health, because if we did the decision would be appealed.

“And this way, we were able to attach conditions to the licence, which were to the advantage of residents.

“To see an empty shop trading, and in a responsible way, is good for the area.”

As part of the conditions of the licence, the Offie will close at 10pm and will not serve beer or cider exceeding 6 per cent.

A proposal to introduce a minimum price on alcohol, tabled by Mr Smytherman, will be considered at the next full council meeting on October 4.

Mr Smytherman said he tabled the motion in response to figures, published by the Public Health Observatories for the south east in July 2011, which showed Worthing has a higher number of admissions to hospital due to alcohol-related harm (2,501) than the national average of 1,743.

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