This party fears too many off-licences

TWO weeks ago, in response to a request from a number of local residents and businesses, I did support an objection to an application for a further off-licence in Ham Road.

There is a well-established link between the availability of alcohol and crime and disorder. This link is recognised by local people who perceive anti-social behaviour within their community as a blight.

There are constant complaints about street drinkers and anti- social behavior fuelled by alcohol consumption, particularly in those wards fringing on the seafront, Selden being one such ward.

Although the facts suggest that crime and disorder is no worse than in any other area, it is still viewed as a major concern by many.

Common sense dictates that most, if not all, of the alcohol concerned is purchased from off-sales outlets.

So when a further off-licence was proposed in a road that has four established outlets, many locals could not understand why it was even being considered.

I saw it as an opportunity to take a proactive approach, to support the locals, and try to make an impact on a long-standing problem. Here was a chance for the community to make an impact rather than just complain. Due process was followed, but the licensing committee chose not to wholly recognise the problem, though it made a small concession in hours to residents who live over the shop. Although I find this disappointing, as a community we did what we could. Now we must wait and see if the fears of the community are realised.

Councillor Roger Oakley

Selden ward

Goring Road