Supermarket refused alcohol licence amid crime fears
A new international supermarket planned for Ipswich’s former QD store has been refused an alcohol licence - amid fears over crime in a road “frequented by street drinkers”.
Maxi Poli Ltd, which runs a number of supermarkets across the region, said it was “still committed to making a serious investment during this time of uncertainty” to the store in St Matthew’s Street.
However, while selling a range of food and other goods, it said a licence to sell alcohol between 8am and 11pm, seven days a week, was important to the store’s business model.
Paul Byatt, agent for the development, told Ipswich Borough Council’s licensing and regulatory sub-committee: “It has been empty for quite some time. It looks absolutely awful.
“Having a reputable grocery store would enhance the area.”
But Sharon Betts-Palmer, licensing officer for Suffolk Constabulary, listed well over 100 crimes in the area in the past year, including violence, thefts, drug-dealing and fighting.
“Suffolk Constabulary have concerns regarding the number of businesses in this area of an approximate quarter of a mile radius, which have premises licenses that allow the off sales of alcohol,” she said.
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“There are continuing issues in regards to anti-social behaviour and crime in the area, such as robberies, prostitution, assaults, affrays, drugs, groups loitering, offensive weapons, noise and litter.
“A lot of the residents in the area are vulnerable, many due to issues with excessive alcohol consumption and drug-taking.
“The area is also regularly frequented by street drinkers, causing anti-social behaviour.
“We feel that the attraction of an off-licenced premises would lead to more footfall which could contribute to an increase of persons loitering in the area, which is highly likely to increase the anti-social behaviour and other crime being felt in this area.”
Mr Byatt disputed the description of Maxi Poli as an off-licence, saying: “A supermarket of this size, we believe it discourages that sort of customer who is alcohol dependent.”
He said the “family environment” of the store “doesn’t attract that sort of clientele”.
However, a statement from Public Health Suffolk said: “The location of this premises has a very high rate of accident and emergency department attendances related to alcohol (11.0 attendances per 1,000 residents) and significantly more than the average in Ipswich (3.0 attendances per 1,000 residents).”
The committee decided to refuse the application of the alcohol licence.
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