Northern Quarter shop prevented from selling late-night alcohol from a hatch in Manchester
A licensing boss at the council claimed serving alcohol until 1am from a hatch is ‘no more responsible than a vending machine in Piccadilly Gardens’.
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A Northern Quarter shop which wanted to sell alcohol 24 hours a day has been refused a late-night licence after being likened to a ‘vending machine’ for anti-social behaviour hotspot Piccadilly Gardens at a town hall hearing.
Manchester Mini Market in Oldham Street will not be allowed to serve alcohol from a hatch between the hours of 11pm and 1am, a licensing panel has ruled.
Licence holder Joan Mary McGuire had originally asked for permission to sell booze for 24 hours a day, but she agreed with police to reduce this request.
However, Manchester city council’s licensing department was still concerned.
Why was the council worried?
Licensing out of hours officer Ben Moran said serving alcohol until 1am from a hatch is ‘no more responsible than a vending machine in Piccadilly Gardens’.
He said: “Customers would be able to buy half litre single cans of half strength cider or special brew and partake in a chorus of intoxicated street drinking in and around Piccadilly Gardens and Back Piccadilly.
“Once their customer walks five yards away from their premises and cracks open their can or bottle, there is little that we can do to rectify the issue of street drinking and subsequent anti-social behaviour and nuisance this results in.”
Mr Moran described Piccadilly Gardens as a ‘hotspot for anti-social behaviour and disorder’, referring to recent reports of youths ‘throwing bottles up in air in some kind of game’, leaving a ‘large amount’ of broken glass in the area.
He spoke of 10 planned operations to tackle anti-social behaviour undertaken by the council together with Greater Manchester Police at the end of last year.
But Ms McGuire told the licensing panel that the shop has not had any problems.
She said: “We don’t have any problems at our shop. We don’t sell the strong beers that he’s talking about. Bottled beers we don’t sell after a certain time anyway.
“There’s other shops around like Morrisons and Tesco that they buy from – it’s not necessarily from us.
“I just feel it’s being pointed at us because we’re not Tesco or Morrisons.”
However, Ms McGuire failed to list the four licensing objectives when questioned by Moran who said his concerns had not been alleviated during the hearing.
Labour councillor Paul Andrews, who chaired the Licensing Sub-Committee Hearing Panel on Tuesday (29 March), revealed that the request was refused.
He said: “Having listened to what’s been said today and reading the application, one thing that’s come across to us quite clearly is your lack of understanding of the four licensing objectives and there’s actually nothing in your application that would actually protect those licensing objectives.
“We have decided to refuse this application today on the grounds of lack of understanding of the four licensing objectives and not having any conditions on the licence which would protect them.”
The amended premises licence variation application was refused by the panel.