More than 800 people sign petition backing booze plea

The petition and licensing application centre around 100 Carlton Road, the former Bruce Hair Centre.
The petition and licensing application centre around 100 Carlton Road, the former Bruce Hair Centre.

An online petition calling on a booze licence not to be granted for a premises in Boston has reached more than 800 signatures in just five days.

Stephen Shaw, who has started the change.org petition, is also collecting physical signatures to back up his campaign – which centres around an application for an alcohol licence between 5am and 11.30pm for 100 Carlton Road - currently fronted Bruce Hair Centre.

The Boston Borough Council building.

The Boston Borough Council building.

In his online petition he writes: “Local residents and existing business owners do not want another outlet for alcohol sales and feel it will be detrimental to the area.”

In his petition, Mr Shaw points to the fact that there are ‘already eight off licenses that cater to the needs of the immediate population, and are all open within the hours proposed by the new application’.

He also uses reports from Chief Superintendent of Boston Police Paula Wood highlighting alcohol playing a part in recent violent crime within the town and says that the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has ‘pushed drinkers into the Carlton Road area’.

He writes: “Shoppers to the area are starting to find other places to shop as they are fed up with being harassed by drunken individuals standing on the streets, begging them for money or asking them to buy them cans of beer.

“Local business owners fight a daily battle of clearing up beer cans, human excrement, broken glass and vomit, as their premises are used as drinking areas when closed for business.

“The residents and business owners within the immediate area are fighting back and saying enough is enough.”

Boston Borough Council will decide upon the licence application and a spokesman confirmed that anyone can make a representation to the authority during the consultation period, adding it was up to the licensing committee to decide how much weight to give to the petition.

Under licensing rules, the committee cannot turn down an application purely because of a high number of similar businesses in an area and objectors must prove the application would have a detrimental effect on one or more of four ‘licensing objectives’.

These are: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and protection of children from harm.

A Cumulative Impact Policy, which would have looked at the impact of a saturation of licensed premises in a particular area, was considered and rejected in June by the committee.

It was considered that there was ‘no clear evidential link between the number or density of off-licences and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and concern for safety incidents’.

However, the committee did agree it would be monitored and discussed again ‘should there be any changes’.

The application for the shop on Carlton Road is set to go before committee in mid-January, and the deadline for representations to be handed in is December 16.

To sign the petition search for ‘Boston Council’ on www.change.org or visit Valupac Meats, in Carlton Road, Berrys News, in Fydell Street, or Abbie Barber, in Argyle Street.

Boston Borough Council has provided some advice to those wishing to hand in a petition.

As well as that offered in the story above, they say there is no specific policy on representations either ‘for’ or ‘against’ licensing applications, each representation will be considered on its own merits and the sub-committee will decide how much weight to give a petition.

The organiser should however consider a number of factors when submitting a petition:

- The organiser of the petition should identify themselves as a single point of contact and include a postal address which all correspondence will be sent to.

- The petition, or any parts of it, which are not relevant to the promotion of the licensing objectives or are frivolous or vexatious cannot be considered.

- The petition must include a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. Each page of the petition should contain this statement so that all persons know what they are signing.

- The petition should include what action the petitioners wish the Licensing Authority to take.

- The petition must be provided in a format that can be included in committee papers, which will be provided to the applicant and made public, and be provided no later than the last day for representations to be submitted.

- Full names and addresses should be supplied. If not provided, the committee is likely to give less weight to the petition.

- When considering the petition the sub-committee will consider the likely effect on the promotion of the licensing objectives; this will include the likely effect on the persons who have signed the petition.

- The council will not write to each signatory separately, but instead it will expect the organiser to advise each signatory of the hearing date and the final outcome.

- It is expected the organiser will represent the signatories at the hearing and speak for them.