Petition opposing alcohol licence handed to authority

Stephen Shaw with petition he's collated against a new alcohol licence application at former Bruce's Hair Salon on Carlton Road, Boston. EMN-151214-174759001
Stephen Shaw with petition he's collated against a new alcohol licence application at former Bruce's Hair Salon on Carlton Road, Boston. EMN-151214-174759001

A Boston butcher who has handed a petition to Boston Borough Council against an application for an alcohol licence has said the area around his shop has become a ‘no go zone’.

A Boston butcher who has handed a petition to Boston Borough Council against an application for an alcohol licence has said the area around his shop has become a ‘no go zone’.

Stephen Shaw, who has owned the butchers shop directly opposite 100 Carlton Road for 10 years, started the petition after a bid was made for a licence for the address, formerly Bruce Hair Centre.

But the applicant says the shop would have ‘no connection’ to criminality and anti-social behaviour.

Since launching the petition, Mr Shaw, who is planning to sell-up and close his business, has received 907 supporters online and 696 hard copy signatures.

He said residents have no objection to a grocery shop, but rather to the sale of alcohol ‘as it is not wanted or needed’.

Mr Shaw, who used to live above his shop, but now resides in Sleaford, said that he believed the level of street drinking, litter, public drunkenness, and anti-social behaviour had ‘risen to levels that should not have to be tolerated’.

He said ‘the area has become a ‘no go’ zone to many’.

He told The Standard the final straw came after someone ‘begging’ for money and ‘harassing’ customers left them feeling ‘intimidated’ and choosing to shop elsewhere.

Mr Shaw said: “I decided to fight the application at 100 Carlton Road with a petition so that the people of the area could have a chance to voice their own concerns.

“Although I am leaving, I look at this petition as being a form of payback to the people of the area that have supported my business for over 10 years, and hope that they can keep out any businesses that will have a further negative impact on the area.”

He added that he hoped his petition would encourage others to fight applications in their own areas.

“I have heard many many times people complain about how many licensed premises are being allowed to open, and how the town is being over run with them, causing more anti-social behaviour and litter in the streets, however I haven’t seen many people getting involved to try and stop it happening,” he said.

Applicant Natalia Vincukova, 41, says her current store NV Wine Shop in Church Lane, which is a family business run by her and her husband with her children helping, sells ‘high quality’ and specialist alcohol.

She believes the higher price range is not attractive to those committing anti-social acts due to drink - something she wants her new shop, which she says will sell 60 per cent groceries, to replicate.

She said: “I do not have plans to sell low or cheap alcohol. It’s impossible [to link criminality] to my alcohol which is middle or high prices - brand products.”

She said there had been no problems with her current shop, which has state-of-the-art security.

She added, she could understand people’s concerns, and admitted there were issues with street drinkers.

Boston MP Matt Warman has taken the fight against the licence application at 100 Carlton Road to parliament and called for a debate into the ‘cumulative impact of businesses’.

Leader of the House Chris Grayling said powers were available to councils but if planning policies were not working, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) could be told.

Mr Warman said licensing laws made it ‘very hard’ for councils to turn down applications.

He said he would be lobbying the DCLG and wanted to see councils able to take cumulative impacts of off-licences into account.

Boston Borough Council rejected a cumulative impact policy in June due to ‘no clear evidential link between the number or density of off-licences and alcohol related anti-social behaviour and concern for safety incidents’.

The application is set to go to Boston Borough Council’s licensing committee on February 15, at 10am.