Booze fears

New Londis: bid to sell alcohol 6am to midnight FEARS of an increase in booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour and litter in The Strand have been sparked following a bid to open a late-night town centre off-licence.

New Londis: bid to sell alcohol 6am to midnightFEARS of an increase in booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour and litter in The Strand have been sparked - following a bid to open a late-night town centre off-licence. East Devon District Council has been asked to licence a new Londis store at 1-2 The Strand, formerly Browsers, between The Powder Monkey pub and Minnies Eatery.The applicants call for the store to be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, selling alcohol from 6am to midnight.A request to sell late-night refreshments from 11pm until 5am has also been filed - and, while there are few details, some Londis stores sell snacks, including sausage rolls and sandwiches and even have a small seating area.But civic leaders, like Conservative town councillor and district council licensing committee member Mark Williamson, are concerned. "I would be against it," he said."We should be trying to restrict the sale of alcohol and all this will do is increase its availability. By making drink more accessible, I fear it will increase anti-social behaviour."I am also concerned that opening somewhere you can get food until the early hours, and somewhere people can buy drink so they can continue their evening until late, will put more strain on the police and Street Scene, who will have to clear up the mess in The Strand afterwards."I talk to people and they are very concerned. I fear the centre of Exmouth in the evening will soon become a no-go area for the public "The town is already over saturated by food establishments and takeaways."He also supported devolving licensing powers back from East Devon District Council to the town council. "Residents should have a say," he added. A town centre ward member for EDDC and former mayor, Lib Dem Eileen Wragg said: "At last count there were at least 26 fast-food establishments and pubs in a half-mile radius of the town centre."This application has real implications for anti-social behaviour and I have concerns about selling alcohol in the town centre so late - it might be seen as encouraging a drinking culture."We have to be fair to the residents and the applicant - it has to be looked at fairly and considered on its merits."But we, for years, have called for a saturation policy to stop the number of fast-food outlets and pubs in the town centre."The applicants have said they will install panic buttons connected to an alarm system, CCTV, train staff in the selling of alcohol, ensure spirits are kept behind a counter and have a 'refusals' book.


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