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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Support for town centre shop’s booze application despite ‘debauchery’ claim

Savers in Cardiff Road, Caerphilly (Pic: LDRS)

A COSMETICS shop in Caerphilly town centre is to start selling alcohol despite a resident’s concerns about “debauchery”.

Savers, on Cardiff Road, has applied for a premises licence to sell booze for off-premises consumption, seven days a week.

Caerphilly Council’s licensing sub-committee heard on Tuesday March 5 that Gwent Police had no objections to the application.

But two neighbours who complained about the Savers plan said they feared another off-licence in the town could increase antisocial behaviour.

One wrote to the council, describing such premises in Caerphilly as an “eye-sore” which had led to “more drunk people – sometimes even teenagers – loitering”.

Another resident said in a letter that off-licences “further fuel the debauchery and untoward social problems that arise duly and solely because of the imbalance of this town”.

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Neither objector was present at the committee meeting, but several Savers employees were in attendance, including regional manager Mike Morgan.

He defended the company’s sale of alcohol and said staff were fully trained to comply with the law, including a “Challenge 25” policy to prevent underage sales, and refusing to serve people who “appear to be drunk”.

Mr Morgan said Savers operates 500 stores in the UK, of which 330 are licensed to sell alcohol.

The firm takes its responsibilities “very seriously” and “none of our premises [licences] have been reviewed”, he added.

PC Jonathan Taylor, of Gwent Police’s licensing team, told the committee the force had no objection to Savers’ “robust” application to sell alcohol.

He said the hours of sale proposed by the firm were “suffice to mitigate any antisocial behaviour”, and added that there was “no evidence” to link such issues to off-licences.

Savers sells alcohol at its Ebbw Vale and Tredegar stores under the same licence conditions proposed for Caerphilly, PC Taylor said, adding that “to date” the police were “yet to attribute any antisocial behaviour to those stores”.

He confirmed that Savers would be responsible for moving along anyone loitering immediately outside the Caerphilly shop, but that if there were any problems further away from the entrance, it would be a police matter.

The two public objections to the application “don’t relate to any specific times or dates” meaning the force could not verify their claims of antisocial behaviour, PC Taylor said.

There was “nothing to suggest” the Savers application, if successful, would “add to any antisocial behaviour in the town”, he added.

Kathryn Hopkins, the council’s licensing manager, told the committee officers had recommended the licence be approved subject to a list of conditions agreed with Savers.

The committee will announce its decision within five working days.

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