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Residents in Merthyr Tydfil concerned about application for local shop to sell alcohol

Alma Stores In Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil

RESIDENTS in Merthyr Tydfil have raised concerns about an application for a local shop to sell alcohol.

Alma Stores on Alma Street in Dowlais is applying for a new premises licence for a convenience store in the area and the application is due to be considered by the council’s statutory licensing committee on Thursday, April 6.

The applicant is applying for a  licence  to sell alcohol and opening times between 8am and 9pm from Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 9pm on Sunday.

There has previously been a premises licence in place at this premises which was surrendered in April 2016, the committee report said.

The previous premises licence allowed the sale of alcohol for consumption of the premises only and opening hours between 8am and 11pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 10.30pm on Sunday and there are no complaints recorded against the premises.

South Wales Police have raised no objection to the application and an agreement was reached with the applicant to amend the times for the supply of alcohol off premises and to include certain conditions.

Residents voice their opposition to the licence

But residents in Alma Street and surrounding streets have objected to the application raising concern that it will potentially increase the rate of crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour.

They said the premises lies within a small residential area, and enabling the premises to sell alcohol would be “totally detrimental” to its residents and residents of nearby streets.

They said: “Granting a licence would provide a further source of alcohol within an area already so heavily populated with licensed premises that crime, disorder and public nuisance have already reached problem levels for the local police in recent years.”

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They said that there are at least five premises within walking radius to this location that already sells alcohol from other off licenses to well established corner shops and public houses.

They said residents in this area already suffer noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour at times and “it is totally unacceptable to expect them to endure more levels of this due to this application.”

They added: “Parking within the street and surrounding street is already a major issue for residents and having an off license will not help this matter, just make the issue worse.”

They said several residents of the street are elderly, living alone and/or disabled and require disabled access at all times to be able to leave their homes and that having an off license will highly likely prevent this due to customers and non residents parking wherever they feel they can to visit the shop.

“Child safety and safety to all residents is also a major concern as this type of premises can promote gang culture and this goes in accordance with other major crimes/incidences such as home burglaries/vehicle damage/theft.

“In short, residents of this location and surrounding streets deserve to feel safe in their own homes at all times, having an off license in the vicinity as well as the other already established premises is not the way forward.

Councillors raise residents’ concerns

Local councillors Declan Sammon, Paula Layton and David Hughes have also raised concerns of residents of Alma Street, Broad Street and Overton Street that the granting of a premises licence would cause issues contrary to the four licencing objectives which are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

They said that local residents have raised concerns that a licensed shop in a narrow residential street could have the adverse effect of increasing anti-social behaviour, with the possibility of people hanging around outside and underneath the archway between Alma Street and Overton Street.

They also said that due to the number of families living in the three streets, residents feel that a licensed premises could have the potential of increasing the amount of traffic and anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the premises.

And the councillors said that residents raised concerns regarding increased noise, litter and the possibility of drunken behaviour in what is now a quiet residential street.

They said there is also the issue of there being no parking facilities and an increased level of vehicles using the street if a premises licence is granted.

The conditions agreed 

But the conditions agreed between the police and the applicant include that there must be a suitable colour digital CCTV system installed at the premises providing DVD/USB (or other easily downloadable format) recording equipment of clear images with a monitor out of view and reach of customers.

The conditions say that the CCTV system shall have unobstructed coverage of all areas to which the public have access, including customer entry/exit points and that the CCTV system shall be maintained and operating at all times that the premises are open to the public as well as be capable of providing 31 days recording.

The conditions state that images recorded are to be retained for 31 days and made available to the police or other enforcement agencies upon request.

The DPS (designated premises supervisor), manager or responsible person on duty at the premises is to be trained and be capable of providing the relevant DVD/USB (or other easily downloadable medium) recordings upon request.

Duty staff employed should  receive adequate training to comply with this and images shall be made available upon request as soon as possible to the police or other enforcement officers with DVD/USB (Or other easily downloadable medium) copies provided to police or enforcement officers at no cost, the conditions say.

They say that the CCTV system will be registered and comply with the requirements under data protection and signs shall be prominently displayed telling customers that they are being filmed on CCTV.

The CCTV system will be checked on a monthly basis to ensure that it is fully operational, and a log confirming this will be kept at the premises for inspection, the conditions added.

An incident log, written or electronic, shall be maintained to record any activity of a violent, criminal or antisocial nature and the record will contain the time and date, the nature of the incident, the people involved, the action taken and details of the person responsible for the management of the premises at the time of the incident.

The conditions say that the log shall be available for inspection at all reasonable times by an authorised officer of relevant responsible authority and the records will be retained for at least 12 months.

The conditions also include the display of appropriate warning signs to say that anyone appearing to be under the age of 25 will be subject to challenge in respect of age restricted goods.

It would be displayed at the entrance and where alcohol is displayed and staff will be trained to ask any customers who appear to be under 25 to produce an acceptable form of ID when they attempt to purchase alcohol including a PASS Accredited Proof of Age, photo driving licence, passport and military ID and only original documents are acceptable.

The conditions say that all staff shall receive training in relation to the sale of alcohol and training will be documented and such records made available to the police and other authorised officers upon reasonable request.

Refresher training will be provided to staff every 12 months and recorded within the training register.

Another condition is to record incidents of refusal of sales of “age restricted goods” to anyone who appears under age in a “refusal register” to be approved by trading standards officers.

The conditions say that this register is to be retained at the premises and be available to any authorised officer on request for inspection.

Records of any refusals should be retained at the premises and be made available to any authorised officer upon request for inspection.

The DPS should review the “refusal register” on a monthly basis and record the outcome, together with any remedial action taken, if required the conditions say.

They also say signs will be displayed that it is illegal for any person to attempt to buy alcohol for a person under the age of 18 and signs will be displayed that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to attempt to buy alcohol.