Council fights to stop another off-licence opening in Northampton's worst area for alcoholism

Northamptonshire County Council has objected to Little Europe's application to sell alcohol.
Northamptonshire County Council has objected to Little Europe's application to sell alcohol.
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A convenience store's application to sell liquor could be barred for fear of feeding the habit of the worst area for alcohol abuse in Northampton.

Northamptonshire County Council is trying to block the Little Europe International Supermarket, in Barrack Road, from selling booze in the interest of "prevention of public nuisance" - and in part because of the shop's position next to a homelessness centre.

They backed up their objection by saying the area's admission rate to hospital for alcohol and substance misuse was the worst in the town.

The county council has a sorting system to rank and compare areas of Northamptonshire based on factors like alcohol related crimes and presentations to A&E for assault. These areas are known as Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs).

Out of 133 LSOAs in Northampton, the area around Little Europe is the in the top five worst places for violent crimes, presentations to A&E for assault, and admissions to the hospital's alcohol liaison nurse.

In a letter sent to the shopowner on June 28, a county council spokeswoman said: "At the time of writing, there are 67 people in treatment with problematic alcohol use living in the LSOA Little Europe International Supermarket is situated in.

"Consequently, [this area] has almost 17 times as many people in treatment with problematic alcohol use than is average for the borough.

"Public Health recommend that the licence not be granted."

The letter also objects to the application because it is close to four local schools, including the Complementary Education Academy for young people who are permanently excluded from school.

The letter reads: "Dependent drinkers place added pressure on already limited public resources and homelessness is often associated with substance misuse.

"It is therefore of concern that the premises is in very close proximity to the Hope Centre, a homelessness organisation."

Northampton Borough Council will consider the county council's letter when deciding whether to license Little Europe.