Liquor licence with 'strict conditions' granted to shop in Northampton's worst area for alcoholism

Little Europe supermarket, in  Barrack Road, has been granted a license to sell alcohol under "strict conditions".
Little Europe supermarket, in Barrack Road, has been granted a license to sell alcohol under "strict conditions".

A supermarket in Northampton's worst area for alcohol abuse has been given a license to sell drink despite objections by the county council.

The Little Europe supermarket, in Barrack Road, was given off-license status under "strict conditions", including no alcohol-only sales, in a hearing on August 1.

Northamptonshire County Council objected to the proposal in the interest of "prevention of public nuisance" - and in part because of the shop's position next to a homelessness centre.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “Due to concerns raised by those consulted with as part of the application process, strict conditions have been applied to the license and we will work with the supermarket’s staff to ensure that these are implemented and maintained.”

Under the license, Little Europe cannot make single-can sales of beer, lager or cider, and alcohol can only form up to half of the total price of a basket at a time. As a result, this means they cannot make alcohol-only sales.

The shop must also install CCTV and operate an incident book for refusals of a sale.

In a letter to the licensing committee, the county council pointed to evidence that the area around Little Europe had the worst admission rate for alcohol and substance misuse in the town.

The area is also in the top five worst places for violent crime, presentations to A&E for assault and admissions to the hospital's alcohol liaison nurse.

The letter, sent on June 28, 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."

Robin Burgess, CEO for Northampton Hope Centre, said: "I'm sure the licensing committee considered every aspect of the application, but it is a great shame. We'll see how it affects this area's ongoing problems with alcohol.

"Northampton Hope Centre refers people with alcoholism for treatment and help them access support groups, like the S2S substance support group. All addictions are problematic and alcohol is an easy substance to access. If you feel you are becoming dependant on drink, talk to someone and get help."