New Northampton off-licence out of place in Cultural Quarter claims objector

A new off-licence proposed for a retail unit in Northampton Cultural Quarter, has prompted a complaint.
A new off-licence proposed for a retail unit in Northampton Cultural Quarter, has prompted a complaint.

Plans for an off-licence in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter will need the approval of a licensing committee, after a complaint the proposal was not in keeping with the area.

The moves by applicant Ellaben Patel to convert an unused retail unit of Bloomsbury Building, on the corner of St John’s Street and Swan Street, into a convenience store are to go in front of a panel of borough councillors on Friday, July 31, who will decide whether to grant it a trading licence.

The item was called-in for review after complaints from a nearby Bloomsbury House resident, who argued a new premises serving alcohol to take away would defeat the aims of the Cultural Quarter.

In a letter to Northampton Borough Council, the complainant wrote: “An off-licence in this unit would adversely affect the character of the area, especially for visitors (for example, theatre-goers or out-of-town shoppers) who would see the unit next to a sign proclaiming ‘Northampton Cultural Quarter’.”

The cultural quarter was officially launched in 2013 and is home to Northampton Museum, the Royal & Derngate theatre and Art Gallery NN.

But the complainant stated a new off-licence close to St John’s Halls of Residence, would encourage noise and “nuisance.”

The objection letter read: “The student accommodation opposite Bloomsbury House was completed within the past year and we have already found there to be an increase in public nuisance with students either outside of the building, or inside the building with the windows open, producing loud noise.

“Having a business providing cheap alcohol outside of their front door would only make this more of a problem.”

Speaking on the upcoming licensing sub-committee hearing, agent for the scheme John Birch, said: “The application is in order and we look forward to offering the objector our assurances about the type of business we propose to run.”