Nuisance fears dismissed as convenience store gets the go ahead in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter

A proposal to turn a former retail unit in Northampton Cultural Quarter has  been given the go-ahead by the borough council's licensing sub-committee.
A proposal to turn a former retail unit in Northampton Cultural Quarter has been given the go-ahead by the borough council's licensing sub-committee.
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A grocery store has been given the green light to trade in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter despite fears the business would create nuisance in the theatre district.

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 was called-in for review at last Friday’s licensing sub-committee.

A Bloomsbury House resident complained a new premises serving alcohol to take away would defeat the aims of the Cultural Quarter and increase public nuisance from nearby students in the St Johns halls of residence block.

But although the committee found the resident to have made a “passionate objection,” the councillors gave the proposals a unanimous green-light.

The minutes to the meeting read: “The bulk of the objection was irrelevant in terms of the Licensing Act 2003 and the objector is advised that most of the concerns raised were matters for planning consideration.”

However the new grocery store, which had applied to serve alcohol between 8am and 10pm will be restricted to selling liquor between 11am and 10pm, Monday to Sunday.

The store will also not be able to sell the large 500 mililetre bottles of lager, cider or beer with over six per cent alcohol volume, nor will lit be able to sell single cans of such drinks.

Agent for the shop scheme, John Birch, dismissed suggestions that a new convenience store in the Cultural Quarter would increase anti-social behaviour and noise from the student accommodation, as there were number of shops selling alcohol within a short radius.

If students wanted to hold a house party, they would find a means to purchase alcohol anyway, he added.

The applicants have also agreed to look into placing a bin outside the store.