Grocer’s bid to sell alcohol from Northampton store revoked for concerns over public safety

Riga supermarket
Riga supermarket

A proposal by a Northampton shop to sell alcohol was unanimously rejected by councillors on the grounds of protecting public safety.

Shopkeeper, Hedi Meena, of the Riga store in Kettering Road, asked councillors to approve an application to sell alcoholic drinks between 8am and midnight but the plea has been refused.

The grocer bought the premises without the proper licence in place and says a “considerable amount of money was spent investing in the business”.

But PC Chris Stevens, representing Northamptonshire Police at the licensing hearing on November 4, told Northampton Borough Councillors they should reject the application.

PC Stevens said the applicant was “not a suitable premises holder in this instance”.

The applicant supplied a fraudulent address with the paperwork, PC Stevens said, as he had given his home address as a flat above the premises but was living in the United States with a friend. The police were also investigating a number of allegations concerning the premises, PC Stevens added.

Councillor Janice Duffy, of Talavera Ward, said: “There is so much street drinking going on, we have to be very careful who we give licences too.”

The hearing was told that before Hedi Meena was the licensee of Riga, police had responded to nine incidents of anti-social behaviour around the Kettering Road store before the shopkeeper at the time stopped selling alcohol for religious reasons.

The anti-social behaviour included groups of people drinking and fighting while intoxicated, but this soon reduced to one incident since the license was given up, the panel at the Guildhall was told.

Councillor Phil Larratt, chair of the licensing committee said: “The sub-committee unanimously decided to reject the licence.”