Off-licence given go-ahead in Northampton estate despite concerns by residents over anti-social behaviour

Euro Foods Plus will occupy the former Natwest bank building in St James Road
Euro Foods Plus will occupy the former Natwest bank building in St James Road

Residents of a Northampton estate are worried that a new off-licence could add to street drinking problems in the neighbourhood.

The Eurofoods Plus store has been awarded a licence to sell alcohol from the premises at 167 St James Road, which used to be a Natwest bank.

The scheme had met with opposition from the residents’ association of St James, a member of which said it would ‘escalate’ street drinking and contribute to further issues in the area such as rough sleeping.

Pam Williams, speaking on behalf of the association, told councillors: “Drug and alcohol users linger in the area daily and cause a nuisance.

“We have rough sleepers sleeping in shop entrances who then fall asleep because they are intoxicated.

“It is a very unpleasant situation, walking by the people who are begging. If you don’t give them money they can be quite abusive and we don’t want these problems escalating.

“Don’t add to our problems, we will be the ones that live with your decision. We are ordinary folk who need your help keeping our area safe and pleasant to live in.”

Although the views of residents were taken on board, the licensing sub-committee of Northampton Borough Council granted the store a licence to sell alcohol at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

They did, however, add a string of conditions which they hope may prevent further anti-social problems in the vicinity of the store. The shop’s original wish to sell alcohol daily from 8am until 11pm was reduced by the committee for the hours of noon until 10pm.

Councillors also stipulated that two trained members of staff should be on site at all times, the shop’s frontage would not advertise alcohol, and drinks with an alcohol ABV above six percent would not be sold.

Paul Byatt, of Licensed Inn-tuition, represented the applicant Mr Amed Khudhur, and said his client felt the application was ‘rigorous enough’.

He said: “The only alcohol on sale will be behind the counter or in a fridge. It’s not really an off-licence as the majority of sales will be non-alcoholic.

“The council's Public Health team were very concerned with regards to street drinking, and they have proposed conditions which my client has accepted.”

He also told councillors that there had only been representations from three members of the public, and that the police had not raised any concerns.