Council grants Harold Hill shop alcohol licence despite street drinkers fear
- Credit: Photo: Arnaud Stephenson
Councillors today granted an alcohol licence to Harold Hill convenience store Borat Express, despite police concerns over street drinking.
Havering Council’s licensing sub-committee decided the Hilldene Avenue shop, which has a picture of comedy character Borat wearing a mankini above the door, could sell alcohol for consumption off premises as long as it never counted for more than 10 per cent of stock on the shelves.
Committee chair Cllr Linda Van den Hende (East Havering Residents’, Upminster) said the licence would be subject to a string of conditions, including limiting hours of sale to between 9am-7pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-4pm on Sundays.
Representing Havering Police, borough licensing officer Pc Jason Rose told councillors the force had “grave concerns” about the Hilldene Avenue area.
He said: “The local area is facing a challenging time with street drinking at an all-time high.
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“This in itself brings issues concerning crime and disorder, public safety and indeed pubic nuisance.”
He added: “The local police team are working hard at this present time to make the area a ‘no drinking zone’.
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“Police fear another outlet selling alcohol will only make this already difficult task a lot harder.”
Piotr Wieczerzynski, Borat Express shopkeeper and applicant, responded by saying his store would be selling imported and therefore more expensive Polish products, not cheap alcohol apparently favoured by street drinkers.
“If the drinkers want to drink in front of the shop, they will because they can get the cheap alcohol from Sainsbury’s,” he said.
“We’re trying to sell a different product.”
He added when questioned by Cllr Viddy Persaud (Con, Brooklands) his staff were trained and would not sell “cheap drinks”.
Following a short period of deliberation, Cllrs Van den Hende, Persaud and Reg Whitney (Independent Residents’, St Andrews) agreed the new licence.
“We have considered very carefully and we’ve agreed to grant you the licence with a string of conditions,” said chairman Cllr Van den Hende.
“You’ll be able to sell alcohol from behind the counter and the condition will be that no more than 10pc of your goods on display can be alcohol.
“If you breach that you will breach your licence.”