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'Crime, dismay and misery': Residents and councillors object to Hornchurch newsagents' alcohol licence application

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 July 2019

Park Lane News in Park Lane, Hornchurch, has applied for an alcohol licence. Picture: Google Maps

Park Lane News in Park Lane, Hornchurch, has applied for an alcohol licence. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

Residents and ward councillors have objected to a Hornchurch newsagent's request for a licence to sell alcohol until 10pm seven days a week.

Park Lane News at 65 Park Lane has applied for a licence to sell alcohol between the hours of 8am and 10pm every day of the week.

It would be the third off-licence in a parade of 16 shops between Hillcrest Road and Park Crescent.

The shop's owner and proprietor, Marites Senior, registered the application on June 20 this year after taking over the premises on May 24.

According to her application to Havering Council she has previously owned an off-licence in Darlington.

Ms Senior stresses the store would be covered by 24-hour digital CCTV which would be held for 30 days and given over to the police whenever requested.

The business would operate a strict "no ID, no sale" policy, and no alcohol would be permitted to be consumed on the premises - either inside or outside.

A "two children at a time" rule would also be implemented, claims Ms Senior.

She said: "My few years of experience and training in the railway dealing with disruptive customers had been useful when I had my first off-licence in Darlington [from September 2015 to September 2018].

"I learned to identify personalities and when to put my foot down as the authority and owner of the premises.

"Polite and kind words will go a longer way than meeting rude words with retaliation."

Although no authorities such as the police or the council have objected to the application, two residents living nearby and two ward councillors have raised a number of concenrs.

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One resident who wrote to the planning committee stressed that anti-social behaviour around the parade is already a problem, and fears this will be exacerbated by the presence of yet another licensed premises.

They wrote: "We have lived on Park Lane opposite the shops for over 10 years so can see first hand the impact this potential license could bring, the local community has worked hard and I have spoke at several town hall hearings regarding the trouble the shops already trading similar to this request; the crime, dismay and misery this has bought to residents over the years.

"There are worries that more alcohol being available on the parade, particularly late in the evening until 11pm, will cause even more anti-social behaviour and crime.

"It will also have an impact on our overall health, my own anxiety and my families sleep patterns will be disturbed due to an increase in noise levels and disruption a late licence would bring."

Romford Town ward councillors Judith Holt and Nisha Patel have also filed objections to the proposed licence.

Cllr Holt raised a number of issues, and said that proxy buying - where children standing outside ask adults to buy alcohol for them - has been a real problem in the area.

She also described it as "invidious" to award this shop a licence till 10pm when the two off-licences already on the parade are only allowed to sell alcohol until 8pm.

A petition against the propsoed licence has also gained 33 signatures, she revealed.

Clr Patel requested permission to speak in person at the meeting.

In her written objections, she added: "In my experience while delivering newsletters on that road I have seen gangs of kids hanging around the two premise and run across the road as well as ride their bikes across the street regardless of oncoming traffic and generally behaving in a rowdy way.

"The residents have complained about unsociable behaviour, noise and I am also led to believe by the residents that these kids indulge in illegal substances using the alleyway at the back of the shops.

"Park Lane is a residential road with families with young children and they do not want their children afraid to go out or cross the road because of the anti social behaviour of the kids hanging around."

Havering's licensing sub-committee will rule on the application at a meeting at Havering Town Hall on Monday, August 5.

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