Booze sales plan for town centre shop rejected

Street drinking beer can on the street.
Street drinking beer can on the street.

Plans for a new off licence in Castleford town centre have been rejected after police said they are dealing with street drinkers on a daily basis.

A public spaces protection order (PSPO) was put in place last year to stop anti-social behaviour and drink-related crime in the town centre.

The ban meant that anyone caught drinking in the street can be fined £100.

But, officers say they are still tackling the issue and as a result strongly opposed Sofar Hussein’s application to sell alcohol from his Eastern European Mini Market on Albion Street.

Wakefield Council’s licensing officers were also against the application.

Speaking at a licensing sub committee today. Monday, May 21, PC Toby Warden, from West Yorkshire Police said: “Probably the most worrying part of our visit (to speak to Mr Hussein about the application) was when we asked him about the area and the public spaces protection order (PSPO) he was at a bit of a loss to explain what it actually was.

“It’s obviously been put there for a reason - to try and deal with this issue.

“The visit has left police with little confidence.”

Having originally applied for a licence to sell alcohol between 7am and 11pm, Mr Hussein changed the proposed to hours to between 9am and 10pm to put him in line with other nearby shops.

But police said that because they were dealing with incidents throughout the day, the change in hours made no difference.

Councillors were shown CCTV clips of police confronting street drinkers near the mini market.

Paul Dean, licence enforcement officer at Wakefield Council, said: “As you’ve seen from the footage there are a lot of citizens walking around being affected by this kind of behaviour and this is what we’re trying to stop.

“It’s not just the area around Albion Street and Aire Street that’s the problem. It’s wider than that. It’s a massive area with a massive problem.

“Mr Hussein is from Doncaster. He’s seen there’s a good market for a Polish shop in Castleford. There’s five such mini-markets already in the area. Why do we need six?”

Asked by a committee member if the problems were still a “daily occurrence”, PC Warden replied, “Yes”.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Hussein, licensing agent Geoffrey Dixon said his client had no responsibility for goings on outside the shop.

He said: “I can’t believe that this shop would make the problem any worse than it is now.”

The committee rejected Mr Hussein’s application, stating in its judgment that they did not have “appropriate confidence” in him meeting the requirements of the licence.