Thursday, June 02, 2011

Eagle Service Station

My first experience of licensing committee was interesting but not very satisfactory.  A significant number of residents attended and wanted to speak.  Unlike planning committee, there were several pre-meetings going on with negotiations taking place right up to the last minute.  The applicant offered to reduce the time for the alcohol licence down to 7 in the morning till 11pm which is an improvement but the residents weren't happy with the idea of alcohol being sold there anyway.  All 3 ward councillors agreed that we didn't need or want another alcohol outlet in the area but I felt it important to say that if the committee did allow a licence they should make sure that the conditions included something to allow a check that the premises are definitely operating as a convenience store with fuel as an ancillary sale, rather than the other way round.
An offer from the agent's solicitor to talk to residents before the meeting was met with interest by some but anger by others.  Residents used to the openness of planning procedures didn't like the apparent secretiveness of licensing, with meetings of little groups of people going on around them in an effort to iron out the problems before the hearing.  I, too, found it very strange and felt uncomfortable.  I felt it was no wonder that people thought "it's a done deal". 
In the end, after a great deal of input from the floor, the licensing sub-committee adjourned and will make their decision in the next few days.  It seems that they want some further information or legal clarifications.  So we have to wait and see what happens.

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