Jo McCarron, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, expressed her disappointment today that an application has been accepted to turn the empty post office on Heath Rise, Cadbury Heath into a store selling alcohol from 6am to 11pm.
Jo teamed up with local residents to make sure their concerns were heard by the South Gloucestershire Licensing Committee, responsible for making the decision. At the Committee meeting on Tuesday (8th), Jo handed in dozens of letters from residents she and the Labour team had spoken to about the plans. The letters explained concerns that there is already a problem in the local area with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, and already a high density of premises selling alcohol locally. The fear raised by the residents is that increasing access to alcohol will only make the problem worse.
The Licensing Committee said they were sympathetic to arguments from the residents but in the absence of police representation about the existing anti-social behaviour issues raised by the residents, their hands were tied.
Local Labour Parish Councillor Martin Farmer, who has been working with Jo and the residents, has written to the Parish Council suggesting that it pursues an appeal and asks for the police to assess the drink-related problems in the area.
This application at the old post office follows attempts to allow the next-door kebab shop to open until 1am at weekends and midnight on weekdays. The Labour team worked with residents at the time to petition the Licensing Committee and successfully blocked those plans in February.
After the meeting today, Jo McCarron said:
“It’s frustrating that despite local residents’ concerns, the Committee was unable to fully take on board the reports of anti-social behaviour. It cannot be right that such a strength of local feeling is being seemingly ignored. I will continue to work with local residents to make sure their views are heard as this issue progresses.”