Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Public Backs Shop's Booze Licence Plea

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Public Backs Shop's Booze Licence Plea

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Foad Reporter laura.foad@trinitymirror.com

MORE than 600 people have signed a petition calling for a shop to be allowed to sell booze in their neighbourhood.

Only 37 written objections have been received by Middlesbrough Council opposing store owner Dipak Patel's bid to sell alcohol from his Coulby Newham premises.

The Lingfield Ash operation runs as a convenience store and post office and serves a large residential area.

The application proposes that the shop be allowed to sell alcohol between 9am and 9pm.

Many residents believe the sale of alcohol will make a welcome addition to the facilities and services already offered by Mr Patel.

Others agree - unless the application is approved - the post office may suffer and be forced to close.

The area already has a Tesco store a short distance away and three pubs within walking distance.

Mr Patel, 49, who has run the shop for 18 years and post office for four, said: "I just want to survive in a tough market. My post office has just started to get going and if I can't sustain it the shop will have to close too.

"From 2015 all sub postmasters will lose their core payment, mine is between PS15,000 and PS18,000 and I will have to rely on transactions to make this up. I'll have to maintain the business by looking for new products to sell including alcohol. There has been a lot of demand for alcohol from my customers and it will benefit local people."

Coulby Newham AIMC (Association of Independent Middlesbrough Councillors) councillor Michael Hudson is one of those supporting the application.

He has known Mr Patel for 18 years and believes he is "a man of integrity and honesty who runs his business in a way that is beneficial to not only himself but the customers who use the shop."

Cllr Hudson has asked that the licensing sub-committee at least allow a six-month trial period to ease any doubts in the minds of committee members.

He said: "This decision should cover both viewpoints and concerns from objectors. …

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