Off-sales decision under fire

EDINBURGH licensing board has come under fire for granting off-sales licences for two new stores in Tollcross – an area it describes as one of “serious special concern” regarding overprovision in its policy statement.

The board rubber-stamped licence applications from Co-op and Sainsbury’s for premises in Early Grey Street, despite objections from police and NHS Lothian.
Its policy statement says that the licensing forum had recommended seven new areas, including Tollcross, should be deemed ‘overprovided’ with licensed premises; the board said all seven are recognised as “areas of serious special concern” and that any application would be “judged on its merits, taking account of the type, size and capacity of premises”.
Chief superintendent Mark Williams said: “This was an opportunity for the board to restrict the availability of alcohol and positively impact upon issues such as crime and antisocial behaviour and, because of this, we are really disappointed at the decision to approve these new applications.”
Jim Sherval of NHS Lothian, said the group is “very disappointed” the licences were granted.
Edinburgh licensing board convener Eric Milligan said: “Applications for new off-sales premises are always carefully considered, with decisions being influenced by factors such as existing provision and the number of similar premises nearby.”