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    Alcohol licence refused for Brighton shop

    Mazar Market 56 Western Road Brighton (Photo: LDRS)

    By Sarah Booker-Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

    A convenience store owner has been refused a drinks licence after councillors shared police concerns about his lack of experience.

    Masam Haidari, 30, owner of Mazar Market, in Western Road, Brighton, wanted to sell alcohol from 8am to 11pm “to meet customer demand”.

    The business is in the former Santander bank building which was previously a BetFred branch and more recently Kantina café.

    It is in a busy area, known as the cumulative impact zone (CIZ), where Brighton and Hove City Council has a policy of restricting new off-licences because of the high concentration of alcohol-led businesses and crime.

    At a council licensing panel hearing on 20 February, Sussex Police licensing officer Mark Thorogood asked councillors to refuse the application, citing concerns about crime levels and the number of off-licences in the area.

    Sussex Police recorded 143 violent crimes, 97 cases of anti-social behaviour, 46 incidents of public disorder and 31 of criminal damage within a radius of 175 yards (160 metres) of Mazar Market in the year before the application.

    Mr Thorogood said that between the start of Western Road and Norfolk Square, there were already six off-licences, with three trading for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Mr Haidari’s agent, Oisin Daly, of Absolute Licensing Solutions, said that the council could attach extra conditions to a licence such as a requirement that customers spend more on groceries than alcohol.

    She accepted the possibility of a licence covering fewer hours before a panel consisting of three councillors – Faiza Baghoth, Emma Daniel and Tobias Sheard.

    After the hearing, the council wrote to Mr Haidari, saying: “The panel is very mindful of the location of these premises in the centre of the (cumulative impact zone).

    “The police have provided evidence of high levels of crime and disorder in the area and a relatively high number of existing off-licences close by.

    “The applicant made no reference to the location of the premises in their application.

    “The panel can see nothing exceptional about the business as it is similar to many other premises close by who sell groceries alongside alcohol.

    “It has given consideration to the condition offered by the applicant whereby alcohol is ancillary to other groceries but considers that such a condition would be difficult to manage in practice and could lead to friction.

    “The lack of experience of the applicant in managing licensed premises was also a concern given the location of these premises within such a challenging area and the complex and detailed nature of the conditions accepted and proposed.

    “It was not considered that reducing the hours for sale of alcohol would mitigate the risk as challenges such as proxy sales, street drinking and anti-social behaviour existing during the day too.

    “Overall, the panel are concerned that this would be another premises selling alcohol for consumption off the premises and, sharing the concerns of the police and licensing authority, consider it is likely to add to the cumulative impact of problems already in the area.”

    Mr Haidari can appeal against the panel’s decision.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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