Colne shop told to improve staff training and CCTV

By Robbie Macdonald, Local Democracy Reporter

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Headline News at North Valley Road, Colne (Photo: Google Street View)

Management at a Colne shop have been told to carry out staff and CCTV training, after a Pendle Council licensing meeting heard concerns from trading standards and police officers.

Elsewhere, a convenience store in Nelson has had a bid for a 24-hour licence to sell alcohol refused.

In the first case, Headline News at North Valley Road, Colne, has been told to make improvements or it could face a further review of its licensable activities.

Shop premises licence holder Shahzad Azam attended the recent Pendle licensing meeting with his wife, Maymoona Arshad, and his solicitor, David Lawson.

Lauren Manning, a Lancashire County Council trading standards officer, and Lancashire Police’s PC Michael Jones spoke about licensing objectives regarding the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.

A Pendle Council report from the meeting states: “Councillors felt that there was not enough evidence to prove that the four licensing objectives were not being met by Headline News. However, it was shown and acknowledged that improved staff training was needed and there had been a lapse in compliance with some conditions.”

Councillors on the committee, chaired by Coun Jenny Purcell, decided not to modify the licence conditions, nor remove a licensable activity, nor remove Mr Azam as the designated premises supervisor; nor suspend or revoke the licence.

However, Mr Azam was told to provide evidence of staff training and CCTV training within three months. He was also reminded that all licence conditions must be met and, if not, a further review would be expected.

Mr Azam and his wife declined to comment.

Meanwhile the Premier convenience store at Hill Place, Nelson, has been refused permission for a 24-hour alcohol license.

Applicant Mohammed Ajaz Ahmed attended another recent licensing meeting with Mohammad Saad. Also there was Wajed Iqbal, a Pendle Council licensing officer, and Lancashire Police Sgt Gary Hennighan attended on behalf of PC Michael Jones.

Councillors refused the shop’s request for a 24-hour variation to the license. Councillors reasons were because both the borough council and police had objected to the application, and there were concerns about noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour.

A licensing report stated: “A 24-hour licence would cause noise nuisance from cars coming and going, and footfall [visitors] during the night. There was also concern that it could cause youths to congregate around the shop, causing anti-social behaviour outside and in the neighbourhood. There is also concern about issues of confrontation to passers-by, in particular early morning dog-walkers.”

The report adds: “There is no general presumption in favour of lengthening licensing hours. The four licensing objectives are of paramount consideration.”

The report added that the Premier Hill Place shop’s operating schedule did not adequately show Mr Ahmed had properly considered what is right for the area when considering hours and activities  It also said he has not shown appropriate steps to minimise any adverse impact on residents or other local businesses; or how the shop would operate within the wider context of other premises nearby.

The report added: “This application is significantly out-of-character for the locality, because currently only supermarkets and petrol stations in Nelson have a 24-hour licence. Petrol stations’ main business is supplying fuel so car noise is expected. Supermarket 24- hour alcohol sales are mitigated by robust policies on alcohol sales.

“The applicant has not demonstrated that granting the [longer] hours will not impact on licensing objectives, given the potential for neighbouring premises to seek the same additional hours to prevent rivals gaining a commercial advantage.”