Kent Police object to Gillingham shop’s alcohol bid

By Katie May Nelson, Local Democracy Reporter

Baba Food and Wine, 73 High Street, Gillingham. Photo: Google Streetview via LDRS

Street drinking will rise if a town centre convenience store is allowed to sell alcohol, say Kent Police.

The force said Gillingham High Street “suffers greatly” with street drinkers in a letter to Medway Council.

It is opposing an application put forward by Baba Food Centre who want to sell alcohol from 5.30am until 10pm every day.

In a letter to the authority, PC Andre Smuts said: “The area suffers with a high volume of alcohol related crime, disorder, and public nuisance.

“It is also covered by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), commonly known as an Alcohol Control Zones.

“Street drinkers are often located consuming alcohol on the public benches outside of St Marks Church at the junction of High Street with Canterbury Street and on the benches directly outside of a premises linked to this application, Baba Food and Wine at 73 High Street Gillingham.

“Street Drinkers are persons who tend to be alcohol dependant and will drink alcohol in public.

“Street drinking and associated antisocial behaviour can impact on people’s perception of the physical environment and more importantly their quality of life and safety.”

The council’s public health department also raised similar concerns, adding there is an on-going issue with the level of discarded bottles and cans in the area, and with public urination around the church grounds.

The plans will be discussed during a meeting of the authority’s licensing hearing panel on Wednesday, January 26.