Friday, February 26, 2010

Tesco lose Mill Road Alcohol Appeal

I understand Tesco have lost their appeal yesterday against the Council's refusal to give them a licence to sell alcohol from their new store on Mill Road.

Despite offering to implement a variety of new conditions to restrict the types and times they would sell alcohol, the magistrates listened to objectors and upheld the Council's original decision.

Looks like those promotional posters will have to carry on gathering dust in the store room.


Frugal Dougal said...

This really gets me angry. If Mill Road is such a disorder area, why are more shops not banned from selling alcohol, or at least strong, cheap lager and cider? Personally I like the Mill Road Tesco Store, and its presence there as the only real competitor to the Co-op seems to be the reason for the Co-op having a bit of a clean. That's capitalism, thank God.

Anonymous said...

I can't say I'm pleased either. Another successful lawful business being prevented from providing a service to a majority of law abiding people by a small minority of whingeing anti-capitalists and the drink fuelled actions of a few very poorly behaved members of society.

Perhaps if the police were to spend their time prosecuting people for drunken disorder offences and dealing properly with known trouble spots rather than objecting to Tesco applications, society would be a better place?

Martin said...

The two posters above are completely missing the point that the police opposition (and much of the local opposition) would have been exactly the same had it been any other business wanting to add to the number of outlets selling booze on Mill Road.

Tesco merely happen to be the first company to apply in this area that has now become a cumulative impact zone. If others come along, the police will undoubtedly object in the same way (though smaller businesses don't have the resources to fight such decisions in the way that Tesco does).

It is quite reasonable for the City Council to designate an area as such, so that the alcohol problem in the area can be brought under control.

Ruth said...

I don't think I've ever before heard the police described as "whingeing anti-capitalists"!

Tesco selling cheap drink on Mill Road would not be providing a service to an area already swimming in drink, they would be adding to a serious existing problem in a desperate attempt to get their failing store to actually start turning a profit.

Frugal Dougal doesn't seem to understand what a Cumulative Impact Zone is: you can't just go around taking licences off existing, legally operating businesses because there's a problem with the wider area – not in a capitalist democracy, at least. What you can do, though, is stop new licences adding to the problem, and that's exactly what has happened here. So Tesco gets treated like any other operator who wanted to start selling cheap alcohol in the area: big deal.

It was interesting to see that the day after Tesco's national licensing manager was challenged in court about Tesco's corporate responsibility statement that they "do not apply for licences in areas with known disorder issues" the statement disappeared from their website. So, presumably, when they appeal the East Road licence refusal they'll be able to say that it is their corporate policy to apply for licences in areas with serious, alcohol-related disorder problems. No doubt the police will be greatly reassured.

Frugal Dougal said...

Ruth, I think you echo my point when you say that the area is "swimming in drink". It isn't, actually, but there is certainly too much cheap strong lager and cider on sale there. I am not pushing for licences to be removed (although why does almost every grocer and newsagent have to be an off-license?), I just want the cheap stuff to be reduced in quantity and raised in price. This is why I admire Tesco: in one area where a problem was identified with adults buying 9% lager in its store and selling it to minors out of sight, it responded, after a liaison wit hthe police surgery process, by removing said lager from sale. How many small off-licenses in Mill Road have done this?

David Vincent said...

I am happy that Dougal likes and uses the Tesco Express. And also, presumably, the Co-op (since he notes the changing standards of cleanliness) and the local other local shops (since he pays attention to the price and strength of the drinks on sale). What the area needs is people who use a wide variety of local shops. The continuing absence of alcohol at least means that the Tesco Express is able to maintain its current, rather limited stock, rather than scrapping a lot of it to make way for cabinets of middle-priced beer and shelves of middle-riced wine.

John Webb said...

I am amused Ruth, that my comment about the whingeing anti-capitalists could be interpreted as referring to the Police - not exactly what I intended ... oops!

However, the police reflect the priorities not of the wider society of which each individual policeman is part, but of an elite minority of left leaning politicians, councillors and members of quangos who decide what is good for the rest of us.

My objection to CIZ and companies such as Tesco being prevented from opening is a wider one. I simply do not believe that the criminal actions of one should be controlled by differential regulations on new businesses.

It may be one thing to argue that all businesses in Mill Road/Cambridge/the UK may sell no alcohol or restrict all their sales, just as all drivers are asked to obey the speed limit for public safety. It would however be an outrage if, say, drivers who have been driving down Mill Road all their lives were allowed to drive at an unlimited speed whereas new drivers were limited to 20 mph or even prevented from driving at all.

David Vincent said...

Good to see John Webb has remembered his name. And I see the police are now representing an "elite minority of left-leaning.." etc (presumably something that slipped their minds when they made their recent objections to Strawberry Fair). There are certainly some libertarian arguments for removing all planning and licensing controls on businesses and developments. Unrestricted housing development on the green belt and beyond would eventually produce the necessary equilibrium in house prices and I imagine the market would correct itself over the years. Initially, we would probably see most Mill Road shops close and be replaced with residential units, but once that had reached saturation we might see one or two reopening. And since everybody would be able to sell alcohol from their own front room, the drunks and beggars would be quite undisturbed.