Booze outlet capped
A COMMUNITY is overjoyed by a decision to prevent a booze merchant setting up a new outlet in its neighbourhood.
On June 20 the Liquor Licensing Authority heard arguments from those on both sides about the establishment of a bottle store in Mt Albert. The application was refused.
Last December Emkay Trading applied for a licence to establish an off-licence to be called Kiwi Drive Liquor at the corner of New North Rd and Asquith Ave sparking a massive community response opposing the plan, Central Leader, December 20.
A hearing was held last month in which some of the 700 who either submitted or signed a petition against the proposed shop had their say.
The hopes of the community have been surpassed by the decision.
Before the hearing opponent Francis Mortimer said they had been hopeful of a reduction of the proposed trading hours of 7am to midnight.
‘‘We won,’’ he says. ‘‘The decision is somewhat unprecedented as normally these applications are approved with restrictive conditions.’’
Another opponent Sir Harold Marshall represented the Methodist Church and says the decision has been met with ‘‘general delight’’.
‘‘It’s what we hoped for, we hoped in the new city community organisations could have an active role in ensuring their place remains their place and they have a degree of control in what happens.’’
The 11-page decision was made available to parties on Monday and the Central Leader has seen parts of it.
In it the Liquor Licensing Authority says it reached the conclusion the applicant was ‘‘not suitable to hold an offlicence’’.
It cited evidence from submitters in which they demonstrated the applicant had breached licence conditions at another Mt Albert outlet, Kiwi Liquor, by selling outside of the hours of trade.
‘‘The applicant must have appreciated from a perusal of the letters of objection that the way in which he has recently been operating Kiwi Liquor was of concern to most of the objectors,’’ the decision states.
‘‘He cannot have been surprised at the evidence that came out in the hearing. He made no attempt in his evidence to justify his recent conduct of Kiwi Liquor ...’’
Because the obligation to prove one’s suitability rests with an applicant he would have been required to demonstrate this in the face of such allegations and ‘‘this did not happen’’.
The decision also cited the presence of a poorly lit car park behind the site which could be used by people wishing to pre-load, the closeness of Ferndale Park, the presence of boarding houses ‘‘containing vulnerable young men’’ and a nearby Alcoholics Anonymous premises.
Alcohol Healthwatch spokeswoman Rebecca Williams says the decision is a good one for communities.
‘‘As of June 19 the new criteria for liquor objections came into force so the Liquor Licensing Authority can now take into account community concern.’’