Outlet’s location criticised
A bottle store to be built opposite a church in Cromwell has sparked criticism from health professionals and the community.
The Central Otago District Licensing Committee has approved an off-licence application for Cromwell Liquor Limited to establish a Henry’s Liquor outlet on Elspeth Street, which will be part of a wider retail development.
Lynn Grace, submitting on behalf of the Medical Officer of Health, said while initially they had not objected to the application, they had overlooked there was a church nearby.
Health Care South believed the close proximity of the community church was an issue, Grace said, as outlined in the committee’s written decision.
‘‘A place of religious gathering or assembly is identified in many Local Alcohol Policies (LAP) as a ‘sensitive premises’...Without progression of the draft LAP for Central Otago, [it] leaves the community vulnerable to the saturation, density and extended hours of alcohol availability and the harms that come with that.’’
Christine Hansen, representing session members of the Cromwell and Districts Presbyterian Church, argued the ‘‘amenity and good order of the locality would likely be reduced to more than minor’’ and the business plan lacked responsibility for outcomes resulting from the sale of alcohol. The church was located directly across the road from the bottle store, was often frequented by elderly and ‘‘otherwise vulnerable folk’’, and session members believed the presence of an alcohol retailer so close to the church could be intimidating. There were also five other liquor outlets in the area.
Tam Schurmann with her daugter Jessie, 5, who is one of helpers when putting together the baskets.