Post office wins drink licence to help it stay in business
A POST office has been granted permission to double up as an off-licence after its manager told officials it was the only way he could stay afloat.
Councillors approved the application despite pleas from both police and their own licensing team to reject the application because of problems with street drinkers.
Stewart Gibson, representing sub-postmaster Lakhvir Singh Samra, said selling alcohol for ‘relatively modest hours’ was needed to save the business in Bedminster, Bristol.
The Daily Mail is campaigning to prevent the closure of post offices – in April 2,500 subpostmasters warned they could close or downsize over the next 12 months.
Mr Gibson told the licensing committee: ‘The post office is in decline, as many are. In its current state, the business will not survive.
‘This is part of an extensive investment into the post office premises. Mr Samra has been running that business for the last ten years and is an upstanding member of the community.
‘He knows who the street drinkers are and has banned them from the post office.’
Mr Gibson said no objections had been received from neighbours. But Avon and Somerset Police registered its opposition, saying 8,000 hours of officers’ time had been spent dealing with alcohol issues in the street over the past year.
The force’s licensing officer, Louise Mowbray, told Bristol council: ‘This is the second most problematic street in Avon & Somerset to do with alcohol-related issues.’
But licensing sub- committee chairman Peter Abraham concluded: ‘We recognise the police and licensing authority’s concerns on crime and disorder.
‘However, we do consider this application would be unlikely to add to the problems.’
The panel granted the application with conditions, including the installation of CCTV and the continuation of a post office at the premises.
Earlier this year a post office in Reading was granted an alcohol licence after a committee was told it wasn’t making enough money.
Around £110million has been wiped off postmaster pay since 2012, even as top executives continued to claim huge bonuses.