Silverstream: DLA listens to schools opposition to Off-licence

An off-licence liquor store proposed for Fergusson Dr, directly opposite St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, would shut its doors at school finishing time, a Liquor Licensing Authority hearing in Upper Hutt has been told.

On all school days the “stand alone” business would close for the hour between 2.45pm and 3.45pm, the applicant, Bhavna Patel, told a recent licensing hearing at the Upper Hutt District Court.

“The store will be closed when school is finished,” Mrs Patel said in her formal address to the one-day commission of inquiry.

“That’s a good way of preventing children from accessing the store,” she said.

An authority decision on whether an off-licence at 206 Fergusson Dr will be allowed to begin trading is expected mid-October, after Judge Bill Unwin formally reserved his decision.

Public advertising of the proposed off-licence attracted more than 130 submissions in opposition, including nearby schools St Patrick’s Silverstream College and Silverstream Primary School.

Several community-based objectors detailed their opposition, collectively arguing against the suitability of the proposed business and questioning Mrs Patel.

Many of the issues in opposition were heard in detail, but may not be relevant to a decision which will made strictly under the Sale of Liquor Act.

Opening the application by Patel Holdings Ltd for a “stand alone bottle store,” counsel Jonathan Scragg commented on the high number of objections.

But he also clearly drew attention to the fact there was “no opposition by the New Zealand Police, by the District Licensing Authority and the Regional Medical Officer of Health”.

The submissions “appear primarily to be from the local community, including schools”, Mr Scragg noted.
A seven-days-a-week convenience store is now operating at the Fergusson Dr location.

If the liquor licence is granted, Mrs Patel told the hearing that business would cease and the building used solely as an off-licence.

It would open seven days, from 9am to 9pm Sunday to Thursday, and 9am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday (with the afternoon closure).

The proposed off-licence’s “fit” with the Silverstream suburban community, where a 24-hour alcohol ban operates, was a constant point in opposition.

>via By COLIN WILLIAMS – Upper Hutt Leader

This issue was one my own family had discussed, and I personally consulted the District Licensing Authority run by the Upper Hutt City Council, when this first arose. The issue given the number of objections had been forwarded to the Liquor Licensing Authority (LLA), and this is where we are at yesterday, decision due mid October.

Unfortunately under current legislation in NZ, the LLA can only consider applications based upon the context of the Liquor Act. Mrs Patel is doing no wrong under this act, and as such has made a consideration for her licence application by closing her shop doors in the period raised by objectors, something she did not have to do, but no doubt to appease those greatly concerned.

The Judge while reserving his decision is faced with the context of the law, and while aware of objections I believe will have no other position available than to grant the application with provisos of the applicant, that is closing in the period she mentioned. He has a number of discretionary conditions he can put on the application as well. The Police and other agencies are also tied by the fact that the applicant is doing no wrong in applying and not breaking any rules, just applying for a commercial licence to sell liquor as is allowed in NZ.
The fault lies with current legislation that does not take into consideration public concerns around liquor distribution,and the current backlash against liquor outlets that has increased in recent times. New legislation is before Parliament in May next year I think, to change the context of the act, but that could take several months knowing legalisation.

So rightfully the Judge has reserved his decision, to get a feel for the lie of the land, consult precedents in the act, but sorry even though I think this should not go ahead from a personal perspective cannot see how the licence will not be granted.

Take heed that the Police are actively managing bad outlets to combat problems in this area, strongly in the Hutt Valley. If you are caught selling to underaged or other infringements under the act it is highly unlikely your licence will not be renewed. Unfortunately current crap legislation opened the gate to the growth of suburban liquor outlets, without input from the community. We were suppose to be a mature nation around liquor consumption.

Until such time as Mrs Patel makes an error under the act, she has a legal and valid reason to open an outlet no matter how many objections.

In conclusion I’m glad I’m not the Judge, precedents are always allowed to be queried, he will be looking around the rest of the country for some way to satisfy objectors while not breaking what is the context of the act, free enterprise in the right to sell liquor.

I like many in Silverstream await the judgement.

Silverstream: Application for Off-licence across from school goes to District Court.

A hearing to decide whether an off-licence alcohol business on Fergusson Dr, Silverstream, will go ahead will take place next month.

The Liquor Licensing Authority hearing will be on Friday, September 11, at the Upper Hutt District Court, before a judge.

Public advertising of the off-licence proposal attracted more than 130 submissions.

They included strong and organised opposition from the local community, particularly from Silverstream School.

People who made submissions can speak at the authority hearing.

The off-licence is planned to operate from the shopping strip opposite St Patrick’s College Silverstream, in an area where drinking alcohol in public is banned.

via Stuff

We recently had a lengthy debate over this issue via Twitter on HuttNZ and within my own family. It would appear that the 130 submissions is not enough to deter the District Licensing Authority from continuing with providing an avenue for this off-licence to go ahead. But to put it in perspective, I did speak to the UHCC over this and the application was raised to the District authority level given the number of negative submissions (its the course of law).
I would hope that the weight of these submissions is enough, and physical presence is not required to show that the general public is against this off licence occurring.

The nearest place to get “hard liquor” is across the railway tracks at Charltons Bar, which has an off licence which is not particularly popular or well advertised. But free enterprise being what it is, Mr Patel has every right to see if he can gain the right.

Do you think it is necessary to offer another so close?

Posted via web from HuttNZ’s posterous

Lower Hutt: Liquor outlets targeted by Police

Half the on-licensed Lower Hutt premises visited in a recent police operation were caught selling alcohol to minors.

Ten premises were visited in Operation Vespa, with five caught breaking the law by selling to under-age patrons.

Sergeant Andrew Smith of Lower Hutt police said the results of the operation were disappointing.

“Only 50 per cent of those tested demonstrated they are conscientious about their obligations under the (Sale of Liquor) Act and serious about protecting our young people from liquor abuse.”

He said some of the breaches carried fines of up to $10,000.

The operation was part of an overall campaign to reduce the incidents of alcohol-related harm in the Hutt Valley, and Mr Smith said there would be more operations in the near future. Earlier operations had resulted in convictions at Eastbourne and NaeNae. Earlier operations show the local police take this facet of liquor licencing seriously.

Eastbourne: Two more caught in selling alcohol to minors

wo Eastbourne businesses and their employess are facing prosecution after selling alcohol to two 16 year old girls.

Part of a late last month crackdown of around 15 outlets around the Lower Hutt area both the Eastbourne 4 Square and the Lifeboat Tavern were caught. This is a continuing undertaking by Hutt Valley Police to monitor underage liquor purchase . Recently a Naenae liquor store was prosecuted as a result of this crackdown.

Police have filed reports with the Liquor Licensing Authority and will be charging the employees involved with the sale of liquor to minors.

Naenae: Liquor Prosecution for selling to minor

Treadwell  St NaeNae Liquor Store (here) will face a 2 day suspension of its licence to sell alcohol following a breach of the Sale of Liquor Act.

Police say alcohol was sold to a minor. The General Managers certificate, issued to Chhagan Patel, will also be suspended for a longer period of 4 weeks for failing to conduct the premises in a proper manner.

Lower Hutt police ran a controlled operation where a minor was asked to enter the store and purchase liquor. Its alleged the sales person made no inquiry as to the customers age nor requested any form of ID.