Wisbech residents and businesses protest against new off-licence

15:30 22 January 2013

Wisbech Market place,

Wisbech Market place,

Archant

MORE than 230 Wisbech residents and businesses have signed a petition against a grocery store’s application to sell alcohol in the town centre,

Polska Chata, of 50 Market Place, Wisbech, will have its fate determined at a licensing hearing next Monday.

There are already more than 70 licensed premises in Wisbech town centre and police have raised concerns about street drinking, public urination and littering.

Karsan Modha, owner of Market News on Market Place, said: “From my personal experience most newly granted premises with the right to sell alcohol have only added to the amount of people loitering around town and thus has resulted in more people being drunk in the market place.

“I have had my shop window broken twice this year alone due to the perpetrators being under the influence of alcohol when arrested by the Police.”

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 101 street drinking incidents, 1,156 Anti Social behaviour incidents, 51 arrests for alcohol related incidents and 253 alcohol seizures recorded in Wisbech.

Another objector, Michael Carrington said: “The amount of damage to premises in Wisbech means it resembles the German Towns pre-war after the notorious ‘Crystal Night’.

“That is to say most premises have had windows smashed in and this detracts from the town image.

“I have had a camper van and my car windscreen smashed open by a drunken person.

“To grant further licences would only exacerbate these problems, leading to an ever increasing spiral of damage, and therefore more businesses leaving the town, adding to an already large pool of unemployed persons.”

The Police has recommended no single can or bottle sales of beer, lager or cider and no sales of beer, lager or cider over six per cent ABV should be allowed.

The owner of Polska Chata has said CCTV will be in operation and a metal security grill will be installed at the shop’s front entrance.

A refusal log and robust age verification scheme have also been promised.

But Wisbech resident Eileen Seigl said: “Wisbech is in need of many things but another alcohol unit is not one of them. “Excessive alcohol consumption, with its detrimental consequences, is ruining the image and reputation of the town.

“The situation must be tackled before it spirals out of control.”

The hearing takes place at 10.30am on Monday January 28 at the Richard Young Suite, the Boathouse, Wisbech.

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