Wisbech off-licence review adjourned... after councillor refuses to drive to hearing in the snow

Councillor Kay Mayor.

Councillor Kay Mayor. - Credit: Archant

A DECISION on whether to review the premises licence of a Wisbech store was adjourned today - because one councillor declared an interest and another refused to drive in the snow.

Councillor David Connor.

Councillor David Connor. - Credit: Archant

Councillor Kay Mayor, Mayor of Whittlesey, said she could not attend the hearing of Fenland District Council’s Licensing Committee, held 12 miles away in March, because of the icy roads.

Wisbech Off Licence.

Wisbech Off Licence. - Credit: Archant

It means that police calls for the review of Wisbech Off Licence, in Nene Quay, will have to wait until next month after Councillor David Connor was also unable to sit on the panel.

Cllr Connor owns flats at Albion Granary, which neighbours the off-licence, and he said it would therefore be “inappropriate” for him to consider the case.

Police have claimed that Wisbech Off Licence is fuelling street drinking and anti-social behaviour by selling single cans of high-strength alcohol. Non-duty paid cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco have also been found in the store.

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But a police application to review the licence, held by Zagros Abdullah, will now be heard on February 4 after there were no more substitute councillors to sit on today’s panel.

Cllr Mayor said: “I didn’t go because of the weather, I don’t drive in the snow.

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“I know the main roads are clear but if there was another bucket-full I didn’t want to be marooned in March.

“My first accident with a vehicle was in these sort of conditions and it really unnerves me, so that was the reason I didn’t go.”

Andrea Parsons, a resident of Albion Granary, had supported the review of the premises licence.

She said she was “sick and tired of groups of Eastern European men coming into our car-park to drink their cans of alcohol which they purchase from this off-licence, and then use our car ports as toilets”.

Cllr Connor told the meeting: “I would like to declare an interest on the basis that I own a property at Albion Granary.

“Given this is part of the police report and a submission from another interested party, I feel it would not be appropriate for me to sit on the panel today.”

Police say they have found people loitering outside the off-licence drinking alcohol and that many of the street-drinking incidents they deal with in Wisbech occur in areas around the shop.

Sgt Dave Bax, licensing officer for Fenland, said: “The premise is supporting street drinking by selling single cans of chilled high-strength lager.

“This is adding to anti-social behaviour, nuisance, littering, public urination and defecation.”

Lawyers acting for Mr Abdullah have told the council that the application for a licence review is “unnecessary and disproportionate”.

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