Ringwood Tesco granted alcohol licence by New Forest District Council despite 'heroin dealing' claims
A TESCO outlet in a parade of Ringwood shops has been granted a late-night licence to sell alcohol despite claims by objectors of heroin dealing nearby.
The store at Butlers Lane in Poulner can now sell alcohol from 6am to midnight every day after it was given the green light from New Forest District Council’s licensing sub-committee.
Members said in their decision: "The sub-committee acknowledged the concerns raised. However, it was mindful that the police, as a responsible authority and the key advisor on crime and disorder, had not objected to the application.
"Furthermore it had not heard any convincing evidence demonstrating a causal link between alcohol sales and criminal activity in the local area, even though there were other premises nearby – the Winebox – licensed for off-sales."
Claims had been made at an earlier hearing by members of the Ringwood Recovery Group (RRG) that giving Tesco the licence could "exacerbate" existing anti-social behaviour problems.
One, Kevin Jones, claimed that "people go to that area to pick up their heroin".
Objectors also said the parade of shops had covenants attached to protect the outlets, boost diversity and stop price wars. That prevented Tesco from selling alcohol, for example, while the Wine Box can sell booze but not other items stocked by its neighbour, they claimed.
But Jeremy Bark, Tesco’s lawyer, denied knowledge of any criminal problems nearby, adding prices were set by Tesco regionally and it was a responsible operator with a host of measures to stop problems occurring, such as CCTV.
He also highlighted there had been no objections from any responsible authorities, including Hampshire police.