Supermarket delivery service seeking alcohol licence at Brighton and Hove sites

New online supermarket delivery service Weezy has applied for an alcohol licence as it sets up at two sites in Brighton and Hove.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 11:08 am

But the company faces opposition to its plans to sell alcohol as part of its fast groceries delivery service.

Weezy aims to operate out of Lower Goods Yard, in Trafalgar Street, Brighton, and Newtown Road Estate, in Newtown Road, Hove.

The Trafalgar Street site is on the border of Brighton and Hove City Council’s “cumulative impact zone” and “special stress area” both of which are subject to stricter licensing rules.

The tougher rules reflect the high number of businesses selling alcohol in those areas and the level of alcohol-related crime, disorder, anti-social behaviour and public nuisance.

The council’s policy is to refuse new off-licence applications unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Weezy said: “We have considered the reasons for the policy, namely the problems associated with street drinking, proxy purchasing, dispersal issues, preloading and excessive drinking and related disorder, and believe this application, due to the applicant’s trading model, will not have an adverse impact.

“We believe that the premises will be a welcome addition for the community who wish to order grocery shopping online and have it delivered.”

The company policy bans alcohol deliveries to any public or open space and all sales must be prepaid using a debit or credit card.

Weezy wants to be able to deliver alcohol from 7am to 11pm from its new premises which will not be open to the public.

The North Laine Community Association objected to the application for Trafalgar Street, saying that it was concerned about the possibility of “unruly crowds” from the Green Door Store night club and pubs in the area, leading to safety issues.

The community association said: “Since the introduction of flexible opening hours in 2003, residents have had to put up with increased levels of noise from drinkers during the day and night, leading to increased levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

“We believe that by granting this application it would add to the cumulative impact.”

The association often opposes new alcohol licence applications, saying that 80 licensed businesses operate within 600 square metres of the small, tight-knit residential community.

Sussex Police raised concerns about proxy sales – adults buying alcohol for under 18s – and alcohol deliveries into the “cumulative impact zone” which covers a swathe of central Brighton.

A letter from an unnamed Sussex Police licensing officer said: “This style of operation would allow for underage persons to use another person’s credit card or debit card to purchase alcohol for delivery or allow a person who is alcohol-dependent to purchase alcohol.

“Sussex Police have concerns over delivery drivers having the confidence to refuse a delivery at the customer’s house, especially if they are heavily intoxicated and become threatening or abusive.”

The force is also concerned about the increasing number of delivery bikes, both powered and unpowered, on the roads.

The force was the only objector to the Hove site, raising concerns about proxy sales and “two-wheeled delivery vehicles”.

The council’s licensing department had concerns about the Brighton site, saying that the business would be in the St Peter’s and North Laine electoral ward.

St Peter’s and North Laine is ranked worst out of 21 council wards for police-recorded alcohol-related incidents and second-worst for sexual offences, non-injury assault, all injury violence and all violence against the person.

It is also the worst for high-risk drinking and alcohol-related ambulance call-outs.

The applications are due to be discussed at a council licensing panel hearing starting at 10am on Monday April 26. The virtual hearing should be webcast on the council website.