16th November 2022

The Surbiton Labour Branch attended the Kingston Council Licensing Sub Committee to comment on an application for an Off-licence on Victoria Road.

We are also calling on the Council to make Surbiton high street a controlled drinking zone.

At the meeting we raised concerns on the impact another all day off-licence would have on the local area.

Labour’s James Stanton said: “We have no problem at all with off licenses and fully support all businesses looking to develop. However, this is a particularly sensitive location that requires some additional conditions to make it safe, which the initial terms fell short of.

Street drinking is a problem. Unfortunately, it is something that harms both the individual and affects the wider community through anti-social behavior, littering and begging. With the Conservative cuts to police numbers, it is not something the police are focused on, and was not addressed by the local police within the conditions for the licensing terms.”

We are really pleased some of our concerns have now been addressed within the licensing terms.

These include:

  • Limiting the sale of single sale cans and super strength drinks, which have been linked to substance abuse and deaths.

Super strength alcoholic drinks have been called “The killer on Britain’s streets” The homeless charity Thames Reach estimated in 2017 that 98% of its clients drink high-strength ciders and beers.

A survey of deaths among Thames Reach’s hostel residents found that 10 out of the 16 in the year 2017 were directly attributable to super-strength drinks. The previous year, 11 out of 14 deaths were blamed on the drinks. (Source: The Guardian 12 Nov 2017)

  • A commitment to not serving those in the community who are causing issues, and battling problems. This would have added to temptation for example those who receive support from the nearby YMCA, who battle addiction and substance misuse.

We are grateful to the business owner for his understanding and willingness to support our requests and make such a business work within the challenges that our local area faces.

We are still waiting to hear from the council regarding our additional recommendation for tackling substance misuse and anti social behavior on the high street via a controlled drinking zone. This would give police powers to stop open drinking of alcohol on the high street where it is contributing to anti-social behavior.

We call on the Council to support responsible businesses owners and the local community in providing a safer high streets for all.

Additional Notes:

Anti-social behavior Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives powers to police and councils to tackle anti-social behavior. The measures do not ban drinking in a public place unless there is, or there is likely to be, associated anti-social behavior. A breach of an order under the act only takes place when an individual refuses to surrender their alcohol to a police officer or other designated enforcement officer.

Surbiton Highstreet, Victoria Road
Surbiton Highstreet, Victoria Road
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