Row over plans for new village off licence

Coun Jeff Milburn with Fiona Milburn and resident Gerry Ash outside the shop on Station Road, East Boldon
Coun Jeff Milburn with Fiona Milburn and resident Gerry Ash outside the shop on Station Road, East Boldon
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A COUNCILLOR isn’t smiling over plans for a new booze outlet in his ward.

The latest branch of Smiler News opened earlier this week at a former newsagents’ in Station Approach, East Boldon.

And the convenience store owners have applied for a licence to sell alcohol from 6.30am to 10pm.

It is a move which has angered Coun Jeff Milburn, who represents Cleadon and East Boldon.

He claims there are already enough booze outlets in the area and wants licensing officers to reject the application.

But shop owner Saimah Iqbal has hit back at the allegation, claiming the new premises would be the only retailer in the shopping parade with a licence to sell alcohol.

Coun Milburn, who was alerted to the application by a resident, said: “There are already too many alcohol outlets in East Boldon and we don’t need another one.

“My constituents often complain to me that premises that sell alcohol are a gathering ground for youths and antisocial behaviour.

“There seems to be a booze outlet on every corner these days and it’s a question of enough is enough.

“We need to draw the line. East Boldon is a quiet village and we’d like to keep it that way.”

Mrs Iqbal is also licensee of two other Smiler outlets, in Front Street, East Boldon, and in Boldon Colliery.

She said: “If you look at Station Approach there are not that many premises with alcohol licences close by, the nearest to us is Sainsburys.

“I don’t believe Coun Milburn has a valid argument.

“Our two other businesses have been granted licences to sell alcohol and we have no problems at either store.

“I can’t see there being any problem at Station Approach either.”

A judgement on the application is expected before the end of the month.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho