Fears for ‘runaway’ Shetland pony spark objection to new off-licence

County Hall, the headquarters of Durham County Council.
County Hall, the headquarters of Durham County Council.
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A runaway Shetland pony has been cited among reasons why council bosses should refuse plans for a new village off-licence.

County hall chiefs are due to decide next week whether to grant an alcohol licence to a planned shop in Front Street, Sherburn Village.

The applicant, named in Durham County Council documents as Amrik Singh, has requested permission to sell alcohol from 11am – 9.30pm Monday – Saturday and 12pm – 8.30pm on Sundays.

But despite several letters to the council supporting Mr Singh, others, including Durham Constabulary, have criticised the scheme

While police have raised concerns about increased congestion and binge drinking fears, one submission to the Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee was  concerns about the impact such a store could have on a nearby family pet pony.

It said: “It [the pony] got out this morning and was running up and down front street causing a lot of problems with the traffic before they caught it.

“I personally think an alcohol shop next door to a young family is a very bad idea.

“Having a Shetland pony in the front garden does not cause any problems at the moment but if the licence is granted, youths could cause a lot of distress to the animal [sic].”

Among the submissions to the committee were three letters praising Mr Sing’s character, while nine were received opposing the scheme.

Council licensing officers have made several recommendations they want to see included to prevent under-age alcohol sales.

Planning officers have also noted that changing the premises from its current designated use as an office to a shop would require a separate application for a temporary or permanent alteration.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service