More than 40 objections lodged over plans for new Sunderland city centre off-licence booze bid

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More than 40 objections have been lodged over plans for a new city centre off-licence to sell booze.

Last year, Varkey’s Shoppings Limited lodged a bid for a shop at Phoenix House, Union Street, next to Subway.

As part of the planned city centre move, a premises licence bid was submitted to Sunderland City Council.

Later this week, a hearing will take place to make a final decision on the application.

This follows a 42-signature petition signed by business owners, residents and shoppers claiming the shop could harm existing trade in the area.

The petition reads: “Nearby businesses selling alcohol are already on their knees struggling to stay open.

“More competition would make existing businesses suffer and may lead to shop closures and job losses.

“In that area alone within a half mile radius there are approximately six retail outlets that sell alcohol, no more are needed.

“The Business Improvement District and Sunderland City Council claim they’re trying to help shops stay open on the high street, this will have an impact on small independent retail outlets.”

Other concerns raised in the petition include wider impacts of anti-social behaviour, littering and pressure on police and ambulance services.

Varkey’s Shoppings initially applied to sell alcohol as early as 6am, Monday -Friday alongside 7am-9pm Saturday hours and 8am-8pm Sunday hours.

However, Northumbria Police requested major changes to the application, which were accepted by the applicant.

If approved, the off-licence will have alcohol sales restricted between 9am-9pm, Monday to Saturday and 9am-8pm on Sunday.

Applicants have also outlined plans to prevent public nuisance, protect children from harm and reduce crime and disorder.

This includes regular links with the police, work to reduce noise and a car parking advice notice being displayed.

The shop also plans to use a refusal book and display notices around age restricted products including alcohol and lottery tickets.

The final decision on the application will be made by the council’s Licensing Sub-Committee on Thursday, January 17.

The meeting starts at 10am at Sunderland Civic Centre and for more information, visit: www.sunderland.gov.uk

Caption: An alcohol licence bid has been lodged for shop lot ‘unit six’ on Union Street, Sunderland. However, a petition claims the new business will harm existing trade in the area.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service