Sunderland shopkeeper’s drinks victory

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A SUNDERLAND shopkeeper has won a battle to sell drink at her new store despite opposition from residents.

Manjyot Kaur and her husband Santokh Singh have run Ashbrooke Stores since 2005.

Earlier this year Mrs Kaur bought 
a disused former convenience store 
at Arcadia, Ouston, near Chester-le-Street.

The store opened as an unlicensed general dealers in June, but residents launched a protest when they heard Mrs Kaur had applied for a licence to sell alcohol.

“This licence is very important to the business,” Mrs Kaur told a meeting 
of Durham County Council’s licensing committee at Chester-le-Street civic centre.

“You have to offer everything for the business to work.

“In Sunderland I have the Paypoint machine which might not be used by that many customers.

“But if one came in for it and it wasn’t there, they would go to my competition around the corner, get served, and I wouldn’t expect to see that customer again.

“In general dealers it’s called ‘the basket effect’. Newspapers is another example.

“You have to get up early and there’s little profit in newspapers, but if they weren’t there, you wouldn’t sell all the other things.”

Residents of Ouston told the meeting there had been problems with youths gathering at the store in the past, which was close to a junior school.

“It’s intimidating when you pass to take the children to school,” said resident Kerry Martin.

“The shop’s not been reopened long and there’s already been reports of fighting in the street outside,”

The committee approved the application which will allow the shop to sell alcohol from 7am to 9pm.

Chairman Coun John Shiell said: 
“We have taken the views of the 
residents properly into account, but 
we are mindful some of their 
concerns relate to the previous owner of the shop and there’s no proper documented evidence of recent antisocial behaviour.

“The police have not objected to the application and the present applicant is experienced at running this type of business.”

After the meeting, Mrs Martin 
said: “It’s alright for the councillors, 
they don’t have to live near to the 

Mrs Kaur said she was pleased to have got the licence and hoped to build a good relationship with all nearby residents over time.

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