Wine Me Up in Brighton declined to extend opening hours

OFF-licence holders in Brighton applied for permission to extend their opening hours but were turned down by a panel of councillors.

Baseem Karkour, 29, and Kinan Daoud, 24, applied to Brighton and Hove City Council to open Wine Me Up on Lewes Road at 7am every day instead of 10am.

And they wanted to sell alcoholic beverages until 3 a.m. on weekends and 2 a.m. the rest of the week, rather than sticking to their current 1 a.m. closing time.

The shop is in the electoral department of St Peter and North Laine, which the panel was told was ranked worst in Brighton and Hove for alcohol-related incidents and criminal damage, and second-worst for violence.

Independent councilwoman Anne Pissaridou and Green councilor Zoe John raised concerns about drug paraphernalia found for sale during an inspection by council licensing officer Donna Lynsdale.

Ms Lynsdale said the sale of such items, including “crack pipes, grinders, spoons, bongs and tourniquets” was a legal “grey area” and advertising such items was “not responsible”.

Mr Karkour told the panel, chaired by Conservative councilman Dee Simson, that he had removed all the items and sent a picture of them in the bin.

The council said in its decision letter: “The panel recognizes that the applicants have taken steps to remedy breaches of the conditions and remove paraphernalia that could be used for drugs and hopes that this will continue.

“Overall, however, the panel has no confidence in the ability of the applicants to advance the license objectives at this site if the extension were granted, and is also concerned about the relative inexperience of the designated building supervisor (Mr. Karkour).”

The branch – owned by B&K Wine Store Ltd – is located on Lewes Road in a vast area that the City Council has designated as a “high stress area” for alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour. Stricter admission rules apply.

Following a Council Licensing Panel hearing last month, the Council wrote to owners to say that their request for an extension of working hours had not been granted.

The Licensing Board felt that the owners had not “addressed or honored” community policies relating to the area or demonstrated that exceptional circumstances existed that would justify longer working hours.

The council said: “The panel shares the concerns of the police and permitting authority that this is a very challenging area with high levels of crime and disorder and any extension of opening hours is likely to add to the problems already experienced in the area.

“This includes any extension of hours for morning alcohol sales as the site is close to The Level which has problems with street drinking.”

At the panel hearing on Wednesday July 20, Police Officer Hannah Staplehurst said Sussex Police had received 1,714 incident reports within a quarter mile of the store, resulting in 518 recorded crimes in the year to mid-June. Wine Me Up in Brighton declined to extend opening hours

Fry Electronics Team

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