Armley town street shopkeeper's plans to sell alcohol dismissed by planners due to street drinking concerns

A shop owner's plans to sell alcohol from his premises on Armley Town Street have been rejected by a planning committee due to concerns of street drinking.

By Daniel Sheridan
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 11:45 am

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Applicant Ruslanas Zirnikas wanted to sell alcohol at his Lietuvaite Shop on town street between 10am and 8pm seven days a week.

However, planners have rejected the plans amid a series of opposition remarks by police and other parties.

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Applicant Ruslanas Zirnikas wanted to sell alcohol at his Lietuvaite Shop on town street between 10am and 8pm seven days a week.

Mr Zirnikas told planners he has been trading at the premises for eight months with no profit.

His wife works in the shop during the day and was unable to take a wage, he said.

He himself has another job and takes over from her to work until the shop closes.

He also works Saturday and Sunday in the shop when his wife does not work.

"Mr Zirnikas was of the view that the way to make the shop more profitable was to sell lager for relaxing and this could be picked up by customers when they collect their groceries", a document following the decision stated.

"He explained the difference in this application to the previous one was that he would not be selling cheap or strong lagers or ciders.

"He would only be selling cans in multiples of four, no single cans.

"He would not be selling to street drinkers, only those who were buying groceries."

Police told planners Armley was identified as an area suffering from anti-social behaviour displayed by groups of men standing and drinking in the street.

It was noted that Armley is unusual in the fact that most of the anti-social behaviour is during the day rather than night-time.

In representations, West Yorkshire police said: "It was noted that this application offers an array of conditions including CCTV which are the same as other licensed premises in the area, but these measures would not prevent the issues already seen in Armley.

"It was noted that the applicant had not demonstrated how he would stop the issues arising in Armley."

Mr Zirnikas in summing up responded to issues raised saying he would not sell lager higher than 5.4% and cider not higher than 4.5%.

He also said that on Town Street people would be able to buy cheaper alcohol than he would be selling.

In relation to the licensing objectives, he had requested his licence to sell alcohol from 10:00am.

He said that he was willing to only sell alcohol between 10:00am and 3pm, then from 4pm until 8:00pm, so as to avoid the times when children would be walking to and from school.

He said that staff would be trained not to sell alcohol to people who were already drunk.

The premises licence application was refused.