Harehills shop barred from selling booze as area dubbed 'holiday resort' for street drinkers

A new east Leeds shop has been barred from selling alcohol after protests from local people and the authorities.

By David Spereall, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:30 am

Karpaty Foods was planning to open a store on Harehills Lane, in a unit formerly run by Yorkshire Bank, and had applied to Leeds City Council for a licence to sell booze.

But the council has now rejected that bid after police told a hearing last week Harehills had effectively become a “holiday resort” for street drinkers flocking from other parts of Leeds.

Councillors on the licensing panel were warned that crime and anti-social behaviour would get worse.

Karpaty Foods was planning to open a store on Harehills Lane (Photo: Google)

Harehills itself is part of Leeds’ cumulative impact area, which means any new shops or bars wanting an alcohol licence have to prove they can offer something different or improve the surrounding streets.

Among the objectors to the application was local councillor Salma Arif, who told the hearing of a local mum whose back garden has been used as a toilet by street drinkers several times.

Responding to news of the council’s decision on Wednesday, Councillor Arif said: “I’m really, really delighted. It’s exactly the result we needed.

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“This is the fourth off-licence application that’s been rejected in Harehills now since we had the cumulative impact area come in and it feels like the tide is beginning to turn a bit now.

“It was such a big one, because it would have been on a very prominent site in the middle of Harehills Lane.

“If it had gone through it just wouldn’t have been helpful or conducive to what we’re trying to do down there.”

Her fellow ward councillor Arif Hussain said: “It’s a great result.

“We have more than enough licensed shops and we’re finding a lot of challenges.

“It’s not great at the moment for the people who are living in the area and they’re feeling as if they can’t go out onto the main road for anything.”

The owners of the shop, which will be known as Mleczko, had argued that they wouldn’t contribute to Harehills’ street drinking problem and pointed to their record of retail experience in other troubled areas.

They’d also promised to only sell alcohol to customers willing to spend £5 on other items in the shop, in a bid to “design out” the chances of selling to street drinkers.

Their representative told the hearing it was “unrealistic” to expect more street drinkers to flock to the area, with that condition in place.