New off licence approved for clubland - but opening hours cut
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A new off licence in the heart of the city's club scene has been approved - but councillors have slashed its proposed opening hours.
On Tuesday, Norwich City Council's licensing committee heard plans for a new off licence in the former home of bar Vanity, at 16 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, with some concerns over crime heard behind closed doors and away from the public.
The applicant, Hemn Hamaamin Fatah, offered several changes and conditions to the application when it was brought before the committee.
Mr Fatah offered to cut the hours from 7am to 5am to 7am to midnight, or 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, to have a member of door staff on every day from 8pm until close and to put stickers on alcohol so the shop can be identified.
The council’s legal advisor, David Lowens, said he hoped Mr Fatah understood the financial and practical implications involved.
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Two objections were submitted ahead of the meeting from Thorpe Hamlet ward councillor Lesley Grahame and the police.
Despite saying Mr Fatah's changes improved the application and wanting to give it the "benefit of the doubt", Ms Graham said she had concerns about more alcohol being served in an area close to two schools.
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While some of the police's objections were heard in the open at the meeting, other matters were heard 'below the line', with the public excluded from hearing evidence that related to crime prevention, investigation or prosecution, and on financial or business affairs.
Michelle Bartram, Norfolk Constabulary's licensing officer, said the police were already having issues with other off licences on the road, with people drinking in the street and smashed glass on the ground.
Mr Fatah responded saying he and his staff would warn people not to drink outside and would not serve anyone drunk.
Giving out the committee's decision, chairman Ian Stutely said it had unanimously decided to grant the application but cut the opening hours to midnight every day.
"The committee dismissed matters below the line due to the lack of evidence," he said.
"The decision is to grant the licence with the conditions submitted by the applicant.
"The committee felt it was necessary to reduce the hours to further promote licensing objectives, particularly cutting crime and disorder."
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Fatah said he was feeling happy and was glad they had been given chance to get the business started.