B&M wins battle to sell booze at new Blackpool store

B&M Bargains on Church Street
B&M Bargains on Church Street
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Discount retailer B&M will be allowed to sell booze from its new store in Blackpool despite warnings the move could add to the resort's binge drinking problems.

But a town hall licensing panel, which approved the application, added conditions to the licence, including a ban in single cans being sold. Alcohol will only be allowed on sale between 8.30am and 10pm.

READ MORE: Blackpool bargain store facing battle to be allowed to sell alcohol
B&M had wanted to start the licence from 7am, although bosses said the store on Church Street would not open until 8am.

Paolo Pertico, head of community safety strategy at Blackpool Council, said the council's policy was to oppose any alcohol sales in the town centre before 10am.

He said street drinkers were more likely to be seeking to buy booze before that time rather than people buying a bottle of wine as part of their grocery shopping.

He told the hearing: "The main concern, given the work we have done with the police to try to reduce aggressive begging in the town centre together with other issues, is the possible availability of alcohol at 7am in the morning.

"It would be difficult to envisage what kind of people, unless they are problem drinkers, would want to buy alcohol at 7am.

"I don't think you would find many people at 7am in there looking to do their weekly shopping."

The objection was also based on the cumulative impact of allowing another alcohol licence in the town centre where there are already 28 off-licences.

Solicitor Richard Williams, representing B&M, said the chain acknowledged the alcohol problems in Blackpool, but the application was to replace the licence from its previous store on Bank Hey Street and so the impact was neutral.

He added measures were in place to supervise the sale of alcohol, including around 50 in-store CCTV cameras and a security guard, and claimed it did not make sense not to be able to sell alcohol until 10am.

There had been no problems with the licence at the previous store.

Mr Williams said: "If 10am was the start time for selling alcohol, the store opens and then we have to find a way of sectioning off this part of the store.

"I don't see any logical reason to say the store is open but you can't go down the alcohol aisle."

He told the hearing "discount alcohol is not a reason to visit B&M, it is a complementary purchase."

Figures submitted by the public health team show the Talbot ward, which B&M is in, has a rate of booze-related hospital admissions which is almost 200 per cent higher than the national average.

The rate of alcohol related crime in the ward is more than four times higher than in the rest of Blackpool.