Objections submitted over plan for ‘booze hatch’ allowing 24-hour drink sales in Hartlepool town centre

Hadj's mini market in Hartlepool's York Road.
Hadj's mini market in Hartlepool's York Road.

Police, solicitors and residents have all raised concerns over a bid by a convenience store to sell alcohol 24 hours a day- including using a hatch for an overnight service.

A licensing application was submitted at the end of last year to Hartlepool Borough Council for ‘Hadj’s Mini Market’ at 134 York Road in the town centre.

Concerns have been raised about drinkers near to Hartlepool's Central Library in York Road.

Concerns have been raised about drinkers near to Hartlepool's Central Library in York Road.

The applicant Nouredin Hadj Kaddour applied for a licence to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and sales of alcohol between 11pm and 7am would be from a hatch in the door.

He added several safety and security measures would be in place at the shop to help prevent crime and ensure public safety.

A total of six objections have been submitted to the plans and a decision is due to be made on the proposals on Wednesday.

Concerns came from police, a solicitors firm, the council licensing manager and three residents, all raising worries of crime, nuisance and public safety.

PC Andy Thorpe, licensing support officer for Cleveland Police, said: “Our main concerns are that after a night of drinking, some until 4am, people will be able to take a short walk to the premise where they will be able to buy more alcohol.

“This will have an affect not just on the immediate area, but on taxi drivers who may pick these people up, or people living on the path home.”

An objection has also been submitted on behalf of Tilly Bailey and Irvine LLP, who have three solicitors offices near to the site.

It said: “Sadly people do consume alcohol to excess in public near the Hartlepool Library.

“They sit on walls there, drink alcohol and cause a nuisance.

“Sometimes they come to our doorway and sit and drink alcohol there and have to be asked to leave.”

Responses from residents said a previous 24 hours shop on Raby Road caused problems in the area, while adding the new application is a ‘terrible idea’.

One resident said: “The town is trying to stop anti-social behaviour and attract families and businesses to the area.

“Allowing alcohol to be served 24 hours is just going to undo the hard work the council, police and communities are doing to fight against it.”

Council licensing manager Ian Harrison also commented, highlighting the area’s licensing policy.

It states licenses for shops to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises will generally be refused if after 10pm in residential areas and 2am in non-residential areas, subject to relevant representation.

The application for the site in York Road states CCTV is installed at the site with six cameras, and there would be a panic button in the store with links to the police.

There was also several measures listed of how they would prevent public nuisance and ensure public safety.

The applicant stated they would: “Assess every individual buying alcohol such as the state of the person and age and behaviour.

“Not serve anyone under the influence of alcohol.”

For safety purposes most alcohol will be behind the counter and nobody under the age of 18 will be served, the applicant added.

A decision on the application will be made at the licensing sub-committee hearing at the Civic Centre on Wednesday, February 20 at 10am.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service