Fears 24-hour Hackney off-licence could become “drunkard magnet”

K Supermaket, Upper Clapton Road.

K Supermaket, Upper Clapton Road. - Credit: Archant

Fears have been raised an off-licence could become a ‘magnet for all the drunks in the neighbourhood’ if a 24-hour licensing application is given the go-ahead.

The owner of K Superstore in Upper Clapton Road, Imam Kartal, wants the council to approve plans for his shop to sell alcohol around the clock, extending the current licence which allows alcohol sales between 6.30am to 1am.

Police have strongly opposed to the application, stating that an increase in the venue’s hours would make alcohol available for people to drink in the street at all hours of the day and night and would add to the cumulative negative impact on the surrounding residential area.

Lib Dem Cllr Abraham Jacobson in whose ward, Cazenove, the shop is situated has also voiced his concerns to the council in a letter.

“There are enough drunks in the neighbourhood and we do not wish that Upper Clapton Road will become a magnet for alcoholics in the surrounding areas,” he said.

Fellow Lib Dem Cazenove Cllr Dawood-Ebrahim Akhoon added: “We should be promoting healthy and diverse shops so our neighbourhoods are sustainable and are there for the benefit of all, and for future generations. “The proliferation of betting shops, pawnbrokers and now 24-hour off licences in Hackney does nothing but cause problems for our neighbourhoods,” he said.

“These businesses thrive on people’s addictions and vulnerabilities, and they make vast amounts of money by targeting the poorest and most vulnerable from our communities.”

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Mr Kartal’s son, Cihan Kartal said they want to extend the licence to meet demand.

“Some of our customers would like us to be open during the night as well, some of them work night shifts and they finish late, so they want to come and refresh and buy food and drink,” he said.

“The whole point of our license is not to supply underage people with alcohol and people who are antisocial, or are too drunk to have any more alcohol, so why have we been given a license altogether if we are not trusted to sell accordingly.

“There are already a couple of shops within 50m of us that are open 24 hours as well, if there was going to be any trouble because of them opening 24 hours there would already have been trouble,” he added.

The licensing application will be heard at the council’s licensing committee on Monday February 18.