Off licence applications in Redbridge soar above other venues

APPLICATIONS for new off-licences soared above any other venue in a list of bids received by the council last year, it has emerged.

There were 20 applications for the alcohol-selling shops in 2009-10, compared to just one application to open a pub.

The figures, which are revealed in a draft version of the council’s latest licensing policy, come amid fears of an explosion of late-night opening supermarket and bars nationwide, which has paved the way for a culture of binge drinking.

The council document makes a link between a high number of alcohol venues and anti-social behaviour, with some areas singled out for special treatment.

Ilford Town Centre has already been deemed a “cumulative impact zone,” meaning it is even tougher to open up a new venue there.

Other hot spots include Seven Kings, Ilford Lane, a stretch of Cranbrook Road, parts of South Woodford, Gants Hill, Wanstead and Barkingside.

Applicants in these ares must prove they will not add to problems already being tackled in these areas.

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But Seven Kings ward Cllr Balvinder Saund said measures should be even tougher.

She said: “There is a proliferation of licensing to sell alcohol in a lot of places, even any grocery store can apply.

“It’s a free for all.

“If alcohol is so cheap and easily available young people are going to get addicted to it and it shouldn’t be that easily attainable.

It creates all sorts of anti-social behaviour problems.”

Clementswood ward has the highest number of licensed venues, the report said, with off- licences, bars, pubs and takeaways among its total of 85 outlets.

Ward Cllr Mohammed Javed said: “The committee needs to look at each application for a license even more carefully now than they did before.”

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said 58 licence applications, which includes food and entertaiment as well as alcohol, were approved last year.

She added that a number of enforcement measures were carried out to ensure that venues adhered to their conditions and did not cause problems for neighbouring areas.