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Row over ‘tuck shop’ bid to sell wine and beer to boost business

Objectors say shop is too close to school for alcohol sales

10 November, 2016 — By Grainne Morrison

Princess News wants an alcohol licence

A NEWSAGENT’S bid to secure an alcohol licence is at risk after neighbours warned that nuisance behaviour is on the rise in Primrose Hill.

Councillors have been urged to turn down a request from Princess News to increase its opening hours and stock beers and wine, with residents suggesting the move would change the nature of a business historically seen as a “tuck shop” by children at nearby Primrose Hill Primary School.

Other customers have written to the Town Hall insisting that new manager Kiran Patel should be allowed to sell alcohol to make up for falling sales in cigarettes and newspapers. Objectors say the area saw a summer of bad behaviour and that the peace and quiet around the shop in Princess Terrace will be shattered if people are drawn in to buy drinks.

Jacqueline Beard, who lives in the area, told licensers that street drinkers had made nearby canal walkways “somewhat lawless” during the warmer months, adding: “They are extremely loud and confrontational towards pedestrians on the towpaths and boats going past, and increasingly loud as the day and the alcohol consumption progresses… The drinkers have obviously moved here from Camden so we do not need them to be encouraged to be here by a new cheap source of alcohol.”

Another objector, Landsley Ware, said: “The premises is located directly opposite Primrose Hill Primary School and the children use the shop daily for their snacks and treats. It’s their de facto ‘tuck shop’ so the wish to have alcohol in the shop and sell it seven days a week until 10pm is alarming.”

Mr Patel said he could not comment on the shop’s application until a decision had been made on the licence. But some of his customers have rallied round to back the changes and want him to be able to sell alcohol. More than 100 said in a tick-box questionnaire at the shop that they would support the move.

Stephen Robinson, a supporter, said the shop needed to be allowed to “survive and thrive”, adding: “The traditional basis of newsagents’ turnover has been cigarettes and newspapers. Sales of each of these products are in freefall. “If corner shops are not allowed to expand their lines of business, they will decline and die and in Primrose Hill we will be left with every retail outlet being an estate agent.”

Councillors will make a final decision on the licensing application today (Thursday).

Former mayor warns of increase in drug-dealing

A FORMER Mayor of Camden is among residents who warn that drug dealing is now infecting Primrose Hill. Concerns about a drug market operating in the area were revealed in letters and emails to the council about how bad behaviour threatened the peace in the tree-lined neighbourhood.

Labour councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli, the borough’s first citizen in 2014, said there had been “episodes of drug dealing in the nearby Auden Place estate and more recently some indicators that this activity may have restarted”. Another resident, Martyn Ware, warned of “street trading of drugs in open sight” and that Princess Road was “in danger of becoming an even more regular drug pick-up/drop-off point”.

Others reported motorbike drivers ferrying drugs in and out of Primrose Hill.”

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