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Hardware store in bid for alcohol licence

Request has been met with a mixed response in the community

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886632

Lambourn Universal Stores owner: "I'm not closing my shop."

A LAMBOURN hardware store is applying for an alcohol licence – and not everyone is happy about it.

The Universal Stores in the High Street has posted a notice in its window which reveals owner Manjit Singh Vohra is seeking permission from West Berkshire Council for the development under the Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005.

The application seeks the provision of the legitimate supply of alcohol, seven days a week, between 7am and 11pm.

Several callers to this newspaper – none of whom wished to be named – expressed their objection.

One woman said: “There are so many alcohol outlets in Lambourn already – do we really need another one?

“We have so many problems already with antisocial behaviour and a lot of it is alcohol-related.

“I’ve never heard of a hardware store selling alcohol before, either.

“It’s just not necessary and it will only cause more problems.

“There’s more than enough pubs and shops selling drink as it is.”

Last year the Universal Stores sparked controversy by applying to incorporate a pizza takeaway into its premises.

That, too, generated some local opposition – although there was a lot of support, too.

The application was ultimately granted.

Although Mr Vohra has posted the notice, the application was still being processed by West Berkshire Council as this newspaper went to press.

Responding to the concerns, Mr Vohra said: “With the Londis store now closed, there really is no difference in the number of shops selling alcohol than before.

“We are really just like an off licence on a smaller scale.

“What with the increase in rent, rates and utility costs, small businesses need to change what they do to keep the businesses open.

“If they don’t it will just result in more boarded-up shops, which wouldn’t look good for the village.”

When the processing is complete, the application can be viewed and commented on by visiting the planning section of West Berkshire Council and using the reference 19/01139/LQN.

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