The Dundee health body battling against alcohol harm has pledged to continue its opposition to the high number of off-sales shops in the city.
Steven Dalton, lead officer of the Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership, (ADP), said the organisation is disappointed with the outcome of last week’s licensing board meeting which decided to grant alcohol permits to three premises.
An application for 31 Hilltown by Mohammed Asif attracted a 100-signature petition and almost 40 letters of objection.
Another, at 92 Nethergate by Frank Tindall, had several letters of objection, including one from Dundee West MP Jim McGovern on behalf of his constituents.
Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership objected to plans to open a Spar with off-sales at the former Blockbuster video rental shop at 223-227 Albert Street, on the grounds of over-provision.
Their objection followed consultation within the Maryfield ward and online. Stobswell Forum also opposed the application but more than 60 letters from members of the public backing the application were received.
The previous week the development management committee decided by 13 votes to 11 to allow a dispensing store in City Road to convert to an off-sales shop although the premises will still need a licence to sell alcohol.
The ADP think efforts to improve Dundee’s community regeneration areas are being blighted by the high number of off-sales shops selling alcohol.
Their report on over provision says off-sales shops outnumber pubs and clubs in three of these areas and their existence, the study states, is significant.
The off-sales in Ardler/St Mary’s/Kirkton, Mid Craigie/Linlathen/Douglas and Mill o’ Mains/Fintry/Whitfield sell cheap alcohol in unlimited quantities and attract under-age drinkers.
In Mid Craigie/Linlathen/Douglas there are three times as many off-sales as on-sales premises, and one off-sales premises for every 500 people.
The report pulls together information on alcohol licence provision and alcohol-related harm across the city.
It does not recommend a limit on the number of pubs, clubs and off-sales establishments that should be allowed to sell alcohol in particular areas.
The group, which is drawn from representatives of the police, health board, council and special interest groups, says, however, that the board has “the ability and responsibility to contribute to a shift towards a healthier relationship with alcohol in Dundee”.
Mr Dalton said the partnership’s over provision report clearly pointed to the negative effect alcohol has on our communities.
“The report highlights that increased availability of alcohol also increases consumption and alcohol related health and social problems.
“In our consultations with local communities we have found overwhelming support in addressing any increase in alcohol provision in the city. The ADP will continue to consult with local communities and assist them in voicing their opinions.
“We will also continue to support the licensing board by providing information to help them in their decisions regarding licence applications.”
Licensing board chairman Dave Bowes said: “The board heard from applicants as well as objectors and people in support of the applications before reaching its decision to grant these licences which were agreed unanimously.”