Archive for February, 2015


Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Sainsbury’s have applied for an alcohol licence for 78-80 Mill Road (currently the Mace store). They have applied for a licence to sell alcohol from 7am until 11pm, seven days a week.

The store is in a Cumulative Impact Zone, which means that there is a presumption that an application will be refused. This means they won’t automatically get the licence, and that the council will take note of the concerns of local people. So it’s very important that you tell the council if you don’t want a Sainsbury’s Local selling cheap alcohol 16 hours a day, 7 days a week on Mill Road.

If you wish to express a view about this application, please comment here:


The deadline for comment is Friday 13 February.

Grounds for comment on the application

You need to be an interested party to comment on the application. An interested party is a neighbour and/or a neighbouring business. So if you live or run a business in the Mill Road area, your views are important.

Comments on licensing applications will only be considered if they relate to the four licensing objectives. These are:

– The prevention of crime and disorder
– Public Safety
– The prevention of public nuisance
– The protection of children from harm

The Council Licensing Guidelines state that “each objective is of equal importance”. You can comment on as many or as few of these as you wish, but please make sure that you stick to these areas.

Issues that might be relevant include things like:
Your experience of current alcohol-related problems on Mill Road (disorder, noise, violence).
The fact that the store would be selling alcohol for longer hours than Mace.

The licensing officer and the licensing committee will not be interested in arguments about anything except these objectives and you will damage the credibility of your comments if you include irrelevant issues such as what you think about a Sainsbury’s store opening up on Mill Road.


Isn’t there already a licence to sell alcohol in this shop, so isn’t the existing licence just being transferred?

No. The current shop has a licence but Sainsbury’s have applied for a new premises licence. This may be because they are asking for longer hours for alcohol sales, it may be because there are so many problems associated with the sale of alcohol from this site. But whatever the reason, they are asking for a new licence.

Won’t they automatically get it?

No. The shop is in a cumulative impact zone. Cambridge Council Licensing Guidelines say that:

A cumulative impact policy seeks to address the potentially detrimental effects of one or more licensing objectives on a concentration of licensed premises in a particular area.

This means that if relevant representations are received, which indicate that the grant of a licence will have a negative cumulative impact on the area, there is a presumption that the application will be refused unless the applicant can show that they will not add to the cumulative impact already being experienced.

So Sainsbury’s will need to show what they are doing to address this problem. But they don’t.

But Sainsbury’s application shows how they will avoid adding to the cumulative impact, doesn’t it?

No, they haven’t mentioned it at all. This is strange because they’ve been trying to move onto Mill Road for 4 years, and it’s been a Cumulative Impact Zone for the whole time, so they obviously haven’t bothered to pay any attention to the area. We think that’s very disrespectful to us as a community living with the effects of Mill Road’s serious alcohol problems. Sainsbury’s have told us that they are “proud of our reputation as a good neighbour”, but they don’t show any signs of wanting to be a good neighbour here.

Won’t Sainsbury’s be responsible licence holders? After all, they’re a national chain with decades of experience in selling alcohol.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Sainsbury’s want to open up a Sainsbury’s Local here, one of the small stores (like a Tesco Express). These stores are mostly used for small, top-up grocery shopping trips and so they have to rely on alcohol sales to make a profit. No alcohol licence = no profits.

That’s why a lawyer for Sainsbury’s told a licensing hearing in Hebden Bridge last year that “I’m virtually sure that Sainsbury’s Local wouldn’t open this store if it didn’t get the alcohol licence”.

It seems to be the same here: Sainsbury’s haven’t signed a lease on the site yet and we think they’re waiting to see if they get an alcohol licence before they do. That tells us how much they will depend on selling lots of alcohol on Mill Road.

There are already problems with alcohol-related noise and disturbance in this part of Mill Road. What have Sainsbury’s said they will do to stop this increasing because of their late-night alcohol sales at the shop?

Sainsbury’s say that “signage will be displayed at the exit of the premises requesting customers leaving the premises late at night to do so quietly and with consideration so as not to disturb nearby residents.”

And what else?


But Sainsbury’s are promising to limit the strength of the beer and lager they sell, so that will take care of the problem won’t it?

No, they aren’t. Sainsbury’s say they won’t sell single cans of beer or cider with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) over 5.5.%, or in single bottles of less than 500ml or more than 1.5 litres. But that wouldn’t stop them selling lots of cheap, strong lager and cider.

For example, they could sell 2 litre bottles of Sainsbury’s cider (5.3% ABV), which only costs £2.65, or a 2 litre bottle of Strongbow. And they could still sell 4 packs of Special Brew, and spirits and wine. And like all Sainsbury’s Local stores they would have special offers on all of these, making cheap, strong alcohol even cheaper.