Keynsham’s Chocolate Quarter to get an off-licence

PLANS for an off-licence in Keynsham’s Chocolate Quarter have been given the go-ahead, despite concerns from locals that it will cause antisocial behaviour in a retirement village.

Convenience store chain One Stop said the shop would create 10 to 13 jobs. There currently is not a shop in this part of the town.

Speaking at an application hearing before Bath and North East Somerset Council’s licensing sub-committee on February 22, One Stop licensing manager Hardish Purewal said: “We feel incredibly privileged to be a part of this neighbourhood. It’s absolutely beautiful.”

But the plans for the shop at the former Cadbury’s factory prompted concern from some neighbours.

In a letter of objection to the shop’s alcohol licence, one resident warned: “The proposed premises are very near a school and opposite a child’s playground. Also, directly outside is a seating area.

“My concern is that youths may gather and make themselves a nuisance whilst gathering, also causing noise and litter. This is apparent on the local high street from late afternoon onwards.”

Another said: “I believe it will lead to antisocial behaviour which will have an impact on people in the flats nearby and the elderly residents in the St Monica Trust care home and flats.”

And another added: “Selling alcohol will act as a magnet attracting young adults from other parts of Keynsham.”

Although welcoming the shop, residents questioned if it needed to sell alcohol late at night.

One resident added: “I would be surprised if St Monica’s are supporting this licensing application as it stands, due to the impact antisocial behaviour will have on residents who are receiving palliative care and those who suffer with various forms of dementia.”

But the care home did give the application its backing. In a statement in support, Simon Lexton of the St Monica Trust said: “Since the development opened as a retirement village in 2017, our residents have petitioned us for a shop on-site, including the provision of selling alcohol.

“We regard the provision of a shop with alcohol sales as benefit to all those who live on the Somerdale site and that it will help bring closer integration between the retirement village and the private housing.”

At the hearing, Ms Purewal assured councillors: “We want to be good neighbours.”

She said that alcohol sales were “a very small but important part of the overall business,” and said that staff would be fully trained in ‘Think 25’ policy, and have body-worn cameras.

The shop will have CCTV and Mrs Purewal said the shop would use this to identify and ban litterers if necessary. She added that the shop would join and work with community groups in the area.

Ms Purewal said: “It’s a lovely area and we want to keep it that way.”

One of the concerned residents said she was “heartened” by the assurances the shop had given.

Councillors agreed to grant the alcohol licence as applied for. The One Stop hopes to open in May.

John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service