Bid to sell booze on family beach is 'reckless' and will fuel antisocial behaviour, say residents

Gyllyngvase Beach where there are concerns over anti-social behaviour by young people in Falmouth
-Credit: (Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

A proposal to sell alcohol from a kiosk on one of Cornwall's most popular family beaches is "reckless" and will exacerbate nuisance behaviour in an area which has already seen an increase in drunken exploits, concerned residents believe. Cyderhouse Co Ltd - an offshoot of the Healey's cider business - has applied for a premises licence for the Gylly Beach Shop and Takeaway on Cliff Road, Falmouth, at the entrance to Gyllyngvase beach.

If approved the application would see the sale of alcohol between 11am and 11pm, seven days a week. The Healey family recently took over the business and neighbouring Gylly Beach Café, which they hope to extend. The premises fall within the Falmouth Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ), which was set up to help alleviate bad behaviour in areas where there are a number of licenses premises.

The small beach shop currently sells buckets and spades, ice cream and beach shoes at one end with a takeaway hatch selling coffee and hot snacks at the other. There are a handful of benches directly in front of the building which are also managed by the company.

Read next: Idyllic coastal spot in Cornwall blighted by teenage tearaways

Read next: Alcohol, thefts and violence on Cornish beach as teens run riot

The application states: "Overall, by adding a licence and therefore regulated area to Gylly, we will see a reduction in behaviours which are not in line with the licensing objectives. There is need for a space where customers can enjoy a safe experience on the beach, minimising the public bringing their own alcohol and consuming it in an unmanaged way."

A number of Falmouth residents have written to Cornwall Council's licensing department, believing that introducing the sale of alcohol will add to bad behaviour on the beach and surrounding area. Residents have previously been reported as saying the sale of alcohol at a relatively new Co-op store opposite the beach has exacerbated problems.

Get the best stories and latest news delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you want here.

A letter, which sums up the feeling of a number of other respondents, says: "Gyllyngvase is well known as a family beach, and having large numbers of people drinking on the beach will change this. The increased number of people drinking on the beach since the Co-op began to sell alcohol has significantly contributed to the increased antisocial behaviour in and around the beach and Queen Mary Gardens in the late evenings. Opening another alcohol sale point on the beach will further exacerbate this.

"The sale of drinks from the kiosk will significantly increase the amount of alcohol being drunk on the beach. The bar staff will be unable to prevent people buying drinks from the kiosk and taking them anywhere on the beach. This will fundamentally change the nature and atmosphere of the beach.

"The amount of barbecues, open fires, remains of food and litter discarded on the beach will increase as people choose to party on the beach if alcohol is available until 11pm, seven nights a week. The amount of urine and faeces on and around the beach will increase as drunk or partially drunk people discover there are no toilets open and use the nearest wall or bush to relieve themselves. The public toilets are closed at night."

Another letter received by the council adds: "The beach and the associated area have been the subject of considerable antisocial behaviour in recent years with alcohol as a primary driver. Police cannot cope with the current situations so to increase alcohol-fuelled behaviour could be deemed reckless."

The applicant has included a number of their own conditions to ensure the sale of alcohol does not cause a problem. These include:

  • increased business presence meaning staff and managers will be on site and able to report/manage anti social behaviours

  • increased CCTV in the area

  • glass will not be permitted

  • we are not seeking an 'off licence', large crowds will not be able to form on our premises

  • our capacity limits will be managed

  • bins will be managed and brought in each night, minimising risk of arson

  • anyone already drunk will be refused service by us

  • cheap, multi-buy promos will not be introduced - we will not encourage binge drinking.

Devon and Cornwall Police has supported the application with added conditions including that a "drinking up time" is included, the supply of alcohol stops at 10.30pm, all staff are trained in their responsibilities under the Licensing Act, that "increased CCTV in the area" is replaced by "CCTV is installed at the premises".

The application has received 13 representations from people against the proposal, with one in favour, from Falmouth Town Council, which supports the police's conditions. One of the letters sent to the council states: "Even with the restrictions of alcohol sales up to 10.30pm, as suggested by the police, this can only make the present situation worse for residents."

The application will be decided by a Cornwall Council licensing committee tomorrow (Wednesday, June 5).