Booze plan for former Tuebrook cake shop 'could be anti-social behaviour beacon'

A former dessert shop which plans to sell alcohol has been likened to a “beacon in the night” for anti-social behaviour.

Vairaiyah Mangaleswaran won the right to trade from his new convenience store on Craigs Road, Tuebrook after lodging a bid with Liverpool Council’s licensing and gambling committee. Based at the former MB Desserts shop, Mr Mangaleswaran has been granted permission to open 7am to 11pm daily.

This is despite concerns being raised by numerous objectors to the plans who feared it could disturb community cohesion.

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Having previously been home to a dessert delivery business, the building on the junction with Lisburn Lane has stood vacant since it closed. Ian Rushton, licensing agent on behalf of Mr Mangaleswaran, said the applicant had taken out a 20-year lease, had invested significantly and was hoping to be part of the community for “the long-term.”

The shop would be given a full refurbishment, he added. It is expected alcohol sales would account for 10-15% of floor space in the building.

Documents released by Liverpool Council ahead of the crunch meeting earlier today show some had claimed the addition of an off-licence would make “many people intimidated” and leave them feeling like it is “unsafe to go out.”

Cllr Billy Lake, who represents Tuebrook Larkhill ward suggested the hours of alcohol sales could be reduced, operating between midday and 8pm.

Mr Rushton said he understood the concerns regarding anti-social behaviour but there had been “no evidence” of any such occurrences. He added how it wouldn’t be right to blame issues on “a shop that’s not opened yet.”

Regarding the sales of stronger beers, Mr Rushton said his client would seek to do so in a bid to remain competitive in the area.

Cllr Lake said there were five existing shops nearby to the proposed location and the new business was “not facilitating an urgent need.” Despite Mr Rushton suggesting the business would use CCTV to deter and record any incidents, Cllr Lake described this as a “misnomer” and claimed it would not work.

Given the increased number of cameras, Cllr Lake said additional lighting around the shop would “perpetuate the presence” of people hanging outside the business, describing it as a “beacon in the night.” Concerns were also raised about children and mothers having to walk through crowds of people outside the shop on their way to nearby primary schools.

Mr Rushton said the business could not accept or agree to reduced hours as the business “needs alcohol sales to survive.” After short deliberation, the panel agreed to grant the licence.

However plans for a convenience store to serve alcohol until 4am on one of Liverpool’s most historic streets have been swerved. A bid had been lodged with the local authority for a premises licence at the former Cotton Box unit on Smithdown Road.

Applicant Mustafa Salmo is to open a new shop in the space and serve alcohol into the small hours. Having initially sought to extend trading until 4am, the business owner has agreed to a terminal hour of 1am after negotiations with Merseyside Police.

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