The proposed site for Blackbull Liquor in Stoke. Photo: Kate Russell.

Concerns over liquor store for Stoke

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A Nelson health promotion organisation says a proposed new off-license liquor store for Stoke will do more harm than good, and is urging people to object to Nelson City Council by next Wednesday.

The Blackbull Liquor chain has applied for a license to operate the new bottle store at 201 Songer St, seven days a week from 9am to 10pm.

If the license is approved, it will become the seventh off-license within a 1.5 km radius, with the others being the Turf Hotel, Turf Liquorland, Stoke Liquorland, Countdown, New World and McCashins.

The site is also within walking distance of five schools, as well as pre-schools, a toy library, sports stadium, community hall and several parks and reserves.

Rosey Duncan, a health promoter at Health Action Trust, says that another low-priced, easily accessible liquor store in Stoke will only contribute to alcohol-related harm in the community.

“The more alcohol sales outlets, the easier it is for people to purchase alcohol,” says Rosie.

“And it will be the local community that bears the brunt with more pressure on local services to cope with the related problems.”

Meanwhile, Nelson City Councillor Matt Lawrey says the application highlights “a dangerous and gaping hole” in the city’s licensing laws, with there currently being no grounds for the Nelson District Licensing Committee to reject the application based on an increased density of outlets.

“Under current legislation, the only way you could prevent a liquor store from opening on the basis of density is if you had a rule about it in your Local Alcohol Policy, which the council are still finalising.”

Matt says he suspects there are plenty of people in Stoke who would object to another off-license in the area.

“Stoke is currently experiencing some challenging behaviour from some younger people. Opening a new store selling cheap RTDs until 10pm is unlikely to help that situation.

“Under the current rules, the best chance people have to stop it is to convince the licensing committee that it would have a negative impact on the neighbourhood.”

Anyone wanting to object to the application has until 2 May, and can do so via Nelson City Council’s website, emailing regulatory@ncc.govt.nz, writing to Alcohol Licensing, PO Box 645, Nelson 7010, or by visiting Civic House, 110 Trafalgar St.