Stoke has spoken and a controversial liquor store application has been withdrawn after hundreds of objections from local authorities and community members.
The Black Bull Liquor chain has backtracked on its plans to open a bottle store on Songer St after 205 objections were made to Nelson City Council last month, including a petition with 112 signatures.
In April, Nelson Weekly reported that, if approved, it would be the seventh off-license liquor store within a 1.5 km radius.
Among the objectors were churches, schools, neighbourhood support groups, a GP, Nelson Grey power and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board.
NMDHB alcohol licensing officer Carol McIntosh wrote that the application demonstrated “insufficient knowledge of the environment surrounding the proposed premises”.
“An additional off-licence would provide increased access to alcohol increasing the likelihood of harm in this community.”
Nelson Police also objected, saying that in the past year there had been 151 calls for service in the area of the proposed premises for disorderly behaviour, breach of the peace, violence/intimidation/threats, wilful damage, trespass, shoplifting and suspicious behaviour.
“It has been a problem area for police. It has become a youth hangout area due to the free wifi from the public library, the outdoor basketball court and the supermarkets,” wrote Sergeant Kyle Bruning.
“Police believe the applicant has failed in his duty of care to understand the location he proposed to operate the licensed premises from.”
Black Bull is owned by Auckland-based Thirsty Liquor, which has 40 such stores nationwide, including one in Richmond. The company did not respond to requests for comment.
St Barnabas Anglican Church wrote that it already had problems with ‘alcoholic squatters’ in its grounds.
“The Black Bull has aggressive pricing and will only make alcohol more readily available to these people,” the church’s submission said.
Many Stoke residents also objected, referring to the density of alcohol outlets in the area and the proximity of the proposed location to schools, parks and community buildings.
“For heaven’s sake, please no more liquor outlets in Stoke,” wrote Ray Wishart.
“There is an increasing law and order problem in the suburb and those of us who live there have no desire to see this increased,” added Bev Humphreys.
Ron Collings, a resident at the Stoke Retirement Village wrote that they already experience beer bottles being thrown over the fence and breaking on their concrete path.
“We don’t need it, we don’t want it, so don’t allow it,” added Beni Rae.
Rosey Duncan, Health Promoter at Health Action Trust, who has been vocal in her concerns over the outlet, says she is “stoked” with the outcome.
“We’d like to congratulate the people and organisations in Stoke who made this happen by spending some time to let council know that they objected to this application and their reasons for doing so.
“This is a great example of how a community can have a say about what they want in their neighbourhood and a good reminder for people that if they see an application for alcohol sales that they don’t want in their area, that they have a legal right to oppose it, and that they can win.”