UNDER CONSTRUCTION: A new liquor store has been granted consent to open on Gloucester St despite 29 submissions against it. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Another liquor store to open

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A controversial new liquor store has been granted consent to open its doors, despite 29 objections and concerns around the number of businesses already selling alcohol in the area.

The Nelson District Licensing Committee last week granted an off licence to SRS Ghuman and Sons Ltd to open a bottle store on Gloucester St, the first decision made by the new committee following the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 late last year. But it added several conditions, including not selling single bottles of beer or RTDs and no advertising on the roadside.

The new store is currently under construction and will be called The Bottle Store. Owner Rambir Singh owns around ten discount-style bottle stores in the North Island, but says he won’t run his Nelson business that way and will be aiming at the higher end of the market.

Other conditions include not selling legal highs, no pallets of alcohol to be displayed on the floor area of the shop and the owner “gave certain assurances” that he will do regular rubbish clean-ups in Gloucester St and the surrounding areas, including Pioneer Park and the United Video forecourt.

The committee – including former councillors Derek Shaw and Gail Collingwood and chair Oke Blaikie – said there was limited evidence in the objections that the store should not open. They also noted that there was no objection from the police, medical officer of health or Nelson City Council.

Councillor Matt Lawery, who objected to the licence being issued, says he’s disappointed the liquor store will open and is warning people to get ready for more liquor stores opening in the city. “The government claimed the new act would give communities greater say on local licensing matters. That has not happened in the case of Gloucester St. The result is a gift to the liquor industry and a blow to the community that may have serious long term consequences,” he says.

“Despite the fact there are already five off-licences within walking distance of Gloucester St, the committee concluded that another one would not be a problem. The message that comes through the decision is that the licensing committee is not prepared to tackle the issue of liquor store density. It seems that if you apply, you are likely to be granted a licence.”