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Wine wholesaler gets green light despite street drinking concerns

Black cab drivers and TfL workers were among those who opposed application

10 July, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

A WHOLESALER has been granted a licence to sell imported Georgian wine in Finsbury Park, despite the objections of black cab drivers, TfL workers and residents saying that it would fuel street drinking and crime.

S&B Impex Ltd had made the application to allow the sale of alcohol to be consumed off the premises Monday to Saturday between 10am and 8pm, and Sunday between 10am and 7pm.

In all, 13 objections were received from black cab drivers, TfL workers shopkeepers and residents, who were all worried about the impact another off-licence in the area would have on crime and anti-social behaviour.

One black cab driver said: “I oppose the premi­ses to be given a licence as there are enough prob­lems because of gather­ings in the station among alcoholics who make life very uncomfortable for me. As black cab drivers we have used this location for many years and there are already a number of off-licences in the area. This premises would make things horrible in the future. Alongside myself there are another 20 drivers consistently work­ing in front of this premises and we all oppose this.”

Another added: “We have a lot of disturbance from drunk people, as there are a lot of homeless who are vulnerable to alcohol.”

A service manager for TfL said: “The area has a long history of anti-social behaviour issues, many of which are drug- and alcohol-related.

“My staff have on many occasions been subjected to threats and abuse by members of the public who appear under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This has caused them to feel unsafe and intimidated.

“There are already several places in the area which sell alcohol but I have a concern that having another premises licensed to do the same will encourage further anti-social behaviour.”

But the application was approved after it became clear that the premises was not in fact an off-licence, but rather the owners were seeking a licence to sell imported Eastern European wines to registered wholesale customers only.

Representing the applicant, Corinne Tuplin said: “Orders from the premises are made only by telephone via a customer account. All orders must be made the day before collection, and the premises will only supply speciality wine.

“At present the client wants Georgian wine, but there may be possibly extensions into Ukrainian wine, Polish wine and maybe other areas of eastern Europe.

“There will be a minimum order size of six bottles.”

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