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Approved: One Stop site in Pontnewydd gets alcohol licence but still needs changes to its planning application

One Stop has been awarded a licence to sell alcohol from the former Pontnewydd Inn pub in the town. The national chain is now waiting for the planning committee to meet and decide if the conditions attached to the site’s original application can be altered.

Last week Cwmbran Life reported on concerns from residents and business owners about the impact of the convenience store opening the village.

In 2013 a planning application was approved to allow the former pub on Commerical Street to change into a shop but with conditions that limited the size of delivery vehicles, the times they could visit and where they could stop to unload. One Stop want those conditions amended as they say their shop could only open and be commercially viable if they can use longer delivery vehicles and unload stock while parked on the main road outside the front entrance.

A hearing was held today to decide if alcohol could be sold from the site.

Today’s licensing panel- Tuesday 22 November 2022

Four representatives from One Stop attended today’s hearing at the Civic Centre. Aqua Parekh, a Pontnewydd resident whose family run Richmond Wines, attended to speak against the application to allow One Stop to sell alcohol every day of the week from 6am to 11pm.

The licensing panel was made up of three councillors:

  • Cllr Giles Davies, Abersychan Ward
  • Cllr Norma Parish, Panteg Ward
  • Cllr Steven Evans, Upper Cwmbran Ward

Anti-social behaviour

Mrs Parekh said she asked Gwent Police for information on alcohol-related incidents in Pontnewydd. They told her there were 44 in 2020 and 99 in 2021.

“I’m aware of anti-social behaviour in the area. It’s double the year before.” She said another licensed premises in the area would “increase the issues we have with alcohol”.

Richmond Wines had reduced its opening hours to 9am to 9pm following a “consultation” with her neighbours, Mrs Parek said, “We are respectful for people who live here. I want to live here in peace.

“I think it’s irresponsible to sell alcohol from 6am. It’s disruptive and excessive. Pontnewydd is a residential area where we live, not somewhere where there should be an increase in alcohol licenses.

“It will create another public nuisance and litter.” 

Nicola Smith, a solicitor representing One Stop said that Gwent Police had seen the application and not raised anything about anti-social behaviour. Ms Smith said the police had withdrawn their comments about the application once One Stop said they would include two extra conditions:

  1. The licence holder shall take steps to ensure that there is no consumption of alcohol purchased from the premises outside at the front of the premises.
  2. Should customers be outside the premises causing congestion, loitering and/or causing Anti-Social Behaviour, the premises supervisor, manager or other competent person shall advise them to move away from the vicinity.

CCTV and proxy sales

Mrs Parekh and councillors on the panel asked questions about the position of the CCTV cameras, how would they be monitored, and how staff would be alert for adults buying alcohol or under 18s (known as proxy sales)?

They were told that One Stop staff undergo regular refresher training to spot the signs of adults buying items to give to underage drinkers. Ms Smith said One Stop was an “experienced operator with a good compliance record.” She said that the store’s CCTV team would review the locations and make sure any cameras were in the right position and used effectively.

Summary of decision

The panel met in private before calling everyone back into the room. In the summary of the decision, a council officer said that the panel were “limited to promoting the licensing objectives” and although they were aware of issues around competition, traffic and car parking, they were “planning issues” and “not relevant” to today’s hearing.

She said they had concerns about increasing anti-social behaviour but “again, these occurred without One Stop being present”.

She told the chamber that after going through all of the licensing objectives and hearing that Gwent Police were “satisfied” with the application they would approve it.

Views from the community

Following the hearing, Mrs Parekh said: “I’m very disappointed. I did believe that they would consider the people that live there and maybe give reduced opening hours.”

Councillor Sue Morgan, Pontnewydd Ward, said: “Our concerns are about safety and the village thriving and continuing to be the heart of the community so councillors will go on providing that support.”

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Posted inNews

Approved: One Stop site in Pontnewydd gets alcohol licence but still needs changes to its planning application

a boarded up pub
The former Pontnewydd Inn pub