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Stop the spread of off-licences; viewpoint.

Dear Editor, It is really scarcely surprising that research by Alcohol Concern suggests there is a close link between the number of off-licences in an area and the number of underage drinkers admitted to hospital after drinking.

Currently there is a legal presumption that a retailer who submits an application for an off-licence will be successful unless he or she is of demonstrable previous bad character. In consequence, urban areas now have huge numbers of off-licences; Dudley Road in Wolverhampton, for instance, has 12.

Licence holders compete to sell cheap booze and, on occasions, fail to establish that the potential purchaser is over the minimum age; certainly some seem to be less scrupulous than pub landlords with a personal licence to defend.

Parks and public open spaces up and down the country are now so plagued by teenage drinkers that they are having to introduce alcohol bans with the support of the police. The Government talks a lot about localism.

How about empowering local communities with the authority to hold referenda as to whether they want more off-licences to open in areas where supply already exceeds demand? Coun John Rowley Wolverhampton
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 15, 2011
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