Police have asked Redbridge Council not to allow a South Woodford off-licence to sell alcohol into the early hours of the morning.

Woodford Express, in George Lane, South Woodford, applied to the council’s licensing committee asking to sell alcohol until 3am from Thursday to Saturday and 1am on all other days.

At a meeting to discuss the request on October 16, however, a representative for the business agreed this was excessive and said they were now only asking to sell alcohol until midnight.

The off-licence is located in a Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ), where there are existing problems due to alcohol, meaning applications should only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

'It's just a very good convenience store'

A spokesperson for the business said it was “very successful” and had “never had a major issue or problem related to the sale of alcohol”.

Responding to worries raised at the meeting, he said: “I accept your concerns and because of that we just want to pull this back and just ask for an hour extension.

“I believe that an hour extension to midnight is appropriate for people who leave their work and do a quick shop before going home.

“The shop has been there for many years, it’s just a good convenience store. We do not want to attract alcoholic people, we do not want to encourage that.”

Asked by Cllr Anne Sachs (Lab, Chadwell) how staff would respond to a drunk person trying to buy alcohol, he said: “If they become aware that this person already had alcohol, we would not serve this person.”

Read more: Backlash after 80-year-old Wanstead cafe asks to open later

Police Constable Anton Brown told the committee: “Obviously this could have an impact on the area. Selling alcohol to anyone at that time is likely to encourage drunkenness.

“The police concern is very simple: if the licence is granted, we believe there will be additional problems in the area.”

He said pubs in South Woodford “attract a lot of crowds from Essex” and added: “Any call that that off-licence makes after 11pm will be an additional burden (on police).”

Licensing enforcement officer Priya Cheema agreed the application should not be granted as it would “attract those who are already intoxicated leaving the pubs and bars to continue their drinking”.

She said: “The premises are also in very close proximity to South Woodford train station so will have people who are coming from central London, who have been drinking.

“When customers are intoxicated, it could lead to violent crime such as assaults and increased footfall in the area could lead to residents being disturbed by noise.

“The applicant has not demonstrated how they would mitigate any problems that may occur. The hours currently are more than appropriate for an off-licence in a CIZ.”

The licensing committee will issue its decision by October 23.

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