A newsagent was granted an alcohol licence after agreeing not to stock beer, lager, or cider in an attempt to curb street drinking.

Brent Council today (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application by Westfield Food and Wine in High Street, Harlesden, on the condition it followed rules set by council licensing officers and the Metropolitan Police.

These included the prohibition of selling beers or ciders and regular training for staff to ensure licensing objectives are upheld.

This was despite objections from ward councillors and some people living nearby who suggested there could still be issues with street drinkers buying wine and spirits at the shop.

Philip Fry, a resident opposed to the plans, explained many problems stem from the purchase of high strength white rum – often those with 63 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) – and provided photo evidence of such bottles being littered in the area to the licensing committee.

And Cllr Jumbo Chan (Lab, Kensal Green) said alcohol related antisocial behaviour is “consistently one of the highest levels of complaints” in his ward.

Both objectors called for a minimum unit price condition to be imposed on the licence, which would see alcohol be sold for at least 70p per unit – for example a 10-unit bottle of wine would cost a minimum of £7.

Mr Fry explained this would price out those looking to buy high-strength spirits and would help address the issues of street drinking and antisocial behaviour.

However, the committee suggested this would be “unnecessary and disproportionate” and did not attach this additional proposal.

There were also some concerns about the applicant’s ability to uphold the licensing objectives after he was caught selling alcohol in October 2020 despite not having a licence.

The committee acknowledged this but argued he had “learned from past mistakes” and now possessed full knowledge of his responsibilities after undertaking training.

It added his willingness to not sell beer, lager, and cider showed a “clear demonstration of giving thought to the problems” in his environment.