R and A Global Food wants alcohol from Preston Road to Brighton Brighton News

A SPECIALIST grocer has applied for a license to sell alcohol but faces objections from neighbours, Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police.

R and A Global Food Limited has applied for a premises license for 17 Preston Road, Brighton, allowing the store to sell drinks from 9am to 11pm daily.

Managers Rigobel Fokou, 43, and Keubeng Tatsa, 40, opened the shop last November, having also run the neighboring Afrika Mart at 4 Preston Road for 11 years where they already have a licence.

But in February last year the council extended its ‘special stress zone’ – where stricter rules govern the granting of new licenses – to include Preston Road. This was in response to concerns about alcohol-related crime and anti-social behavior.

Inspector Michelle Palmer-Harris filed a formal objection to the license application on behalf of Sussex Police.

She said the council revoked the license for the premises at 17 Preston Road in 2018 after a long history of breaching license terms and failing test purchases by underage customers.

At least three other license applications for the premises have been denied or withdrawn due to its troubled history when it was known as International Food and Wine.

Even though Mr. Fokou and Ms. Tatsa are new candidates, Inspector Palmer-Harris said the store’s history is relevant to the candidacy.

The Argus: We are concerned about the application to sell alcoholWe are concerned about the application to sell alcohol

In October 2020, she said, illegal cigarettes were found for sale in the store when it was known as A Nifty Store.

Inspector Palmer-Harris said the force was concerned that people were buying drinks on site and consuming in areas where alcohol-related crime and anti-social behavior were a problem.

This would increase the risk of more problems in places where many incidents were already fueled by alcohol.

She also said the claimants had not followed the lead of other locally responsible licensed establishments in offering not to stock strong beer and cider or in volunteering not to sell individual cans.

Donna Lynsdale, the council’s licensing officer, opposed the license application on the grounds of protecting children from harm and preventing crime, disorder and public nuisance.

She said: “The premises have a long history of breaching license terms, mismanagement, failed underage test purchases, unpaid (bootleg) alcohol and food safety issues, resulting in revocation of the premises license.

“While this is a different applicant to the previous premises license, it is important to inform the panel of the recent troubled history of these premises.”

The neighbors wrote to the council filing formal objections and started a petition which was signed by 63 people asking the council not to grant the licence.

Ms Tatsa said she and Mr Fokou wanted to merge the two stores on the larger 17 Preston Road site and continue to sell African and Caribbean products.

She said: “We are experienced and professional people. We know what we are doing. When we got here I could see that the ‘denial logs’ had never been filled out. I refuse people and I fill them.

At the moment, the papers only cover a refusal by staff to sell tobacco, usually if someone looks too young and has no proof of age.

Sussex Police and the council’s licensing team are asking businesses to keep logs for two years to record when and why they refused to serve a customer with an age-restricted product.

A council licensing panel, made up of three members, is due to decide whether to grant a license at a hearing next Thursday. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and be broadcast on the council’s website.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-08 08:07:21

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