Liquor outlet applicant unswayed by objections

Big Barrel's application for a liquor licence to open an outlet on the corner of Palmerston North's Botanical Rd and Tremaine Ave has sparked a flood of objections.

But applicant Baldeep Dhillon is persevering with the proposal, and is making contact with people in the neighbourhood to understand and help resolve their concerns.

The district licensing agency has received 28 letters, some of them the same, and five petitions opposing the proposed use of the former service station at the roundabout.

The police did not object.

City council head of environmental health services Wayne Jameson said because of community concern, the application has been referred directly to the Liquor Licensing Authority for a decision.

The key objection was the effect a fifth liquor outlet within a 2.5 kilometre radius would have on a low-income area.

People were concerned there would be an increase in alcohol-related violence and abuse, and that it would encourage the gathering of drunk people near surrounding houses.

Some people were also worried about the potential dangers of increased traffic around the intersection.

Mr Jameson said the objections had to meet certain conditions to be considered under the Sale of Liquor Act.

People had to have an interest that was greater than that of the public generally to make a valid objection.

Neither the agency nor the authority was entitled to take into account the effect granting the licence might have on competing businesses.

The next step was for the liquor licensing officers to prepare a report to send it and all other documents related to the application to the authority. Mr Dhillon has also been sent a copy of the police report and all the objections.

He said last week he was concerned much of the opposition had been based on misinformation about his business.

He has started his own consultation in the neighbourhood, and would work with the community to adjust opening hours and other aspects of the business if that would help.

He said he ran a responsible business, had already established a reputation for sponsoring community and sports groups, and would do what he could to support the Highbury community also.

Mr Jameson said the file on the application would be forwarded to the authority within the next week or so.

It was likely the authority would conduct a public hearing, he said.

It could be two to eight months before a decision is made.

Manawatu Standard