MP and council health chief object to West Street off licence plan

111 West Street, where Senthilnataal Periyasamy wants to open a new off licence.
111 West Street, where Senthilnataal Periyasamy wants to open a new off licence.
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Key Sheffield figures say a sixth off licence in West Street would add 'fuel' to the problems of street drinking and violence.

MP Paul Blomfield and the city council's director of public health Greg Fell are among those to raise concerns about Senthilnataal Periyasamy's plans for the vacant building at 111 West Street.

Street drinking is a problem in West Street.

Street drinking is a problem in West Street.

Councillors will make their decision on the application on Thursday. Mr Periyasamy, who lives in Chester, wants the licence to apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But objectors say it will add to the problem of street drinking in the area - an issue that has been highlighted a number of times in the past 12 months. They have repeatedly called on the council to set up a cumulative impact policy, or CIP, to help judge such applications in the wider West Street context.

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‘Enough is enough’ - Sheffield residents and businesses oppose fresh off-licence plans for area ‘blighted’ by street drinkers

Sheffield Council's director of public health Greg Fell.

Sheffield Council's director of public health Greg Fell.

Mr Blomfield, the MP for Sheffield Central, said he had previously opposed similar applications nearby because of 'deep concerns about the way the West Street area has deteriorated to the detriment of local businesses and residents'.

He added: "The concerns of local residents around safety, anti-social behaviour and public health are well known and I strongly believe that any decision on this application should be refused or at the very least deferred until the completion of work into the establishment of the CIP has been completed."

Greg Fell works for the city council as the director of public health. He said their were problems relating to crime and disorder, public nuisance and possibly public safety.

Mr Fell said it was impossible to prove that a sixth off licence would make these issues worse, but added: "It's hard to make the case that an additional licensed premises is going to improve the situation that seems to be the case in this part of the city centre."

The Sheffield City Centre Residents' Action Group, or SCCRAG, spent the best part of 2016 asked for a CIP for West Street.

Their 11-page objection started with a picture captioned 'alcoholic licking up spilled beer off West Street pavement'.

It said West Street had been the centre of 'three years of anti-social behaviour caused by a number of people addicted to alcohol, illegal highs and prescription drugs', and a sixth off licence would provide 'fuel' for the problems.

And several businesses, including Creator Hair and Shepherd Opticians, also raised concerns.

The Star was unable to reach Mr Periyasamy for comment.

The other five off licences in West Street are Sothall News and Booze, Tesco Express, West St Off Licence, Bargain Beers and Aslan Go Local.

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