By Robyn Bristow
An application for a Thirsty Liquor bottle-store in Amberley’s business area has been declined.
The Hurunui District Licensing committee – Hurunui Mayor Marie Black (chair), Cr Michael Ward, and Winton Dalley – said in a decision released on Friday, the impact of a new off-licence at 86 Carters Road, would be more than minor on the locality.
It also found granting the application would be contrary to the objects of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, 2012, in that it would not minimise alcohol-harm.
The committee received 93 notices objecting to the application by Townill Ltd, finding 56 of them valid under the act.
Concerns centred on the adverse impact a bottle store would have on the amenity values of the proposed locality.
Objectors were also concerned about the level of alcohol-related harm already in the community, the proposed days and hours of operation and the design and layout of the business.
“Put simply, the objectors do not want another bottle store in their community,” the decision says.
“A common theme of evidence we heard was that many community-based activities and services are conducted in and around the township, being a gathering place for locals and forming a hub for the community.
“Activities and amenities include, for example, the parks, the library, the school and preschools, the retail stores, the cafes, the sports clubs an community groups, the churches and the farmers market,” the committee said in its decision.
Its proximity to a number of “sensitive sites”, and other licensed outlets also concerned objectors, and it was felt another bottle store was not compatible with the pleasantness and character of the township.
Some objectors said they had encountered alcohol-related harm, including rubbish, nuisance, alcoholism, damage, vandalism, motor vehicle incidents involving alcohol, drinking of alcohol in the parks and public places, and alcohol-related incidents at the local school, according to the decision.
“The increased availability of a full range of alcohol product that appeals to youth was concerning. Others expressed concern that the bottle store would expose young children to alcohol and would normalise alcohol consumption in the community.
“A large number of objectors believed Amberley already had enough retail alcohol outlets, because there is already a bottle store should the community wish to obtain alcohol, specifically the fuller range of alcohol products,” the decision says.
A number of objectors told the panel they did not believe the store would be a “high-end” store as suggested by the applicant, but rather would be an ordinary discount chain liquor store.