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Battle to stop Harrow shop’s 24hr alcohol plan over fears it could fuel crime

Locals are fighting against a Harrow shop’s plan to sell alcohol 24 hours-a-day in an area already ‘riddled with antisocial behaviour, alcohol and drug use, and littering’. Dozens of residents, as well as councillors and a city hall member are urging that the plan be refused.

Izzy Food Centre has applied to Harrow Council to open a convenience shop with a licence to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on Kenton Road. The premises is currently under refurbishment and closed to the public.

The application states that the shop will only sell alcohol to be drunk at home and won’t be providing a place for it to happen on site. However, some fear it could mean people head there when the pub closes and continue drinking in the street or at the bus stop.

Representative for Kenton West, Cllr Kanti Rabadia, said: “This premise could potentially lead to spill over continued drinking once the other pubs and premises nearby close for the night. Increased street drinking can have the effect of higher levels of drink fuelled crime including knife crime.”

He added: “There is a bus stop just outside the premises and can potentially be used as an outdoor sitting for the alcohol drinkers , especially at night and could add to safety concerns for bus stop users.”

Concerns were also raised about its proximity to nearby schools due to the potential for it to create an unsafe place for pupils, as well as making people feel intimidated when walking through the area at night.

Representative for Kenton East, Cllr Chetna Halai, said: “There is a local nursery, where small children attend which is not a good impression and certainly not a safe environment for children to see and be around littering as acceptable in this area.”

She added: “People who are walking home in the dark, particularly young people, women and the elderly would feel more threatened and afraid especially in the dark. This does not enhance public safety and community in Kenton East.”

A consultation carried out on the plan yielded dozens of objections from residents. One said: [The area] is riddled with a number of antisocial issues relating to loitering, alcohol and drug abuse as well as littering. The local authority no longer has the budget to clean up this area resulting in local residents having to pick up and clean up after these people.”

They added: “If anything the area should be reviewed for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)  and not have an additional pressure placed [on the area] by allowing an alcohol sales permit.”

The police see no issue with the licence being granted after the applicant agreed to a series of conditions, including a ‘Challenge 25’ policy, staff training, CCTV, and banning the sale of single bottles or cans. According to the latest police data, the crime rate in Harrow is ‘lower than average’, with just nine incidents having been recorded since June, 2023.

In an effort to assure residents, the applicant has also agreed to stop people ‘standing around talking loudly’ on the street outside the shop, not sell alcohol to already drunk customers and prevent any drinking on site, as well as keeping the noise from the bins ‘to a minimum’ after 11pm.

Harrow Council’s licensing panel will decide on whether or not to award the licence at an upcoming meeting of the licensing panel (February 13).