Southsea 24-hour convenience store faces losing licence over complaints about customers fighting and shouting

A CONVEIENCE store in Southsea could be stripped of its alcohol licence following complaints about its customers being in fights and shouting throughout the night.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 5:23 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 6:10 pm
The New Kwiki Mart in Albert Road, Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves 103818-2

Next week a Portsmouth City Council licensing sub-committee will meet to consider issues linked to New Kwiki Mart in Albert Road which faced a similar hearing in 2014.

Resident Karen Whiteaway, who called the review, said the 24-hour shop attracts ‘all-night gatherings’ which last into the morning and that she had been forced to report incidents to police ‘several times’.

‘They are drinking alcohol on the street bought from the store, leaving their empty can, bottles and plastic cups all over the pavement and in the gutter,’ she said.

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‘They end up drunk, shouting, singing, fighting, using the side road and my gateway as a public toilet.

‘I get that this is a convenience store and someone's living but this is only convenient for the drunks and a big inconvenience for the residents living in the area who shouldn’t have to live with this anti-social behaviour.’

Her complaint has been supported by several of her neighbours who echoed concerns about late night issues.

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Police data shows five incidents ‘directly linked’ to the store have been recorded since the beginning of the year plus 13 others indirectly linked.

Ward councillor Hugh Mason said the hours of the licence should be reduced but that the problem was the fault of customers and that its management should not be blamed for all the issues.

The store has also received support, including from The Akash restaurant nearby whose owner Jafor Ahmed said the complaints were ‘unfounded’.

Mr Ahmed said due to the nature of the area being more night-focused the issues would happen regardless of whether the shop was open.

‘We have been operating next to Kwiki Mart for many years and never encountered any problems or concerns with how it's run,' he said. 'It is run professionally and efficiently, respecting [its] licence, and the neighbouring community.’

Jon Wallsgrove, a solicitor representing the store and owner Panchalingham Aranan, said there was ‘no evidence’ the sale of alcohol from it was creating anti-social behaviour in the area.

‘It is accepted that on occasion individuals outside his premises are consuming alcohol but they have not purchased it from his shop,’ he said.

‘(There is) extensive CCTV and had any incident been referred it could have been proved that they are not purchasing the alcohol from his store.

‘Panchalingham Aranan and his staff are doing a good job in difficult circumstances. It is not their responsibility to police Albert Road.

‘All they can do is attempt to move people away from the shopfront, as most, if not all, of the businesses in Albert Road do.’

The hearing will take place on Thursday.

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