Raveena Sandhu 0

Give back the alcohol licence to Raj’s Place

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Thank you for coming into this page and we truly appreciate every single signature we receive. Below explains that the council have rejected our alcohol licence application due to their error and we are being penalised. The shop has been in our family for over 30 years and due to a technicality, we had to reapply. Please please please take a min to read and sign. Thank you in advance x

My father passed away in September 2016, he had previously owned and run the off licence and newsagents, along with my grandad. My mother and father bought this shop in 1986 and prior to this, my grandparents owned an off-licence on Kingfield Road, Foleshill, Coventry.

We leased out our shop in 2011 and due to a fire, the lease was terminated and unbeknown to us, the tenant had surrendered the alcohol licence.

In this time, the council built a Salvation Army Lifehouse, right opposite the shop. It was previously 100 yards up the road. The council at this point saw no harm in approving and making the building directly opposite an off-licence, one that was fully trading. In fact, the shop was trading for a year whilst the centre opposite was open.

Due to personal issues, my father did not reopen the shop and our parents made the hard decision to sell the shops (they owned the cafe, which had now been renovated into a chip shop next door).

However, following our fathers passing in September 2016, my brother decided he wanted to reopen the shop and continue what his grandfather and his father had built. The community was like family, a lot knew my parents before we were born!

My brother renovated the shop and we have comments daily at how clean it is, how modern it is but mainly how nice it is to have our family back in the shop.

The shop is a grocers, newsagents, we are expecting our lottery machine and paypoint machine in the next couple of weeks, and we house a coffee station.

The outstanding item was the alcohol licence. My brother applied and nobody in the area rejected this within the time the council give you. However, on the last day, the local police and the manager of the centre rejected this.

This meant we had to attend a mediation meeting with the council as mediators and my brother and the police/centre managers there to try and come to an arrangement.

To say the opposition were not there to mediate would be an understatement. We put forward suggestions of not selling alcohol over a certain percentage, not selling alcohol to anyone residing in the centre. We explained we had not requested a 24 hour licence and we would be closing at 9.30pm, due to it also being a residential area. Our suggestions were mocked at, and it went to a panel hearing.

Following this panel hearing, our solicitor who was absolutely brilliant and professional throughout, explained our reasonings. He also pointed out that at the time of the centre being built, the off licence was open and trading so who in the council felt it was acceptable to build it where they have.

As stated before, the Salvation Army was 100 yards up the road and we never had any issues and police could check their records. Whilst we’ve been open, we have not had issues with any of the residents across the road, however, the police are there almost daily.

The police feel crime will increase if we sell alcohol. The nearest off licence from us at the minute is a four minute walk and the second an eight minute walk. It’s worth noting one has a 24 hour licence to sell alcohol.

Another point the police and the centre manager continue to point out is that they house vulnerable people and that is their concern.

Please check their website:

Nowhere on their website does it state they home vulnerable people. It actually states they only accept homeless people from Coventry and local areas for a six month period. It states they do not house anyone who is a significant risk to themselves or anyone else.

That would suggest it be an alcoholic, drug addict or anyone with a mental illness. So the council and police are incorrect with have no basis for their point.

Secondly, it all comes down to that our off licence has always been there, for over 30 years and the Salvation Army was still built opposite a fully trading shop. Only to a silly technicality we had to reapply.

The centre is not an alcoholic rehabilitation centre and from observation, less than half are alcoholics. Some have fallen on hard times and look like you and me. It’s not fair we are being penalised for the councils error of building where they did and it definitely not fair that the pressure of them buying alcohol and causing bad behaviour falls on one person/business.

If an alcoholic wants a drink, they will find it. We as a business can only do so much. If we feel any one person is not in a position to drink anymore, we are more than happy to refuse them. This is what my grandfather and father always did and I don’t see why it would be any different now for the sake of a few pounds.

Due to a minority, the majority in the area lose out. We have regular customers and passing trade stopping to buy alcohol and we are not able to provide them with a service we’ve always had due to the council rejecting our licence, rejection, based on where the Salvation Army is situated.

We feel Coventry City Council made a complete error in allowing the centre to be built opposite an off licence and we are now being penalised for their error which ultimately has a detrimental effect on our business.

Please take a minute to sign this petition for us and feel free to leave any comments.

Thank you so much I’m advance.

The Gill Family x

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