Board makes ‘rare move’ to stop liquor store opening

Members of the community protested last month over the alcohol store. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

The Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board has made a rare move in a bid to keep a controversial liquor store from opening in Phillipstown.

The board has been granted leave by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority so it can be involved in the appeal of a decision that declined a Liquorland application for a off-licence on Ferry Rd.

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Chairwoman Sally Buck said it was “probably” a rare move that the board received independent legal advice and sought leave to fight the appeal.

She said it was not normal for boards to seek leave, but it was what the residents were calling for.

“But we’re doing a good job, I think and listening to what our community wants. It’s clear they don’t want another bottle store.”

Ms Buck said it would be “interesting” to see her board’s move set a precedent for other boards to lobby against liquor outlets in their community.

Riccarton Liquor Ltd’s application was declined in May as the district licencing committee said the area was too “vulnerable” and another store could lead to lower prices in alcohol causing an increase in alcohol-related harm.

More than 100 objections were submitted to the board, including from the medical officer of health, police, residents and nearby Linwood College.

There are 17 off-licences within 1km of the proposed site, including six bottle stores, two supermarkets, four taverns with off-licences, two specialist alcohol outlets, plus another three alcohol outlets.

Ms Buck said Phillipstown does not need another liquor store.

“We are busy revitalising and re-energising our area, and there is no place for yet another off-licence in an already crowded market,” Ms Buck said.

“Under-age drinking and alcohol-related incidents and harm undermine community well-being.”

The application came from Steve Crotty and Michael Scott, who also own Liquorland Riccarton.

An appeal hearing date has yet to be set.