Lynda Jeffs, Kathy Voyles, Shirin Brown and Tane Feary are glad the appeal is going ahead as they vehemently oppose a large bottle store in Surfdale. Photo Merrie Hewetson

The final chapter in the fight against a new liquor store in Surfdale is under way as those in opposition submit appeals to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

Last week, an off-licence, which could see Surfdale Fruit and Vege transformed into a dedicated alcohol outlet, was approved by the Auckland District Licensing Committee despite strong opposition. The application was opposed by 35 community members, as well as the local board, and even the alcohol licensing inspector.

Along with the local board and several community objectors, Auckland Council licensing inspector Ritchelle Roycroft is appealing the decision on the grounds that the premises would increase the availability of alcohol in a socioeconomically deprived area with numerous sensitive sites nearby. 

She says it would therefore heighten the risk of unsafe and excessive consumption of alcohol and reduce the amenity and good order of the locality. The licensing inspector says the District Licensing Committee erred as a matter of law and “committed clear error” in failing to give appropriate consideration to existing levels of socioeconomic deprivation and alcohol-related harm in the area where Surfdale Fruit and Vege is located. 

She says the committee was “plainly wrong in failing to accord proper weight to the evidence of the inspector and objectors” and says sufficient weight wasn’t given to sensitive sites nearby such as Living Waters Church. 

Ms Roycroft says there was uncontested evidence showing that issuing the licence would increase both the quantity and the types of alcohol available in the locality.

Sophie Boladeras

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