Sighthill Home Bargains granted alcohol license despite concerns over too much access to booze in the area

It was the chain’s second attempt at obtaining a license in an area with a significant amount of alcohol-related hospital admissions

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A Home Bargains shop near Sighthill has been granted permission to sell alcohol — at the second attempt — despite fears there are too many places offering booze nearby.

Glasgow’s Licensing Board agreed on Friday that the chain store can now stock alcohol at its premises on Cobden Road, part of the St Rollox retail park.

But the city’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) opposed the application, citing the level of alcohol-related harm in the area.

A previous bid for a premises licence was turned down in 2018, before the store had opened.

The HSCP representative said the store is in “the Sighthill intermediate data zone”, which “is 76 per cent above the Scottish rate in terms of alcohol-related hospital admissions”.

She acknowledged shoppers would visit from a wider area, but said a “number of localities” surrounding the site were also above the national rate.

The HSCP representative added: “We continue to be concerned about the high number of off-sales premises in the city, especially those in areas already identified as adversely impacted by alcohol harm.

“No disrespect to Home Bargains, we have enough outlets within this area.

“There is redevelopment happening within Sighthill which is going to be bringing hundreds of new houses, and hundreds of new people, and we already have a substantial alcohol offer within that area.”

She said data suggests “alcohol for consumption at home is the main driving factor in alcohol harms” and Home Bargains was planning to have a “significant” and “very visible” alcohol display.

Stephen McGowan, the licensing lawyer representing Home Bargains, said the alcohol display would be “smaller” than in the 2018 application and said the retail park store is “a destination premises.”

The Home Bargains at St Rollox retail park near SighthillThe Home Bargains at St Rollox retail park near Sighthill
The Home Bargains at St Rollox retail park near Sighthill

Market research, he said, showed the “vast majority” of people who shop at Home Bargains travel there by car and it is a “fair walk” to the nearest homes.

He said over 430 people were surveyed, with 65 per cent coming from “a much wider area” and 88.5 per cent arriving by car.

He said customers were “broadly split” on whether they would buy alcohol from the store, which he believes is “positive in the context of the application.”

“You wouldn’t see a rush to buy booze,” Mr McGowan said.

He claimed the area is “bereft of residential accommodation.”

Councillor Alex Wilson said there are a “large number of tenemental properties” just outside the area shown on a map presented to the board by Mr McGowan. He had concerns over “adding additional alcohol” into the area.

Mr McGowan said the board had “a policy of examining premises with the locality” and that was the area he had referred to.