Supermarkets reject initiative to curb street drinking


The scheme aims to stop shops selling beers over 6.5%  pic: Philip Rowlands

Sainsbury’s supermarket is among stores refusing to cooperate with a Croydon Council initiative to curb street drinking.

The scheme, first proposed in January this year, would require supermarkets and off-licenses to stop selling beers over 6.5 per cent alcohol.

Sainsbury’s branches in the borough are currently still selling high alcohol content beer, including 7.2 per cent English Vintage Cider.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said in a statement that the supermarket “will of course continue to work closely with the police and Croydon Council on the issue” however did confirm that they  ‘have no plans to sign up to this latest initiative.”

Waitrose was the only store to agree to the scheme as their branch in George Street already initiated the removal of high alcohol products.

A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “Our plan to collaborate is the same with small and large businesses. We will write a proposal and invite them to a meeting.”

The voluntary scheme initially received a positive response when council licensing officials met with 20 off-license owners last month, however, Croydon’s small business community have stated that they will not sign up to the scheme if supermarkets refuse to comply.

Jeremy Frost, Chairman of the Croydon branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We are pro-personal responsibility but we don’t like policies that promote larger businesses. The risk for the smaller ones is high.”

Croydon Council is also currently working alongside police to change licensing guidelines for off-licenses to make it more difficult for them to open.

The proposal was influenced by the success of a similar scheme in Ipswich, which has seen a 73% fall in antisocial behaviour associated with street drinking according to police.

According to Croydon’s public health report from 2013, 24 per cent of Croydon residents drink at high risk and increasing risk levels, consuming between 22 and 55 units of alcohol per week.

This misuse of alcohol is estimated to cost the NHS £144 million every year.

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