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STAFFORDSHIRE BEER: Devil’s Taphouse owner hoping to open beer shop

STAFFORDSHIRE BEER: Devil’s Taphouse owner hoping to open beer shop

Image: LDRS

A Stafford businessman is hoping his bid to open a beer shop two doors down from his town centre taphouse will get the thumbs up from councillors.

Jack Taylor opened The Devil’s Taphouse in Newport Road last September, during the period between two national lockdowns when pubs and bars were allowed to serve customers indoors.

Although restrictions on pub openings have continued over the past few months as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus, The Devil’s Taphouse has been able to sell ale to customers to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. And now Mr Taylor is planning to open The Devil’s Bottlehouse in another Newport Road shop unit.

Not everyone has welcomed the expansion however. The application for a premises licence for the new bottle shop has met with objections from two nearby businesses – a nightclub in Newport Road and a soft furnishings store in Bridge Street.

Stafford Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee will meet virtually on Monday (April 19) to make a decision on the application.

The objection from Couture Leisure Ltd stated: “I believe this application will breach the objectives of the licence.

“I have grave concerns over any off licence offering for sale high strength alcohol that can be carried out onto the streets and potentially drunk in a no drinking zone with no supervision. When town is open as normal it would pose a risk to public safety to have people walking around with glass bottles in their hands and an easy access to cheap alcohol with no supervision.

“I believe having this off licence come bar open with such a late licence will have a negative impact upon crime and disorder, encouraging people to drink and congregate on a very busy road with high levels of footfall particularly on weekend nights when traditionally the people in the town centre drink more alcohol and therefore can only be seen as a negative for the area as a whole.”

The objection from Express Curtains stated: “We currently operate a soft furnishing shop which has a rear exit next to the proposed licensed premise. We have two legitimate parking spaces, as confirmed in the Land Registry, which gives us access to the rear of our property (in) Bridge street Stafford, we have parking rights and loading and unloading rights.

The current access to the property is severely restricted by beer barrels currently owned by the proprietor of 147 Newport Road, the same individual applying for the licence. If the licence is granted I believe that the area to the rear of Bridge street will get cluttered with barrels and deliveries, which due to poor access will interfere with our property rear and official parking places.

“As a high street shop owner we have had two large shop windows broken, blood splattered over our shop windows and feel that we do not need any further alcohol fuelled incidents around this area, especially as there are currently more than enough alcohol facilities within 50m of the applicant.”

But Mr Taylor, 23, said that there had been no objections raised to the previous application for The Devil’s Taphouse. He added that he had agreed a series of conditions with police to make sure licensing objectives were met if the new licence was granted.

He said: “We believe it’s completely vexatious. It’s just a shop – it will only be open until 6pm or 7pm. All the responsible bodies are fine with it and I will be happy to take questions from councillors.

“We have never had police called to The Devil’s Taphouse. I had The Bear (in Greengate Street) for two years and we never had any issues – we had a very good relationship with the council.

“We have made a real name for ourselves in Stafford over the past nine months and we have had so many words of encouragement from people saying they don’t understand why this is happening.

“I think this is more of a personal vendetta to us really. I find it quite sad.

“We want to bring people into this part of town. The High Street has suffered enough over the past months – let’s work together, not against each other.”

Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter


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