Home Bargains refused licence in Springburn alcohol hot spot
A discount store in the north of Glasgow has been refused an alcohol licence as health problems caused by drinking in the area are double the Scottish average.
Home Bargains in Springburn had applied to Glasgow City Council's licensing board to sell wines, beers and spirits.
But the bid was rejected as alcohol-related harm in the area is 220% higher than the national average.
Home Bargains said it did not agree that the move would encourage drinking.
Elaina Smith, of Glasgow city health and social care partnership, told the licensing board on: "This neighbourhood is already filled with supermarkets and stores which sell alcohol.
"To have another one would make the problem even bigger. The existing harm levels in Springburn are above the Scottish rates.
"Selling alcohol in this Home Bargains is likely to add to the problem."
Councillor Margaret Morgan said: "I am shocked that the alcohol harm rate in Springburn is 220% above the national average.
"People can buy alcohol from Tesco and Lidl. Having another shop selling alcohol is going to make the issue even bigger."
Members were informed by the Home Bargains representative that the shop in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, could sell alcohol and there had not been any problems.
Councillor Alex Wilson said: "I am very aware of the retail park in Clydebank - it adds value to the area.
"But I am also concerned about the alcohol-related harm levels which have been presented to us.
"I would like to know what you would do to address that and give the board some comfort?"
A representative for Home Bargains said: "I don't agree that the supply of alcohol would lead to people drinking more or drinking more harmfully.
"What we can enforce is the Challenge 25 and work with the local authority and police if there were concerns about people's drinking habits.
"We have staff who are trained at identifying signs of people who are intoxicated and they would not sell them alcohol."
Mr Wilson replied: "While I agree with you on some things, I have seen severe intoxication on many occasions in Springburn shopping centre which worries me."
Councillor Matt Kerr said: "We have to understand that there are vulnerable people in this area who are more likely to drink alcohol."
Ms Smith added: "There are high levels of extreme poverty. They may not intentionally go to the store to purchase alcohol but if they see a bargain they will pick it up.
Following the discussion members refused the licence.
In May minimum pricing for cheap, high-strength alcohol came into force in a move the Scottish government claimed would cut consumption and save lives.
Story provided by local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter.