United Kingdom: Fury at controversial Moonlight Drinks scheme to deliver alcohol across Southampton

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

United Kingdom: Fury at controversial Moonlight Drinks scheme to deliver alcohol across Southampton

 

Daily Echo

By Richard Percival, Reporter

October 4, 2016

CIVIC chiefs have sparked fury by approving controversial plans for a “dial-a-drink” scheme that will deliver alcohol to households across Southampton.

 

Moonlight Drinks has been given the green light to transport beer and spirits to customers’ homes in response to orders placed by phone.

 

Campaigners say they fear the 9am-midnight service will spark an increase in binge drinking, all-night parties and anti-social behaviour.

 

It comes amid increasing concern about rising alcohol consumption in Southampton and other UK cities, with more than nine million people in England drinking more than the recommended daily limits.

 

But Moonlight Drinks, based at Cumberland Place in Southampton, says no alcohol will be sold to anyone who is underage or appears to be drunk.

 

It also claims that the service could curb drink-driving by encouraging people to consume alcohol at home instead of going out.

 

The application was granted by Southampton City Council’s licensing sub-committee, despite objections from residents and the authority’s own environmental health department.

 

Police also made representations – but worked with the applicant to ensure the scheme was governed by a long list of conditions.

 

The decision to approve the doorstep delivery system has angered people who say their lives are already being blighted by alcohol-related crime.

 

One of the objectors was Lorraine Barter, of Harborough Road, who has spent years highlighting the problems plaguing residents in the Polygon area.

 

She said: “I’m absolutely disgusted that the council has supported an application that will make alcohol even more freely available.

 

“It’s a proven fact that the Polygon suffers endemic criminal damage and noise nuisance connected to drinking in bars, clubs and houses.

 

“Even if deliveries stop at midnight party hosts could easily stock up. Polygon and Fitzhugh parties have been known to go on from afternoon to mid-morning the next day.”

 

Fellow objector Stewart Morris, also of Harborough Road, claimed that the doorstep delivery service could lead to alcohol abuse among students in the city.

 

He added: “The council has a duty to protect them from harm.”

 

But the scheme was defended in documents submitted to the sub-committee by the applicant, Danielle Bull.

 

They said: “Moonlight Drinks is a genuine service and has no intention of fuelling late-night nuisance parties. Consequently it has chosen not to sell alcohol past midnight.

 

“The service could provide a strong part in providing a deterrent from drink-driving.”

 

The documents stressed that the business would operate a strict age verification policy in line with Challenge 25 to prevent alcohol being sold to anyone under 18.

 

It would also promote responsible drinking and adopt a zero tolerance approach to violent or anti-social behaviour.

 

No alcohol would be sold to anyone who appeared to be drunk.

 

A city council spokesman confirmed that residents raised concerns after the application was submitted.

 

But he added: “The sub-committee was impressed by the level of detail in the proposed conditions, particularly those preventing the sale of alcohol to underage customers.

 

“The applicant confirmed that the target market was not cheap alcohol on a large scale but a much smaller and refined service.”