This is a happy outcome, despite Mayank and Snehlatta Patel being about £5,000 worse off (momentarily, one hopes). That's what it has cost them to get an off licence for their prettily named (after their daughter) Riya Food & Wine in Rainham, Essex.
They trade on a parade of four shops - one being their CTN. Mayank says that when they acquired their second unit, a c-store, there were rumours that gaining a licence would be difficult. The store is next door to a Threshers, but the chain didn't object, neither did the Patels' private landlord. The fire officer was also happy.
Still, the couple got up a 350-signature petition and armed themselves with a solicitor who put in the application for them.
It all went downhill after that. The solicitor submitted the wrong paperwork twice - I know it isn't rocket science but it can't be that easy if a solicitor got it wrong twice - and eventually pulled out because he had a very busy calendar. Mayank had passed the training course and got his personal licence, but a premises licence still eluded him. He rang for some advice.
I gave him licensing specialist Chris Mitchener's number (07831 159450) and it was quickly sorted with a new solicitor who understands the licensing field very well. The licence was granted with two conditions: a CCTV camera with at least 21 days' digital recording and the installation of a Mosquito to address local concerns about young people and 'hoodies'.
It's interesting that Havering Council is in favour of the 'ultrasonic teenage deterrent'. The Co-op is the first chain to announce it is going to stop using the Mosquito on the grounds that it may have serious effects on people with autism. Difficult one. A few rotten apples congregating on your front will spoil it for everyone else.
For Mayank's part, it added another £500 to his costs, but he is very happy with the outcome.

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