Aldi gets full approval to open in Archway – as Islington Council cast aside alcohol objections

PUBLISHED: 20:47 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 21:09 26 February 2018

A file image of an Aldi store. The budget supermarket is eyeing a site in Archway. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A file image of an Aldi store. The budget supermarket is eyeing a site in Archway. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

Islington Council tonight gave Aldi full approval to open in Archway – casting aside concerns about problem drinking.

The town hall’s licensing sub committee granted the supermarket giant an alcohol licence. A decision not to could have thwarted Aldi’s plans to open in the current Poundland premises in Holloway Road later this year.

Tonight’s decision is in conflict with the council’s own policy, having designated Archway as an alcohol saturation zone because of “oversupply” of off-licences.

As reported by the Gazette last week, Islington had come under pressure from campaigners to reject a booze licence for this very reason, as well as problem street drinking.

It prompted an “aldi4archway” social media campaign from people who want the budget chain to open. Only one supporter actually turned up at tonight’s meeting.

But the committee was clearly convinced by Aldi’s submission. A legal rep started by gushing to bemused councillors how the company had previously won the “Which?” supermarket of the year award.

She eventually addressed the actual booze application, saying the supermarket won’t sell beer and cider above 5.5 per cent in strength. Aldi has also pledged not to advertise alcohol and place it away from the shop window.

The solicitor said: “We are aware of issues in Holloway Road. Off-licences are selling high strength alcohol 24 hours a day. That’s not what we are doing. This application is 11am to 10pm. No other Aldi supermarkets start selling alcohol this late, and that’s reflected in our application here.

“It’s a responsible application. This offers the chance to shop at a fixed lower price at a time when people are struggling. With convenience stores, prices can be inflated – that doesn’t happen in Aldi. They are the same nationwide.”

Anita Frizzarin, who lives in nearby Wedmore Gardens, is known for her outbursts against the council about Islington’s so-called poor cycling facilities. Ms Frizzarin was at tonight’s meeting to object to Aldi’s alcohol licence – though in a much less animated fashion than usual.

“There’s enough alcohol in Archway,” she told the committee. “I don’t object to the actual shop. But the last thing we need is more drunk people than there are already.

“There’s a huge amount of crime – kids on mopeds robbing people – and more alcohol doesn’t make the situation better.”

The committee, led by Cllr Nick Wayne, took five minutes to come to its decision in favour of Aldi. As is council custom, it did not disclose its reasons for this.

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