Today's Express, Duke Street

Licence Revoked for Town Centre Shop

  • Today's Express, Duke Street, Reading had its licence revoked in February 2023
  • The decision follows a series of serious breaches and despite repeated warnings by the Council’s licensing team

A TOWN CENTRE convenience store has had its licence revoked following a series of serious breaches and despite repeated warnings by the Council’s licensing team.

Today’s Express, at 17 Duke Street, Reading, was subject to a number of inspection visits by Licensing officers between January 2021 and March 2022, initially following up on concerns raised by Thames Valley Police that the premises were breaching its licence conditions.

On 19 January 2021, Reading Council licensing officers visited the premises and found no part of the premises licence could be produced. The licence holder could not demonstrate that staff were authorised to sell alcohol, or indeed that adequate training for staff had taken place.

In two follow-up visits, between January and March 2022, further breaches of licence conditions were identified.

The licence holder did not comply with the condition to maintain accurate time-stamped CCTV recordings of the premises and was unable to provide footage of incidents, when asked to do so, by the police.

Footage that was made available in November and December 2022 showed several instances of alcohol being sold late at night, outside of permitted hours.

Repeated attempts were made by Reading Council and Thames Valley Police over the three-year period to work with the licence holder to improve standards and compliance. Despite a number of opportunities, the premises failed to engage with officers.

At a hearing on 10 February 2023, members of the Council’s Licensing Applications Sub-Committee agreed to revoke the premises licence for Today’s Express.

Licensing officers considered the combination of the premises licence holder’s poor, and inconsistent record of compliance with their premises licence conditions to seriously undermine the licensing objectives of: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and the protection of children from harm.

The licence will remain in force during the 21-day period in which the premises licence holder may appeal or if an appeal is lodged until that appeal is disposed of.

Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Community Safety, said:

“This is a positive result thanks to the dedicated work of our licensing officers to keep our residents safe. There were efforts to work with the shop over an extended period of time, but they consistently failed to meet our standards which are in place for all shops carrying licensable products. Nonetheless, this decision was not taken lightly, and the enforcement action taken considered the number of concerning and repeated breaches of the licence conditions.

“Officers will always work with Reading’s businesses to support them with ensuring they comply with the law, ensuring a safe and level trading environment for everyone, however, if a shop consistently remains in breach of our standards expected of all businesses, they will face enforcement and a possible revocation of their license, as has happened in this case.”