COUNCIL chiefs have been left “red-faced” after a supermarket won its bid to sell alcohol in a new Dundee store — because of a “flawed” local stance on booze.
In January, the licensing board refused a bid for Aldi to have an alcohol aisle in its new shop at Myrekirk, due to a policy which says the city is over provided with booze outlets.
The policy meant there was a presumption that new drink sale license applications would be refused, as would existing businesses trying to increase the amount of alcohol they sold.
The policy was brought in as local health experts feared of the impact on people’s wellbeing should more premises open in Dundee selling alcohol.
The only exception was the Central Waterfront, where a series of bars, restaurants and hotels are planned.
But now, a sheriff has reversed that Aldi decision and said the council’s policy was “flawed” due to errors in a consultation during 2014.
Sheriff Kevin Veal said in his judgment the council should have identified which areas of the city it thought were overprovided for before consulting, rather than asking consultees to identify those areas.
Councillor Kevin Keenan, a member of the licensing board, said: “The Scottish Government tried to tackle the price of alcohol so they can change people’s approach to it and this was Dundee’s attempt but it’s not worked.
“It will be up to us now to decide how we go forward.
“I don’t know if this will lead to anyone else taking on the council but I’m sure there will be some who will now be considering their options.”
A number of shops have since been knocked back in their attempts to extend their alcohol sales areas.
Mohammed Misbah, who runs two shops and a hotel in the city, previously battled the council over a licence for a former shop on Strathmore Avenue.
He said: “The licensing board has been left red-faced over this. It shows the decisions they make can be unreliable. So many licences were refused because of that decision, which isn’t right.”
A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “We’re aware of the decision and we’re studying the judgment carefully.”
Aldi was asked for comment but hadn’t responded at the time of going to press.