Co-op Alcohol Licence?

Former Sally Ann shop on Mill Road

The Co-operative have submitted an application for an alcohol off-licence at their new store on the site of the former Salvation Army shop at 44A Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AS.

Fine Fare, Mill Road, courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection, from the Capturing Cambridge website

The application is listed on the Cambridge City Council website, here.
Full details may be found here.

Petersfield Labour Councillors, Richard Robertson and Mike Davey (City Council) and Linda Jones (County Council) have recently leafleted the streets around Cambridge’s Mill Road in the Petersfield ward (city side of the bridge) urging resident to object to the granting of this licence.

We believe there are already sufficient alcohol outlets on Mill Road, and that more would increase the likelihood of problematic street drinking in the area.

During the pandemic, we have managed to provide accommodation through the City Council for many people who have addiction and drink issues, which will hopefully aid their rehabilitation. However, this may not be effective for everyone longer term. […]

It’s important we don‘t return to the situation we had not so long ago with large groups of people drinking and being aggressive on Mill Road.

A few years ago, together with local residents, we managed to get Mill Road designated as a ‘Cumulative Impact Zone’ to stop any further off-licences being approved. Recently, this designation has been used to reject several applications for off-licences. The City Council has just reviewed and reconfirmed the Cumulative Impact Zone for Mill Road. Read/download the PDF here.

Some may feel that as the Co-op is likely to be a well-managed, large store it may justify having a licence. However, approving this licence will set a precedent. If it is approved, then other shops that have tried to get licences in the past and were rejected due to the Cumulative impact Zone would reapply and they would probably be approved.

We would urge everyone to continue to object to more alcohol outlets on Mill Road.

Petersfield Labour Councillors

An image of their full letter to residents can be viewed/downloaded here.


And what do the Co-op say to justify their alcohol licence? How do they intend to protect the Mill Road community?

The applicant has given thought to the potential impact of the grant of this application on the four licensing objectives and having regarding to the locality, the fact that the premises falls within the cumulative impact area of Cambridge City Council and discussions and agreement with the Police, considers that the following conditions are appropriate.

The hours during which alcohol is sold on the premises shall be 11:00 to 20:00 Monday to Sunday inclusive. There shall be a minimum of 2 Personal Licence holders employed at the premises. A Security Guard (SIA registered) shall be deployed at the premises during the hours when alcohol is permitted to be sold.

There shall be no sale of beer, lager or cider with an ABV content of 5.5% or above except for specialist branded premium priced products or products agreed by the Police. A maximum of 10% of the trading area of the store shall be used for the display of alcohol at any time.

There shall be no advertising of alcohol products in either the shop front windows or the exterior of the premises. Members of staff and security staff employed at the premises will not knowingly permit entry to the premises to anyone who is intoxicated. 

Co-operative Group Food Limited

Full details of the application and the Co-op’s proposed conditions may be found here.


Many readers will recall that Sainsbury’s were successful in their application for an alcohol licence in their 78/80 Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS.

This is rather different as, when they took over the store from the previous trader, a premises licence was already in place. A revocation of a licence, when a responsible multiple trader with a reputation at stake was taking over would have been difficult. However, as a result of representations from local residents, limitations were imposed of the hours for alcohol sales. Those restrictions are in line with those proposed by the Co-op for their new premises.

Some residents may feel that it would be inequitable for the mutually-owned Co-op to be trading at a disadvantage to their plc neighbours, Sainsbury’s.

Whatever your view, Mill Road Bridges are here to inform you. You can oppose or support this application by emailing licensing@cambridge.gov.uk. Please ensure that Co-opertive store 44A Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS in in the subject line. If you use this link, the subject line will be completed for you, in most email systems. Your email must reach Cambridge City Council’ licensing department by 23rd March 2021.

You may leave comments below, but these cannot be taken into account by the City Council’s licensing committee.