Selling alcohol in Bournville – what’s your view?

A local newsagent has made national news by applying for an alcohol licence. Mr Kamal Sharma wants to sell booze from his Mary Vale road newsagent.

Local conservative councillors are opposing the proposal and have sent leaflets to residents in the area. They claim the are will be ‘diminished’ and the area will no longer be a famously ‘dry’ suburb.

The story has been featured in the Daily Mirror and even on Radio 4’s Today programme.

It’s the second time there’s been a challenge to the historic no-alcohol edict made by Quaker George Cadbury. Bournville is home to the only Tesco in the country that doesn’t sell alcohol after councillors and residents fought off their application for a licence in 2007.

Although there are no shops in Bournville that allow off-sales, the area is actually far from dry. There are many social clubs with licences to sell alcohol and there is also a public bar right in the centre of the Suburb.

The bar at Rowheath Pavilion is open to anyone and regular beer festivals are run at the venue.

So can Bournville still claim to be a ‘dry’ suburb? Let us know what you think.

16 comments on “Selling alcohol in Bournville – what’s your view?

  1. I really value the fact that Bournville is relatively alcohol free; this is one of the things that distinguishes this area and enables it to remain an enjoyable and special space for people to be. Communal drinking has particular value whereas selling alcohol to individuals for profit takes on a very different meaning. I say ‘No’ to giving out licenses to individual shopkeepers. Let us be different!

  2. As I live on Mary Vale Road and use the newsagents frequently I wholeheartedly support his application. It is a ridiculous claim that Bournville is a “dry” area when 100m from the newsagent there are 2 busy social clubs that are allowed to serve alcohol. If you want a bottle of wine or couple of cans of beer you have to walk to stirchley. This is taking profit and visit frequency away from my local shop and I would much rather support a bournville business on my doorstep. I’ve spoken with Kamal numerous times and he is a fine shopkeeper who doesn’t plan to open late and being a family man, I know he will abide by all laws and morals associated with selling alcohol. My own personal opinion is that those who oppose this application are favouring other businesses and being selective in their decision (possibly because one is the Cadbury club? Call me a cynic!) A rejection is sending commerce outside of bournville and based on historical values that are outdated and hypocritical if 2 other businesses in his immediate vicinity can be approved. This being said I do support the rejection of Tesco’s in bournville being given. They are a huge company, it’s also a petrol station and would much rather see a local independent business owner flourish.

  3. What we don’t need is empty beer cans and bottles strewn around the streets and parks, and youngsters and the isolated swigging in public places and getting drunk… I am not teetotal and have no concern with who makes or doesn’t make a profit in principle. Not everything revolves around that.
    At the present time, Bournville is a relatively safe and pleasant place, and I would like it to remain that way. That is not to say that alcohol is necessarily anti-social but it can bring with it problems, and there is nothing wrong with Bournville people, making their own rules regarding what happens in their own community. It can be a great thing to make independent decisions and not be pushed along by cultural norms. That, in my view, is why Bournville is such a lovely place to live, and I do feel privileged to live here.

  4. No alchol should not be sold in the off-license. Bournville has a unique heritage that needs to be preserved. It is what makes the village special. Mr Sharma should respect this and not demand that such an old tradition be overturned just for him !

  5. I HAV
    I have lived in Bournville for over 50 years, we do not need independent shops in the area selling alcohol. THere are sufficient supermarkets inthe locality if anyone wishes to purchase alcohol. Also this shopkeeper knew the situation when he opened his businness.

  6. This guy provides a useful service to the community and has diversified to respond to the needs of the community. EG a parcel collection / returns service (handy eh?) . If a license allows him to keep the shop commercially viable or (perish the thought) make a comfortable living I will definitely support the application. I am respectful of the historical position however one glance at the residents’ recycling boxes will show you how the community has moved on from George Cadbury’s original vision. My biggest concern is that if the application was successful it’s sets a precedent for Tesco.

  7. So whats the problem if people want a drink…go to the social clubs or the well organised festivals at Rowheath. Only have to look down the road at Stirchley to see the effects of people wandering around the street with alcohol..many underage…or Northfield in the ‘no alcohol’ zone drinking with blatant disregard for the law and worse, other people.

  8. As a resident in many locations over the years and now live on the Bournville Trust. Having experienced areas were alcohol is freely available and one that is one alcohol free, I prefer alcohol free, no matter the assurances we do not need a shop selling alcohol, it will only attract trouble and potential for litter and abuse. Say no to the application.

  9. If Bournville has remained safe prior to the application what will change? People say about litter… Everywhere gets litter and also a shop down the road and a social club across the road could attract violence and trouble. I believe it should be accepted. Elderly people and residents should be able to buy alcohol on the doorstep. Alcohol does not change an area people do so stop stereotyping young people and stop trying to stop some body earning money!

  10. No to selling alcohol. This was a known feature of the locality before the business was taken on. Alcohol is widely available – no prohibition, just respect for a local cultural tradition.

  11. Alcohol is freely available nearby in so many outlets. There is no requirement for yet another sales point, and the only reason it seems to me that this shopkeeper is so determined is for reasons of profit. Well there are more important things than profit, and one of the most important is a pleasant and safe environment in which to live. There will be more rubbish to deal with and more social problems if we begin to have alcohol sold in shops here. I suspect the community in the main do not want this. Many people choose to live in Bournville simply on the basis that it is a decent area in which they take responsibility for the environment seriously. Those who want alcohol on the streets, instead of in the communal settings such as the local clubs….let them go to live in another area and enjoy themselves elsewhere if that is what they want. Bournville is special because people are protective of it, are proud and pro-active. No, we do not want alchohol sold in our shops here!

  12. Ultimately, I think this comes down to whether or not we wish to set a precedent. Like it or not, it is a well-known fact that Bournville has, (on principle), for many years prohibited the sale of alcohol within its boundaries. Of course, denying a license to sell alcohol to this property, will not stop people drinking within this area, (or for that matter dropping litter), but it is significant in that it maintains the historic Quaker position on this subject. Why is this important? Well, partly it is because part of the attraction of the area is bound up with its historical links with this religion. But more significantly, it is that, in this libertarian world, were ‘anything goes’, it is a subtle reminder, that alcoholism is a slippery slope that can potentially lead to serious social and health-related problems. Presumably, the proprietor had an awareness of these issues, when the business was established. So, overall, I’m inclined to reject his application.
    Matters of principle are often overridden these days in favour of financial expediency: I’m thinking here about the attempts there have been to promote casinos, and lap-dancing clubs. But, in the long run, I think these things can have profound and detrimental effects on our society, and therefore, we should consider carefully, when making this type of decision.

  13. I don’t live in Bournville, so this does not DIRECTLY affect me regarding noise, nuisance, litter etc. I also respect the tradition of the Quakers. However, time has moved on and it does appear to be ‘selective’ as to who can and can’t be given a licence There should me a blanket rule ‘black and white’ ‘yes or no’ to licence granting. If I were a shop owner I would be looking at equal opportunity for all if others already have licences. Joan Goodger

  14. Joan, I do not think this is selective. If you read my posts above you will see that the issue is the difference between a shop, retail outlet and a communal setting such as Rowheath or other social clubs. No other shops are allowed licences.

  15. So he has been given his license but Tesco are not allowed to sell alcohol. How can that be ok? Bournville has loads of rules in place regarding the area, its residents and businesses that people abide to and have done for over a hundred years! What makes this one man’s application so special that he got given the go ahead???