A CENTRAL Bournemouth shop has regained its off-licence despite police claims that this would be a “backwards step” for Horseshoe Common.

Bournemouth Convenience Store, also known as London Market, on Old Christchurch Road was stripped of its licence after non-duty-paid alcohol was discovered on the site and it failed a test purchase.

But new owner Ali Solak, who has no association with the previous proprietor, successfully argued at a borough licensing board meeting last week to be allowed to serve alcohol between 12noon and 8pm.

Dorset Police made a representation against the application by citing cumulative impact policy, which calls for new licensing applications to be refused in areas with high anti-social behaviour and crime levels.

PC Steve Lemon told the board that there had been a “considerable drop” in alcohol-related incidents since Horseshoe Common underwent a major refurbishment.

Quoting a town centre-based colleague, he said granting the licence would be a “backwards step in the promotion of the area”.

However Mr Solak’s solicitor, Philip Day of Laceys, said that the force’s opinion was “entirely unsupported by the evidence”.

He added: “It wasn’t that long ago Turtle Bay opened overlooking [Horseshoe Common] – on-licensed [with a] big outside area – has that caused a problem?

“Well, if it has nobody has told me and as far as I’m aware no one has told you.”

And Mr Solak, a Bournemouth University graduate, said he wanted to run a “stable and reputable business”.

He also volunteered to be bound by licensing conditions meaning he will not be allowed to stock large bottles of cider and high strength beers, which it was argued are popular among homeless people.

Licensing board chairman Cllr Andrew Morgan said the committee had found Mr Solak’s efforts to limit possible cumulative impact “refreshing”.

Cllr Morgan did, however, reject a request for a 9pm terminal hour.

“We are giving you an opportunity here to trade responsibly,” Cllr Morgan told Mr Solak.

“We found that you are a credible applicant. You understand the difficulties and the sensitivities in this area.

“It is your opportunity to run a responsible business.

“It would be very regrettable if your business became associated with sales to street drinkers.”