Welcome to Booze-Burgh?

A Wollongong councillor has warned his town could earn an undignified nickname if the state's liquor board approves two new liquor licence applications tomorrow.

Greg Petty said Helensburgh could earn the name "Booze-Burgh" if the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) grants liquor licences to two separate premises in the main street of town.

The board will consider licence applications tomorrow from Illawong businessman Charles Daoud and Chambers Cellars owner Steven Chambers to open stores at 20-24 Walker St and 37-39 Walker St respectively.

One shop would be known as Marley's Liquor Store; the other a Chambers Cellars chain store.

But Cr Petty said the suburb already had two bottle shops and the workers club selling takeaway alcohol.

He believed five stores for a population of just 6000 was too many.

"I believe three outlets selling takeaway alcohol is plenty. If additional stores are allowed to open up, we might as well rename our town 'Booze-burgh'."

Helensburgh neighbourhood chair Pauline Smith said she too was concerned about the town's reputation if more licences were approved.

"I'm worried about the perception that people might think all we do all day is drink," she said.

It is understood Wollongong licensing police also expressed concerns over outlet density.

However, both applicants claim in separate community impact statements (CIS) that their stores would not be detrimental to residents and would provide welcome competition.

"The applicant is genuinely committed to the liquor store becoming a welcome part of the Helensburgh business and wider community," a CIS prepared for the proposed Marley's outlet said, adding a number of residents and business owners had quietly voiced their support for the proposal.

Residents who spoke to the Mercury in Helensburgh yesterday had divided opinions.

"I think we need a big one, because if you want to get a decent bottle of wine you've either got to go to Corrimal or Engadine," Helensburgh home owner Maureen Grilli said.

"Two more is probably too much but one decent-priced one would be a good thing."

But one woman, who didn't wish to be named, said there was no need for more bottle shops.

"It's not like it's a clothes shop where you have more variety," she said.

A spokesman for the ILGA said the board would consider a wide range of factors when determining the applications, including public submissions, liquor licence density, venue location and the suburb's alcohol-related crime statistics but would refuse licences if it could have a detrimental effect on the community.


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