MEDICAL experts have long warned about the dangers of excessive wine consumption among the middle classes.
But supermarket giant Tesco have avoided tough new rules on off sales in the city by effectively arguing one suburb, Roseburn, is so middle class that one more shop selling alcohol couldn’t possibly make a difference.
The bid for the new store for Roseburn has been approved after lawyers argued before licensing leaders that residents in the leafy west Edinburgh neighbourhood suburb were more the “bottle of wine on the way home” types than heavy drinkers.
Councillors gave the store the go-ahead despite the introduction of a near-blanket ban on new off-sales last week.
Lawyer Peter Lawson, representing Tesco, told councillors Roseburn residents were not heavy drinkers.
He said he had researched the index of multiple deprivation and found Roseburn was among the healthiest areas.
He said: “Roseburn scores very highly in the index of multiple deprivation. If you take one as the most deprived and 6505 as the least, the area is 5502.”
“Alternately The statistic for Niddrie [where councillors approved a new store last month] was 44.”
Mr Lawson, of Hill Brown, said Roseburn residents were likely to be more partial to a bottle of wine picked up on the way home than heavy drinking, but he said the supermarket agreed not to sell Buckfast or beer over 5.5 per cent, as a condition of the licence.
Members of the licensing board were divided over the issue but approved the plans.
Strict new guidelines against “overprovision” of off-sales make it far more difficult to attain a licence to sell alcohol.
Board member Councillor Alastair Paisley said the Roseburn argument was part of the reason it was approved, along with the ban on Buckfast.
Councillor Cammy Day, who voted against the new Tesco, said: “I thought it was a strange argument to make – to say this is the healthiest area in the city and that’s why we should grant more licences there. The evidence given to this board by NHS Lothian has shown the greater the availability of alcohol, the greater the consumption. In this case there were five premises, including pubs, within 80 yards.”
A TALE OF TWO SUBURBS
A SNAPSHOT of the streets around the stores in question highlights some disparities in lifestyle and economy:
• Niddrie Mains Road: 44 per cent of population is income deprived
• Roseburn Terrace: three per cent of population is income deprived
• Niddrie Mains Road: 3.4 per cent admitted to hospital for alcohol misuse
• Roseburn Terrace: 0.15 per cent admitted to hospital for alcohol misuse
• Niddrie Mains Road: Mean house price £95,250
• Roseburn Terrace: Mean house price: £198,550