Bournville trustees insist 120-year-old Cadbury family alcohol sales ban remains
Published 01/10/2015 | 14:46
A 120-year-old ban on alcohol sales in the famously dry village of Bournville remains in place trustees have insisted - despite a new off-licence shop counter opening nearby.
Chocolate-makers the Cadbury family, who as Quakers also practised temperance, first ruled booze could not be consumed or sold within Bournville in 1895 to help workers stay healthy.
But in a contentious decision, Birmingham City Council's licensing committee has now granted permission for a shopkeeper to sell alcohol - a ruling branded "catastrophic" by one ward councillor.
But the Bournville Village Trust (BVT) has claimed the decision changes nothing as the shop is outside the historic boundary of the Bournville Estate originally set out by George Cadbury.
The trustees are the modern-day custodians of George Cadbury's original vision for the village.
Hundreds of residents had signed a petition in favour of the sales application, while objectors had complained about a possible rise in anti-social behaviour and of potential damage to the "special and unique character" of the village.
West Midlands Police had raised no objections to the application.
The owner of the store in Mary Vale Road, who made the successful bid to sell alcohol, Kamal Sharma said he had had to respond to customer demand in order to stay in business.
City councillors Timothy Huxtable and Robert Healey who represent the local authority Bournville ward - which covers a larger area than the historic estate - had both commented that granting a licence would "create a precedent", while pointing out there were other shops selling alcohol in nearby wards.
Mr Huxtable said the application would "destroy the special and unique character of Bournville".
Speaking after the decision at the council's licensing sub-committee meeting on September 29, the BVT's chief executive said the shop "lay well beyond the estate boundary".
Peter Roach also pointed out that a members-only social club, where alcohol was already available over the bar, was actually closer than the shop - and this was also outside the boundary.
In a statement, he said recent media reports had been "seeking to make a clear connection between George Cadbury's Bournville Estate and the premises at Mary Vale Road which now have a licence to sell alcohol.
He added: "We wish to make it clear - the two are not linked in any way.
"The premises in question lies well beyond the estate boundary and ironically beyond the Bournville Social Club which is also off the estate.
"George Cadbury set up Bournville Village Trust in 1900 to develop, manage and maintain the Bournville Estate which he endowed to the BVT.
"It was indeed his wish that there should be no off-licences or pubs on the Bournville Estate.
"The fact remains, here in 2015, that there are still no such establishments here on the estate.
"This hopefully puts the record straight."