By Andrew Starke
A decision by Woolworths to open a late-night liquor store in Sydney's George Street may put the retail giant on a collision course with regulators looking to legislate against alcohol-related violence.
A spokesperson for Woolworths told TheShout that licensing authorities granted a liquor licence for Woolworths Town Hall store some time ago.
However the current licence freeze affecting the George Street Entertainment Precinct and growing calls for tougher measures to combat late-night violence are likely to result in the proposed liquor outlet attracting close scrutiny.
According to its development application currently before the City of Sydney council, Woolworths wants permission for ‘use and fitout for a liquor outlet on the lower ground floor adjoining Woolworths supermarket at Town Hall Station’.
Proposed hours are 9am to 12 midnight, seven days per week.
The Woolworths spokesperson said the company had been waiting for an appropriate opportunity to remodel parts of the store in order to accommodate an area dedicated to liquor.
“The area around Town Hall has many shoppers, office workers and increasingly apartment dwellers – many of whom would appreciate the convenience of being able to buy food for that night’s dinner as well as a bottle of wine in the one place,” he said.
“As the number of residents has grown in the city centre we have increasingly received requests from customers to provide a bottle shop at Woolworths Town Hall.
“Woolworths abides by responsible service of alcohol regulations and all our staff undergo rigorous training and can and do refuse service when appropriate.”
He added that opening hours for any liquor store at Woolworths Town Hall have not been finalised.