Asda moves into former Arsenal club shop in Finsbury Park, Islington

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Asda has gained licensing permission to sell alcohol from an Express store by Finsbury Park Station.

Asda is set to take over the former The Arsenal: Finsbury Park shop, opening an Express store.

The football shop in Station Place did not reopen after the pandemic, and is in a prime location with high footfall beside the bus, Tube and overground train station. It is close to the park which is a popular venue for concerts and other big events.

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The premier league team has other club shops at the stadium and in Drayton Park, Highbury.

Asda was granted permission on Tuesday (August 22) by Islington Council’s licensing committee to sell alcohol at an Asda Express store between 8am and 11pm, with opening hours from 7am to midnight. Initially it had asked to open and sell alcohol from 6am to midnight.

Ward councillor Gary Heather raised objections and wrote to the licensing committee to say that the area “has a history of vulnerable people frequenting it who are homeless, drug users, perpetrators of drug crime and other crime such as robbery, ASB (antisocial behaviour).”

He also wanted assurances about public safety, as the shop will be at a major transport hub used by football fans of different clubs on their way to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

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Several black cab drivers who collect fares at the station wrote to the committee with concerns that “selling cheap alcohol in the area will impact the area negatively, there are a lot of drug users in this area and busy station”.

One resident raised concerns that people would be able to buy cheap alcohol and might stay in the area “which can cause increase in number of crimes in the area”.

The Arsenal shop in Station Place, Finsbury Park , in July 2018. (Photo by Google Maps) The Arsenal shop in Station Place, Finsbury Park , in July 2018. (Photo by Google Maps)
The Arsenal shop in Station Place, Finsbury Park , in July 2018. (Photo by Google Maps) | Google Maps

Asda’s lawyer, Richard Taylor, said the shop will not sell beer, lager or cider with a high alcohol content or individual miniatures.

Customers will not be able to buy alcohol four hours before the start of any large event at Finsbury Park, unless it is part of a normal food shop. There will be a similar ban on alcohol sales an hour after the event, to give people time to head home without buying drink.

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Mr Taylor said there will be “adequate levels of staff and security”. The company will do its own risk assessments on the number of door supervisors and security staff needed and take advice from the police.

Other measures include CCTV and a Challenge 25 policy.

He said the company will work “to eliminate or minimise any nuisance arising out of its licensable activities”.

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