|Rushden Echo, 6th March 1908, transcribed by Kay Collins
A Rushden Licensing Case - A High-Street Off-Licence Renewal Objected To
Did the Owners Offer to Give Up the Licence?
To-day, at the Wellingborough Petty Sessions, an objection was made to an off-licence held by Mrs Robinson, at the corner of High-street and Church-street, Rushden, owned by Messrs Campbell Praed and Co., Wellingborough. Mr Ryland Adkins, M.P., appeared for Messrs Praed.
Inspector Cameron gave evidence of the distances of other licensed houses from the one under consideration. Cross-examined by Mr Adkins, he said there was a grocer’s licence opposite. That part of the town was the centre of the business portion of Rushden. There had been no decrease in population, nor had the house been altered since last year. There had not been any fresh investigations made by the Magistrates or the police that he knew of since last year. There had been no shrinkages in the distances of the other houses from the spot.
Mr Adkins asked what influence, either public or private, was being brought upon the Bench. It was only fair he should know all the circumstances before he addresses the Bench.
A letter was put in, which it was proposed to read.
Mr Adkins objected to it as being unparalleled. He suggested he should see the letter before it was read.
Having read it he said he would very much like it to be read in Court.
The letter was written from The Manse, Rushden, and objection was made to the licence, because, the letter stated, “Messrs Praed and Co., the owners, promised to give it up at last year’s licensing session on condition that the Bench granted the licence in Grove-street.”
Mr Adkins said there was no bargain of the kind made at the 1907 licensing sessions. The bench granted the licence in Grove-street on the merits and needs of the district. If there had been the slightest opinion in the minds of the Bench that there was such a bargain made he would withdraw at once and abandon the whole matter.
The Chairman of the bench (Mr N P Sharman) said the suggestion was thrown out by Messrs Praed at the licensing sessions in 1907 that two houses, including that particular one, should be given up if the licence in Grove-street was granted, but at the adjourned licensing sessions they were instructed by their clerk they were in an illegal position and the licence they were considering to-day was put entirely out of the question. He cleared Messrs Praed from any suspicion that they had receded from their bargain. The letter that had been read had taken up an entirely wrong position.
Mr Adkins said the objection was being made against a licence against which there was absolutely no complaint, no conviction, no suggestions of irregularity, no suspicions, and no reflection of any kind upon the character and conduct nor the antecedents of the house.
If they took away the licence without any allegations or some proof they would be setting up an important precedent. Again, there had been no alteration in the circumstances of the neighbourhood. If there was a redundancy of licences now there was last year.
The bench said the licence would be granted, and Mr Praed’s action in keeping the house open was perfectly honourable. If there was any breach it was on the part of the Bench.