A British newsagent has been granted permission to sell alcohol, ending a rare 120-year ban in the last remaining “dry” village in England, officials said Wednesday.
Bournville, a suburb of Birmingham, central England, was founded at the end of the 19th century by the Cadbury family -- owners of the famous chocolate brand -- who were Quakers.
No bars or licensed alcohol stores have ever been built in the village of 25,000 inhabitants which was built to house Cadbury’s factory workers and declared booze-free by the teetotal family.
Bournville councillor Rob Sealey said the decision was “catastrophic”, telling the Birmingham Mail: “This goes against 120 years of history and heritage in Bournville.”
But Kamal Sharma, the 38-year-old owner of the shop, said he was just trying to save his business.
“I’ve tried to diversify by selling fruit and vegetables but no-one bought them,” he told the newspaper.
“I asked my customers what they wanted and they were unanimous in wanting somewhere nearby to pick up a few beers or a bottle of wine.”
Birmingham councillor Lynda Clinton said concerns had been raised about “anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder”, and the potential impact on Bournville’s “unique character”.
But no objections were raised by police and “local residents who attended today’s meeting were strongly in favour of the application being approved,” she added.