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‘Alcoholic’: Hornsey off-licence slammed by neighbours and national charity over ‘highly inappropriate’ booze-themed sign

PUBLISHED: 10:59 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:45 30 November 2018

The new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Sam Volpe

The new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Sam Volpe

Archant

A Hornsey off-licence has attracted the outrage of a national charity by rebranding itself under the “highly inappropriate” name Alcoholic – complete with a picture.

The new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Rachel OakesThe new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Rachel Oakes

The controversial new design for the former Corner Express shop in Middle Lane features an illuminated image of a man dropping a bottle as he stumbles backwards.

Its owner said the sign was “funny”. But the director of national alcohol awareness charity Alcohol Change UK doesn’t see it that way.

Dr Richard Piper told this newspaper: “This sign was almost certainly designed to be tongue-in-cheek. But ‘alcoholic’ is a word that carries with it a great deal of stigma, and plastering it on the front of a shop selling alcohol can only have negative effects.

“Seeing the word ‘alcoholic’ treated as a joke, as it so often is, isn’t likely to encourage more people, or friends and family, to seek the support they need.”

The new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Sam VolpeThe new 'Alcoholic' sign at a Middle Lane off-licence in Hornsey. Picture: Sam Volpe

After complaints from the public, the matter came to the attention of Haringey Council, which said the new sign falls foul of licensing regulations that “forbid any irresponsible promotion of alcohol that encourages anti-social behaviour or glamorises the effects of drunkenness”.

Perhaps ambitiously, the store’s owner is hoping that a minor spelling alteration will mollify the town hall.

The man, who declined to give his name, told the Ham&High: “We are having a conversation with the council. We’ll change the Cs to Ks and maybe that’ll sort it out.

“It’s funny, isn’t it – it’s just a laugh.”

The sign was also spotted by Hornsey woman Rachel Oakes.
Rachel, 43, said: “I drove past on the way to the shops and thought I must have got it wrong.

“People have been quite shocked by it. It seems to be making fun of a serious problem. I can’t imagine anyone will want to be seen buying alcohol from a shop called that.”

Another local mum said: “I just think it’s in such bad taste. It’s highly inappropriate.”

The shop’s owner added customers had been supportive of the new name. One woman passing the shop said it was “funny” but “definitely a bit problematic – it’s a serious issue”.

Haringey Council confirmed it had begun enforcement proceedings to have the sign changed.

A spokesperson said; “The sign is inappropriate and does not portray the kind of responsible image that we would expect from one of our premises licence holders.”

According to NHS statistics for 2016/17, there were 1.1 million estimated hospital admissions either primarily linked to alcohol use in the UK.

Government figures for the same year cited by Alcohol Change also show 24 per cent of adults in England regularly drink more than the recommended weekly amounts. Meanwhile there were almost 600,000 “dependent drinkers” of whom 81.7pc were not getting help.

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