AN APPLICATION to sell alcohol in a Prestonpans shop was turned down by East Lothian Council last week.

The council’s licensing board refused the application from Abdul Nadeem to sell alcohol at the Pan Convenience Store, on Hawthorn Place.

The application was subject of much debate at the licensing board meeting in Haddington’s Town House last Thursday, where it fell to convenor Jim Goodfellow to cast the deciding vote.

During the meeting, it emerged that the applicant had been subject to several test purchase failures.

Janet Hood, solicitor representing Mr Nadeem, argued that while he had been the owner of the stores tested, he had not been directly involved with the failed test purchases. Ms Hood said: “My client was the owner of the building at the time of these failures but was not the license holder.”

She also branded the police’s written objection to the application as “sad”, something she was later criticised for by Councillor Fraser McAllister.

The objection read: “Police Scotland have serious concerns about the manner in which the premises are being operated and managed.

“The fact that they have failed both test purchase operations carried out in 2015 and the failure to notify a change of management, layout and irresponsible drinks promotions on offer, as well as serious concerns about the standard of training in relation to staff within the premises.”

Rudi Fruzynski, licensing standards officer, also opposed the application for an occasional license.

Councillors raised concerns over whether Mr Nadeem was a “fit and proper person” to hold a licence, but Ms Hood said police made no mention of her client in their written objection.

She also added staff would be given training and that new tills were being fitted at the shop to prevent any future sales of alcohol to under-18s.

The application was, though, supported by half of the committee, with Councillor Donald Grant, of Fa’side ward, among those to give his backing.

Mr Grant said: “what a tangled web we weave”, when offering his opinion on the issue, later described by Mr Goodfellow as a “complex application”.

The North Berwick Coastal ward councillor then had the casting vote, as convenor, after the board were tied on whether, or not, to accept the application.

He rejected it, much to the disappointment of Ms Hood.

After the meeting, she told the Courier: “We will have to wait and see what it says in the minute of reasons.

“I do not understand how this decision has been made because the report shows my client has been running his business well for the past five years.”

She said the decision was “extremely disappointing”, but was unsure whether they would appeal.