A brief period of peace in Wellington's Aro Valley has been shattered with a new liquor licence application igniting a booze war.

Patel's Superette owner Manjula Patel wants to turn the fruit and vegetable shop next door to her business into a bottle store.

The Wellington City Council District Licensing Committee has received 55 public objections to the application, including one petition.

Both the police and Wellington City Council are opposing it.


So are the owners of Aro Valley Mini Mart, whose business is directly across the road from Patel's Superette.

It is not the first time co-owners Raj Solanki and Jayesh Patel have put their two cents in.

Patel's Superette owner Manjula Patel. Photo / Georgina Campbel
Patel's Superette owner Manjula Patel. Photo / Georgina Campbel

The feud dates back to 2015, when the stores applied for a new liquor licence at the same time in an effort to sell beer, wine and cider.

Solanki and his co-owner argued that if both licenses were granted, it would impact negatively on traffic and result in an alcohol price war.

The committee ruled at the time that objections to Patel's Superette's licence application were in retaliation and raised to obtain a commercial advantage.

It took until February this year for the two parties to find a level playing field with the two liquor licences that were eventually granted.

That was until Patel filed an application for a new off-licence premise next to her grocery store in May.

Solanki said this time around it was a different scenario and he was not worried about the competition.


He said he was concerned about the sale of "hard liquor" and RTDs because students were regular customers.

Solanki said he feared more university students would be intoxicated and drink on the street, which would be bad for business.

"We need peace of mind ... to me, it's worrying."

But Patel said she did not believe that.

Aro Valley Mini Mart. Photo / Georgina Campbell
Aro Valley Mini Mart. Photo / Georgina Campbell

"They're just doing it for commercial advantage, they're not worried about the community, they're just doing it for themselves."

"If they're so worried about the community, then why are they selling alcohol?"

Patel said she would take responsibility if there were any issues on the street as a result of the bottle store opening.

Aro Valley Community Council co-chair Hilary Unwin said she was unsure what that meant.

"Does that mean cleaning up glass? Does that mean addressing people's alcohol problems?"

Unwin said the issues the council was concerned about were too great for one person to take on.

She said there were at least four liquor outlets within a kilometre range of one another, including high-profile brewery Garage Project.

"Greater access to alcohol generally leads to greater consumption and that greater consumption generally has a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of the community."

Unwin said being able to sell alcohol seven days a week was unreasonable and feared increased competition would lead to lowering the price of alcohol.

She said the council was also concerned about more people drinking in Aro Park.

"The park is a community amenity, which is close to the pre-school. There are lots of people travelling through it - pedestrians, families, school children, so we don't want to create an environment that feels unsafe for people."

The hearing begins today.