THE comments by the NHS Fife chief that indicated that drink related deaths in the Cowdenbeath area were on the rise was certainly a bit of an eye opener for members of Fife Licensing Board.

The statistics produced by him, when board members discussed the application by Aldi to extend their beers, wine and spirits offering at their Stenhouse Street store, showed that alcohol related illnesses had claimed the life of 91 local people over the past three years.

These also showed that the area sustained higher instances of both alcohol related injuries and deaths than not just the Fife average, but also that for Scotland.

The town itself does still have a good number of hostelries and also several off licences so it could be argued that it is well served for those who want to have a drink.

The Aldi request was only for a small addition to their off-licence section, but the information imparted by the NHS Fife representative will certainly have put doubts in the minds of the Licensing Board members about future off-license applications.

Cowdenbeath has had its under-age drinking problems from time to time but no more than most other areas but the pressure will be on to keep tabs on off licences.