Agenda item

The Mansion House, 48 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4RS (Prince's ward)

Minutes:

Presentation by the Head of Consumer Protection and Sustainability

 

The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application for a new premises licence. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to chapters 8, 9 and 10 of the Statutory Guidance, and to Sections 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Statement of Licensing Policy, as the ones particularly relevant to this application. The options available to the Sub-Committee were set out in paragraph 5.9 of the report on page 8.

 

In response to questions from Members, the Head of Consumer Protection and Sustainability confirmed:

 

  • This was an application for supply of alcohol on and off the premises, late night refreshment, films and recorded music to 4am all week, and further regulated entertainment up to 3am
  • The premises had operated as a pub in the past but the previous licence was surrendered in March 2008
  • 27 representations had been received from local residents and one from the Police Licensing Team, principally concerning public nuisance

 

A map and photographs of the premises were circulated.

 

Presentation by the Applicant

 

Prior to the presentation, the Chair asked the applicant to clarify issues raised in the representations surrounding the display of the notice. The applicant stated that it had been brought to his attention two days into the consultation period that the notice was too high and this made it difficult to read. This was rectified straight away and the notice was displayed for the appropriate 28 day period. The times of the application were added 24 hours in to the consultation period but again were properly displayed for the required time. The Chair accepted this explanation and further added that the representations lodged raised similar issues, and it was considered that an additional consultation period would be unlikely to give rise to new representations on significantly different grounds.

 

Paul Hook, applicant, and his representative Graham Hopkins informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

  • Mr Hook was a director of Oakham Ales and had many years’ experience in the licensed trade. He currently ran two late night venues in Peterborough and one in Birmingham
  • The Mansion House was nearing the end of a refurbishment and considerable investment had been committed to the venue. It previously had a licence to 1.30am
  • The venue would be family friendly with a focus on real ales and pan-Asian food. It would not seek to actively attract young people
  • The envisaged split in revenue was 60% food, 40% drinks
  • The Mansion House was located on a noisy road which was busy through the night as well as daytime. Noise from the pub would not exceed this
  • There was no beer garden but a street trading licence had been granted for the pavement area outside until midnight
  • No more than 10 smokers would be allowed outside at any one time
  • Bookings would be taken for functions. These would be risk assessed and door supervisors would be employed if necessary
  • CCTV would be installed covering the internal areas of the premises as well as immediately outside. This would be monitored by security
  • The capacity of the venue was around 200
  • A late licence was being applied for in order to provide flexibility, rather than using temporary event notices (TENs). This was the same approach taken at the other premises run by Mr Hook. Opening beyond 1.30am would be a rarity
  • A meeting had been held with residents and the police and although a compromise was not reached on the hours of the application, the meeting was deemed helpful
  • They were proposing to reduce the terminal hour from 4am to 3am with a 30 minute consumption period, and also offer a condition that there be no entry or re-entry after 1.30am
  • Notices would be erected asking patrons to respect residents and leave quietly
  • Staff would check the outside area every half an hour
  • Arrangements were being made with two local taxi firms and customers would be asked to remain inside until their cab arrived to prevent disturbance to residents
  • They were happy to offer a written dispersal policy if needed
  • The music played would be mainly low level and would only be louder for specific functions
  • Doors and windows would be closed when regulated entertainment was taking place to prevent noise escaping. Doors were fitted with self-closing devices
  • The police had no problem with Mr Hook or his business partner, who had good reputations. They also had no problem with the hours of the old licence, which ran to 1.30am – the issue was the period after this
  • In relation to concerns raised in the representations regarding transport, there were night buses operating in the area in addition to the taxi arrangements mentioned
  • It was noted that most of the representors supported the idea of the venue reopening
  • There was no representation from the Council’s Noise Team
  • They urged the Sub-Committee to consider granting the licence up to the hours of the previous licence (1.30am) if they were minded to oppose the 3am terminal hour
  • Regarding residents’ concerns over noise, they were happy to offer to publish a phone number via which the management could be contacted in the event of noise disturbances and also keep a log of any calls
  • They were happy to hold regular meetings with residents

 

In response to questions from Members, Mr Hook and Mr Hopkins confirmed:

 

  • The number of smokers outside would be enforced by staff monitoring CCTV
  • Mr Hook was the owner and Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) but he had a full structure of managers to run his venues. This was one of four venues he had and he would therefore spend around a quarter of his time at the Mansion House, but more than that initially
  • The management structure involved two partners and an operations manager overseeing the whole operation, as well as a general manager, assistant manager, shift leaders and bar/kitchen staff for each site
  • The more functions which were held at the venue, the more viable the business would be, but the business plan was to run a successful business before functions were taken into account. Exactly how many events were held would be dependent on demand from the local community
  • The street trading licence for the pavement area had been granted verbally but they did not yet have a copy. It was confirmed that the outside area was not delineated on the plan and therefore was not included in the licensable area; this meant eating outside after 11pm, and drinking at any time, would not be permitted unless a variation application was made and granted
  • Films were being applied for as there were a number of local colleges who may be interested in using the venue for various activities
  • There was no dance floor and the venue was not a night club but recorded music was needed to create atmosphere, particularly later on in the evening and when booked functions were taking place
  • They had planned to have two small speakers relaying music to the pavement area but it was acknowledged that this would not be permitted since the pavement was not delineated on the plan
  • Off sales of alcohol were being sought in order that sealed 3-4 pint jugs of real ales could be sold to members of Camra
  • With regards to a staff training programme, on-site training would take place delivered by staff from Mr Hook’s existing venues. This would ensure the company ethos was consistent across the four pubs. Around 2-3 staff members per venue had personal licences
  • It was Mr Hook’s aim not to have to employ door staff as he felt it sent out the wrong message about the type of venue he intended to operate; however, each event would be risk assessed and if security was necessary – perhaps for larger events or those involving a lot of young people – then door staff would be employed
  • An acoustic report of the premises had been completed and an acoustic box had been installed within the licensed area. Mr Hook had also spoken to a Noise Officer earlier in the day

 

Presentation by Interested Parties

 

PC Hannah Eldridge, Police Licensing Officer, said that:

 

  • The copy of her representation included in the representations pack was a draft version and contained errors, for which she apologised to the Sub-Committee; she did however have a copy with the correct details which had been signed by herself and the applicant
  • She was concerned that a late night venue operating past midnight would create a noise disturbance to the surrounding residential area and this was not compatible with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy
  • The later the venue opened, the more alcohol would be consumed and the louder people would become
  • The noise from general conversation of 200 people at 3am would create a public nuisance and could cause anti-social behaviour
  • There were only two night buses operating in the area and the tube was closed between roughly midnight and 5.30am

 

David Boardman, Chair of Kennington Association Planning Forum, alongside local residents Penny Ritchie Calder and Anne Jessup, said that:

 

  • They had drawn up a map of the area detailing the closing times of licensed premises in the vicinity for comparison; this had not been included in their representations in advance but all parties agreed they were happy for it to be submitted. It showed that most pubs with a significant food offer closed at around midnight during the week and slightly later at weekends
  • Residents had reacted with horror at the original application, which sought hours of 7am to 4am. Discussions had taken place with the applicant and some fears had been assuaged but not all
  • The main concerns surrounded soundproofing, off sales, the use of the outside area and the terminal hour. They also believed street drinkers were being dispersed from the Vauxhall area and were now more prevalent in Kennington
  • The hours of the licence which had previously been in operation at the premises were until 12.30am during the week and 1.30am at weekends, and it was the view of residents that anything later than this would create a nuisance
  • They were opposed to any external music and wanted full soundproofing to be installed so that no music was audible outside the venue
  • There were many families living nearby and a licence until the early hours was inappropriate in such a residential area

 

In response to questions from Members, the representors confirmed:

 

  • Their previous experience of the venue suggested that disturbances including loud talking and bad language was caused mainly Thursdays to Sundays between around 11pm and 2am
  • The problems were particularly bad in Cleaver Square, which was used as a through route for people looking for night buses
  • The general feeling of residents was that they wanted to see the pub back in use and would be prepared to accept the hours operated by the previous incarnation of the Mansion House

 

Adjournment and Decision

 

At 8.15pm, the Sub-Committee withdrew from the meeting together with the legal advisor and clerk to deliberate in private.

 

The Sub-Committee had heard and considered representations from Mr Hook and Mr Hopkins, and from PC Eldridge, Mr Boardman, Ms Ritchie Calder and Ms Jessup.

 

Legal advice was given to the Sub-Committee on the options open to them and the need for any decision to be proportionate. The Sub-Committee decided to grant the application with amendments and conditions for the following reasons:

 

  • The application engaged the licensing objectives of prevention of public nuisance and prevention of crime and disorder. The Licensing Sub-Committee considered that the applicant was credible and had a tried and tested business model. However, the application for a licence until 3am Monday to Sunday and the reassurances given by the applicant with respect to this application did not adequately address the concerns regarding public nuisance within a predominantly residential area. Therefore the Licensing Sub-Committee decided to grant the application with amendments and conditions which addressed the concerns raised

 

RESOLVED: To grant the application with amendments and conditions as follows:

 

Amendments

 

Supply of alcohol, films and recorded music

7am to 12.30am Sunday to Wednesday

7am to 1.30am Thursday to Saturday

 

There will be no drinking up time.

 

Live music, Performances of Dance, Entertainment Similar to Music/Dance, Provision of Facilities for Making Music and Provision of Facilities for Dancing  

Monday to Sunday 10am to 12.30am

 

Late Night Refreshment

Sunday to Wednesday 11pm to 12.30am

Thursday to Saturday 11pm to 1.30am.

 

Conditions

 

  1. The premises shall close to the public from Sunday to Wednesday at 12.30am and Thursday to Saturday at 1.30am
  2. A sound limiter will be installed and will be set to a level agreed with the Council’s Noise Team before use commences
  3. No patrons are to take drinks outside after 10pm
  4. All doors and windows will be closed when regulated entertainment takes place, save for ingress and egress
  5. No music to be played outside of the premises
  6. A telephone number of the management shall be prominently displayed both within and externally to the premises for residents to contact the management regarding any issues

 

Announcement of Decision

 

Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to grant the application with amendments and conditions, and provided reasons for the decision as outlined above. The Sub-Committee had considered all the options available to them and ultimately felt that the amendments and conditions imposed met the concerns which had been raised, whilst being proportionate. The Chair confirmed that written notification of the decision would be sent in due course.

 

Supporting documents: