Agenda item

Superway Express, 344 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 5HY (Prince's)

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee invited Mr Tahir Awan, Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor, to address the meeting in order to answer a legal matter before the application was considered by the Sub-Committee.

 

The Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee explained to Mr Awan that:

 

  • Mr Awan was present at the hearing as a result of the Police having obtained a Closure Order at the Magistrates Court regarding the premises;
  • The requirement from the Council was that once the notice had been received, the Sub-Committee was required to make a decision within 28 days from the day after the notice was received with today’s meeting being the last day for that to happen.
  • Regulation 5 of and Schedule 1 to the Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005 require that a review under S167 of the Licensing Act 2003, which applies to this case, must commence within 10 working days of receiving that notice. This had not happened in Mr Awan’s case.
  • The Legal Adviser preliminarily advised the Sub-Committee that courts looked to substance rather than form. Unless Mr Awan could demonstrate that some serious prejudicial interest would arise by not having commenced the hearing within the prescribed period the hearing should proceed.  However, if it was late, for example, on day 29, then that would be a different matter as the Sub-Committee would then have no power to hear the matter.  
  • The Legal Adviser then proceeded to ask Mr Awan whether he objected to the application being heard and whether he wished to address the Sub-Committee on this point before the Sub-Committee proceeded.

 

Mr Awan responded that he had no objections to his application being heard.

 

Presentation by Licensing Officer

 

The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application for a review of the current premises licence.  The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11 of the Statutory Guidance, and to Sections 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 19 of the Statement of Licensing Policy, as the ones particular relevant to this application.  The options available to the Sub-Committee were set out in paragraph 5.10 of the report on page 30.

 

The Sub-Committee noted that:

 

  • This was an application by the Licensing Authority to review the licence of Superway Express, 344 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5HY.
  • The Metropolitan Police made an application to the Magistrates Court for a Closure Order.  This was heard before a District Judge on 24 February 2017.  It was therefore mandatory that a review of the premises licence was undertaken.
  • The premises licence had been revoked by determination of the Sub-Committee on 18 January 2017.  The decision was currently being appealed by the Premises Licence Holder.
  • Since the date of revocation, additional incidents pertaining to the sale of alcohol had prompted the Metropolitan Police’s request to obtain the Closure Order.
  • The Closure Order prohibited access to the premises by all persons between 04:00 and 12:00 hours from 25 February 2017 to 24 May 2017.
  • The application referenced as Annex A can be found on pages 39-44 of the agenda papers.
  • The Metropolitan Police consultation document for the premises Closure Notice, Annex B could be found on pages 45-48 of the agenda papers.
  • A copy of the Consent Order could be found from page 49 of the agenda papers.
  • The handwritten Consent Order agreed on 24 February 2017 could be found as Annex C, on page 55 of the agenda papers.
  • The Metropolitan Police representation documentation in support of the Closure Order, Annex D, was on pages 59-85 of the agenda papers.
  • Further representations from Trading Standards in support of the review could be found on pages 87-96 of the agenda papers.
  • A copy of the current premises licence, Annex E was on pages 97-109 of the agenda papers
  • The decision notice from the review hearing held on 18 January 2017, Annex F could be found on page 109 of the agenda papers.

 

A map, plan and photographs of the premises were circulated.

 

Presentation by Applicant

 

Mr Robert Gardner, Principal Licensing Officer, informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

  • The application was brought by the Licensing Authority to the Sub-Committee as required by legislation under the Licensing Act 2003.
  • The application concerned a Closure Order brought by the Metropolitan Police before the Magistrates Court on 24 February 2017 but only a partial closure had been agreed.
  • A letter received by the Council from the Magistrates Court had triggered the process to bring the review application before the Sub-Committee for determination in addition to the decision made by the Magistrates Court.  
  • On hearing the representations to be presented from the Police and Trading Standards, the Sub-Committee may decide whether further conditions should be imposed instead of the licence being revoked.
  • No complaints had been received since the Closure Order was imposed. 
  • Previous ongoing issues had been controlled by the Premises Licence Holder, which Members may wish to consider during their deliberations.

 

 

Sergeant David Smith, Metropolitan Police Licensing Officer, informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

  • Breaches of the licence had been previously examined by the Sub-Committee at a previous meeting and the decision was made to revoke the licence and this was now being appealed by the Premises Licence Holder.
  • The further alleged incidents had also been examined by the Magistrates Court and a Closure Order was granted.
  • The Closure Order imposed restrictions on the sale of alcohol between 04:00 and 12:00 hours, which appeared satisfactory as no further complaints had been received.
  • He had spoken with local police officers who had confirmed that issues had improved both in terms of the premises and the associated anti-social behaviour, which the Metropolitan Police accepted.  However, how this continued to be achieved was a decision for the Sub-Committee.

 

Presentation by Interested Parties

 

Mr Bernard Conmy, Lambeth Trading Standards, informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·         His representation, from page 87 of the agenda papers, detailed three individual visits he had undertaken at the premises.

·         The three visits made were unsatisfactory and identified alcohol licensing conditions not being adhered to or complied with.

·         On 26 May 2016, a man found on the premises was identified as an immigration absconder without the right to work in the UK.

·         On 2 November 2016, a man working behind the counter at the premises admitted to claiming Disability Living Allowance.  Also, no training records were available and staff could not download CCTV images.

·         One of the conditions of the licence clearly limited the amount of some high strength alcohol sold at the premises.  However, despite engaging with Mr Awan, he continued to stock those items on the shelves for sale.

·         Mr Awan clearly knew that the police had problems regarding the sale of alcohol being sold to intoxicated individuals made by the premises in the area.

·         On 4 March 2017, plastic cups were found behind the counter of the premises, suggesting that alcohol was being sold with plastic cups.  This encouraged street drinking and preloading prior to entry into clubs within the surrounding area.  Also, the premises was still stocking alcohol in excess of 6% abv that was not permitted under Annex 3, condition 6 on the licence.

·         He appreciated that Mr Awan wanted to run a successful business.  However, Mr Awan continuously ignored advice given to him by the Council.

·         Although the licence had already been revoked and subject to an appeal, he nevertheless believed that something was still required to be done by the Sub-Committee. 

·         He was uncertain whether he wanted the licence revoked as this could result in two appeals being made by the Premises Licence Holder. 

 

In response to a question from Members, Sergeant Smith confirmed that the Metropolitan Police had no intentions of applying to the Magistrates Court to extend the Consent Order.  An extension would be difficult to obtain, especially as the anti-social issues had improved in the area, which he believed was the result of the Consent Order currently being in place.

 

Presentation by Premises licence holder

 

Mr Awan, Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

  • Following the court hearing on 24 February 2017, he had already agreed with Licensing Police that no alcohol would be sold at the premises from 04:00 -12:00.
  • At weekdays he closed the premises at 04:00 and re-opened at 09.00.
  • At weekends the shop closed at 04:00 and opened at 12:00 the next day.
  • The Trading Standards Officer explained that no training records were found at the premises but the records were available for inspection upon his last visit.
  • All staff had recently received up-to-date training and alcohol was no longer being sold to intoxicated persons.
  • He relied on the business to support his family.
  • He accepted that mistakes had been made pertaining to the premises but felt that his family should not be punished.
  • Since the Consent Order had been instigated, no issues had arisen.

 

In response to questions from Members, Mr Awan confirmed:

 

  • He accepted that the breaches discussed by Trading Standards had occurred at the premises since the Consent Order had been issued.
  • He preferred not to sell alcohol in the morning at the premises.  The changes imposed had improved issues, especially as numerous intoxicated and loud persons existed in the area. 

 

Adjournment and Decision

 

At 7.19pm, 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 Gardner, Sergeant Smith, Mr Conmy and Mr Awan.

 

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 review and remove Mr Awan as Designated Premises Supervisor for the following reasons:

 

  • This is an application to review the premises licence of Superway Express, 344 Kennington Lane, following a Closure Order obtain by the Metropolitan Police on 24 February 2017.  The Closure Order makes restrictions on sale of alcohol at particular times. 

 

  • The Licensing Sub-Committee (LSC) heard from the Metropolitan Police although there had been a number of breaches after the LSC’s decision to revoke the police had not had any further complaints since the order was made.  They were not sure at this stage whether they would apply to extend the order but they were content with the current position which included a reduction in complaints of anti-social behaviour. 

 

  • Mr Conmy from Lambeth Trading Standards referred to issues which also followed the revocation such as breach of the condition prohibiting the sale of beer etc. of over 6% abv. 

 

  • The LSC heard from Mr Awan he confirmed that he was complying with the Closure Order and everything was now under control.  He accepted the breaches referred to at page 59 of the report pack.  He accepted that the area had been improved as a result of the restrictions imposed on him. 

 

  • The LSC was mindful of its previous decision and if it were not for that, taking account of the whole history, the LSC would be revoking the premises licence.  However, the LSC are satisfied that there had been some improvement but things are far from perfect.  Of the greatest concern are the several breaches occurring after the decision to revoke, which was a time when a responsible licence holder would strive to comply with its licensing conditions.  These include the sales to drunk people after the revocation and the inability to provide the CCTV and the visit on 4 March 2017 where the premises was still stocking alcohol in excess of that permitted by Annex 3, condition 6, Mr Conmy’s representation also referred on page 88, to six cases of such alcohol in the store room. 

 

  • The LSC was not satisfied that Mr Awan is or will be a responsible Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).  It is a position of responsibility and the evidence before us is that he is failing in that responsibility. The decision of the LSC was therefore to remove Mr Awan as the DPS and pursuant to Section 168(4) of the Licensing Act 2003, this decision is to take immediate effect.

 

RESOLVED: To grant the review and remove Mr Awan as the Designated Premises Supervisor.

 

Announcement of Decision

 

Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to grant the review and remove Mr Awan as the Designated Premises Supervisor, 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 applicant met the concerns which had been raised.  The Chair confirmed that written notification of the decision would be sent in due course.

Supporting documents: