Agenda item

Bureau Of Silly Ideas, Arch 555, 18 Valentia Place, London, SW9 8PJ (Coldharbour)


Presentation by the Licensing Officer


The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application to consider a counter notice for two temporary event notices.  The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 7, 9 and 15 of the Statutory Guidance, and to Sections 5, 6, 8, 14 and Appendices 6, 7 and 9 of the Statement of Licensing Policy, as the ones particularly relevant to these applications. The options available to the Sub-Committee were set out in paragraphs 5.6 to 5.10 of the report on pages 3444 to 3455 agenda papers and pages 4 to 5 of the second despatch agenda papers.


The Sub-Committee noted that:

  • These were two applications received by Mr Roger Hartley for Temporary Event Notices (TENs) at Bureau of Silly Ideas.  One of the events was planned for Friday 22 December to Saturday 23 December 2017 for 150 people from 18:00 to 02:00 hours.  The second event was planned for Sunday 31 December 2017 between 21:00 and 00:00 hours and Monday 1 January 2018 between 00:01 and 04:00 hours for 120 people.  Both events authorised licensable activities for the provision of the sale by retail of alcohol (on and off license), the provision of late night refreshment and the provision of regulated entertainment.  The applications were attached at Annex A (pages 463-470 of the agenda papers and pages 11-18 of the second despatch agenda papers).
  • Objection to the TENs had been received from the Council’s Community Safety Area Team on 8 and 12 December 2017 based on the licensing objective of the prevention of public nuisance.  Representations could be found as Annex B (page 471 of the main agenda papers and page 19 of the second despatch agenda papers).
  • Noise officers had advised that they would be providing further supporting information in the form of video footage with regard to their objections to the TENs. 
  • A premises licence was not in place for the venue as the premises was currently unlicensed.
  • The premises was located in close proximity to other licensed premises.  Copies of those premises could be found as Annex D on page 473 of the main agenda papers and page 21 of the second despatch agenda papers.
  • Six TENs applications had been received this calendar year in respect of the premises.


A map and photographs of the premises was circulated to members.


Presentation by Responsible Authorities


Mr Calvin McLean, Community Safety Area Manager, and Mr Sean Biggart, Community Safety Officer were present.


Mr Biggart, informed the Sub-Committee that:

·         Community Safety raised objections to the two TENs received from Mr Hartley based on the prevention of public nuisance.

·         Over the last few months several complaints from residents regarding noise nuisance had been received by the Council in relation to events held on 28 October, 31 October and 4 November 2017.  Following investigations and having spoken to local residents, on a balance of probabilities, the noise was coming from the Valentia Place area from one or two premises.

·         He made reference to the video footage provided to the Sub-Committee, in particular, the second video taken by a witness on Saturday 16 December 2017  showed noise nuisance and evidence that the premises was not promoting the licensing objectives.

·         He had recently spoken to a further complainant on 20 December 2017 who advised that loud music could be heard up until 04:00 hours in the morning.

·         Although it was felt that the noise was not solely from Silly Ideas, the Council believed the premises frequently used Valentia Place to hold TENs.


Mr McLean then addressed the Sub-Committee and confirmed that:

·         The video footage showed that the outbuilding situated on the right hand side of Valentia Place was regularly used by Bureau of Silly Ideas to hold events. As a result, Mr Harley was contacted regarding the issues.

·         He was familiar with the premises and therefore believed the premises could be responsible for the noise nuisance.  

·         Other licensed establishments within the area such as Brixton Roof Top ceased trading at 01:00 and Casa Brixton by 00:00.  Therefore, he was confident the noise issues came directly from the Bureau of Silly Ideas where residential properties nearby was affected.


In response to questions from Members, Mr McLean and Mr Biggart confirmed:

·         Mr McLean was unsure who operated the other building in Valentia Place.  However, he knew the building was being used by the venue to hold parties, as none of the other establishments were suitable for loud amplified music.

·         It was uncertain which building in Valentia Place would be used to hold the TENs but Mr McLean felt that no building would be suitable to hold TENs of that nature.

·         The Council relied on the complaints received and times provided by residents.  Following their investigations this week, an event took place on 16 December 2017 and a TEN had not been applied.  The video footage supplied clearly showed that public nuisance had occurred on that date.


In response to a question from the Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee, Mr McLean confirmed that the licensable activity undertaken on 16 December 2017 was the provision of regulated entertainment.


Mr McLean and Mr Biggart further confirmed that:

·         During the week, a local business had informed the Council that residents had submitted a complaint regarding a public nuisance from their premises.  As that business knew they were not responsible, they provided video evidence from 02:00hrs to support their claim to the Council.

·         Mr Hartley had also raised concerns to the Council regarding events at other premises that caused issues. 

·         Since early November complaints pertaining to the premises had been received from four residents and two business owners in the area.  One of the complainants made several complaints to Network Rail, who failed to inform the Council regarding this, and to other premises in the area concerning nuisance from licensed activities. 


Presentation by Premises User


Mr Roger Hartley, Director, informed the Sub-Committee that:

·         He had been a resident at the premises since 2002.

·         The Bureau of Silly Ideas was a public realm arts organisation specialising in community cohesion that held numerous events.

·         He had been aware since Halloween that noise issues existed in the area.

·         He had met with Mr McLean when his premises originally resided in the Arch.  The Arch was a steel yard workshop which was also used as a performance space.  He had previously let the space for use by another organisation for a party that had caused a public nuisance and had decided to no longer let this space.

·         The TEN for 23 December 2017 would no longer be going ahead as he wanted to liaise with neighbours regarding issues.

·         He had liaised with residents that claimed he was responsible for the loud music until 04:00 as a result of a Halloween Party and had video evidence.  However, following further negotiations, residents admitted they had made a mistake.  He now notified the local Tenants Resident Association regarding any events.

·         He disputed that licensable activities occurred at his premises, as he usually applied for a TEN to hold such events.

·         He had spent a considerable amount of money on soundproofing the premises and invited Mr McLean to attend the premises but to date he had not turned up.  


In response to questions from Members, Mr Hartley confirmed that:

·         The event scheduled for 23 December 2017 was to support young emerging artists who also wished to have a New Year’s party.

·         The premises was run as a not for profit non-commercial organisation.


In response to a question from the Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee, Mr Hartley confirmed that, although the event on 23 December 2017 had been cancelled, he still wished the hearing to proceed.


In response to further questions from Members, Mr Hartley confirmed that:

·         The building was a railway arch at the back that consisted of a block structure with a steel door.  The walls had been double skinned with heavy ply.

·         He had spoken to Network Rail regarding the complaints, as he wanted to work with residents to solve issues.

·         Following a complaint, he no longer allowed sub-bass music to be played at the premises.

·         He always endeavoured to employ security for events and had established a good relationship with two companies. 

·         A minimum of two SIA staff would be employed for the event on 31 December 2017.

·         There were four railway arches in Valentia Place.  They tended to be used as a production space workshop, studios and for rehearsals.

·         The event would be held in the Arch within the steel yard workshop, as described above, to limit the amount of persons allowed outside.

·         Sound proofing at the premises had been completed in October 2016.

·         There were numerous incidents that occurred in the area which was regarded as a public nuisance.  For instance, some people were known to play loud music out of their car which affected residents. 

·         He had applied for four TENs this calendar year.

·         The event for 23 December 2017 was planned for skateboarders, with alcohol on sale.  A guest list had been compiled.

·         The event on 31 December 2017 was arranged for ‘The Place’ a young person’s company that wished to hold a New Year’s party.

·         Experienced security staff would be engaged to assist with dispersal and the music would also be reduced to ensure the staggered dispersal of patrons. 

·         An organisation called ‘Club Residents’ tended to use the space for some of their activities.  As a result, it was hoped that further engagement with residents would be achieved.

·         He would be willing to print flyers for any events at the premises.  However, he presumed that the local tenants association did this.

·         He expected persons to arrive by 22:30 to 23:00 hours to celebrate the New Year.

·         He would be willing to devise a cut-off time for persons to enter the premises.


Adjournment and Decision


At 9.28 pm, 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 Biggart, Mr McLean and Mr Hartley.


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 not to issue a counter notice in respect of the TEN so that the event can proceed for the following reasons:

·         These are two applications for counter notices against TENs.  The Licensing Sub-Committee (LSC) heard from Mr Biggart and Mr McLean who referred to noise complaints from local residents and businesses on 31 October, 4 and 7 November 2017.  The representation contained very little detail.  Mr Biggart accepted that there were two possible premises that could have caused the problem and he accepted that he could not be certain which premises it was from. 

·         The LSC noted also that there was very little information available about issues in respect of previous TENs.  It was also believed that licensable activity was taking place without TENs. 

·         The LSC also heard from Mr Hartley who disputed that licensable activity took place when it was not authorised.

·         The LSC could not accept on a balance of probabilities that licensable activities had taken place without authorisation.  Mr Hartley gave the LSC information about the event, how he conducted events, the use of SIA staff and how he engaged with the local tenants association.  These were events over the Festive season and there was no doubt there would be many other venues open later. 

·         The LSC was not satisfied that allowing the TEN to go ahead will undermine the licensing objectives and therefore it would not issue a counter notice in respect of either TEN.


RESOLVED: Not to issue counter-notices so that the events can go ahead.


Announcement of Decision


Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision not to issue counter notices so that the events can proceed 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.

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