Agenda item

Number 82 Bar and Club, 82 - 84 Norwood High Street, London SE27 9NW

Minutes:

Special circumstances justifying urgent consideration

 

A meeting of the Licensing Sub-Committee has been convened as a result of an objection raised by the Council’s Noise Team regarding a Temporary Event Notice (TEN), Section 105(2)(a) of the Licensing Act 2002 [part 5] requires a minimum of two days’ notice to be given.  The event is due to take place on 29 December to 31 December 2017.

 

The Chair is of the opinion that although the meeting has not been convened with at least five clear days’ notice, it should proceed now as a matter of urgency to consider the objections to the TEN because of the special circumstances of the need to comply with the statutory requirements of the Licensing Act 2003.

 

Presentation by the Licensing Officer

 

The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application to consider a counter notice for a temporary event notice.  The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 7, 9 and 15 of the Statutory Guidance, and to Sections 8, 14 and Appendix 9 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 paragraphs 5.6 to 5.10 of the report on pages 4 to 5 of the third despatch agenda papers.

 

The Sub-Committee noted that:

  • This was an application for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for Number 82 Bar and Club.  The event was planned for Friday 29 December to Sunday 31 December 2017 from 01:00 to 04:00 hours for the provision of the sale by retail of alcohol, the provision of late night refreshment and the provision of regulated entertainment.  The application was attached at Annex A, pages 13 to 20 of the third despatch agenda papers.
  • Objection to the TEN had been received from the Council’s Community Safety Area Team on 13 December 2017 based on the licensing objective of the prevention of public nuisance.   This representation could be found as Annex B on page 21 of the third despatch agenda papers.
  • A premises licence was in place for the venue, Annex C on pages 23 to 39 of the third despatch agenda papers.
  • In December 2016 an application was received by Community Safety to review the premises licence in respect of public nuisance.  A copy of the Sub-Committee’s decision and consent order could be found as Annex D on pages 41 to 54 of the third despatch agenda papers.
  • Six TENs applications had been received this calendar year, three of the TENs were late which resulted in counter notices being issued following objections from both Community Safety and the Metropolitan Police.

 

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

 

In response to a question from the Sub-Committee, the Licensing Officer confirmed that as the premises already had a licence in place, Mr Elliot Blake, Premises Licence Holder, was seeking an extension of three hours on Friday 29 December and an additional hour on 30 to 31 December 2017.

 

In response to a question from the Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee, Mr Blake confirmed that he did not intend to offer sexual entertainment at the premises and therefore did not require a sexual entertainment venue licence.

 

Presentation by Responsible Authorities

 

Mr Calvin McLean, Community Safety Area Manager, Community Safety Area Team, informed the Sub-Committee that:

·         The Community Safety Area Team had submitted an objection to the TEN made by Mr Blake as it was felt that the proposed hours for the event would likely result in public nuisance.

·         Objections had also been made to three previous TENS submitted late by the premises and, as a result, counter notices had been issued to prevent the events going ahead.

·         The premises already had a non-standard licence on New Year’s Eve and Day from 11:00 to 06:00.

·         He referred the Sub-Committee to the consent order dated 19 September 2017 signed on behalf of the solicitors that represented Mr Blake (page 54, third despatch agenda papers).  Part of the consent order condition 10 (page 48, third despatch agenda) imposed that a sound limiter must be fitted to the musical amplification system at the premises.  The noise level should be determined by the Council’s Environmental Health Officer to prevent noise nuisance caused to local residents or businesses.   

·         Since the consent order had been made, Community Safety tried to make arrangements with Mr Blake on 19 October 2017 to set the sound limiter in accordance with condition 10 but the device was not available at the premises.  However, the sound limiter device was eventually set by officers in late October 2017.

·         Since installation of the sound limiter, several complaints from residents had been received regarding noise and disturbance caused by the venue.

·         As a result of the complaints, the Council needed to be satisfied that the sound level had been correctly set and that the device was correctly being used by the premises in order to prevent further noise issues.  

·         Mr McLean made reference to the additional documentation (a letter from the Council to the premises dated 23 October 2017 and a complaints table regarding the premises) sent to the licensing authority.  On 23 October 2017, prior to the limiter being set and as a result of a complaint received by a resident on 5 August 2017 regarding loud amplified music, an abatement notice was issued to the premises.   He was concerned that the premises was now in breach of that notice.

·         An investigation pertaining to the complaints received by residents was being carried out.

·         As a result of the issues, the Council was not satisfied that noise nuisance would not occur and that the dispersal of 300 persons would be carried out effectively.  Therefore, he requested that a counter notice be issued until appropriate checks to the sound limiter had been carried out and investigations completed.

 

The Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee enquired whether the additional documentation had been by Mr Blake.  Mr McLean confirmed that the documentation had been sent to Mr Blake by email.  Mr Blake confirmed that he raised no objections to the documents being discussed by Mr McLean.

 

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

·         Since the premises had been rebranded, monitoring by council officers had been conducted.  Although some improvements in respect of dispersal and noise from patrons had occurred, nonetheless, public nuisance to nearby residents existed. 

·         Although the sound limiter had been set there was a need to engage with other residents in the area whom had made complaints by visiting their homes to ascertain if the sound level had been correctly set.  This was required in order to comply with condition 10 of the abatement notice.  Arrangements were being made by the Council to ensure that this issue was carried out as quickly as possible.

·         Clear instructions had been given to council officers to ensure that the matter pertaining to the premises was concluded by the end of January 2018.

·         The Council had not been given the opportunity to visit the premises to ascertain whether the sound limiter was working correctly.  Therefore, if the event was allowed this would cause concerns to other residents.

 

Presentation by Premises User

 

Mr Elliot Blake, Premises Licence Holder, informed the Sub-Committee that:

  • He admitted that when council officers arrived at the premises on 19 October 2017, the sound limiter was not available.  However, no licensable activity at that time was being carried out at the premises.
  • Five council officers attended the premises to set the sound limiter.  One of the officers, Mr Ali Peyvandi, was regarded as one of the Council’s most experienced acoustics specialists.  They also visited the premises next door and opposite to his establishment as well as residents in Windsor Grove.  Officers played the music to its maximum level without a limiter.  The sound level was then set to a level agreed by all five council officers.
  • The sound limiter was available in a room that could only be accessed by himself.
  • Council officers had ample opportunity to examine the sound limiter as the premises was open every weekend.
  • The complaints from residents produced by Mr McLean appeared to be edited.
  • Other licensed establishments existed within the area that also played music. 
  • The representations received from residents did not list his premises as responsible for the noise nuisance.
  • He would have expected officers to liaise with him regarding the complaints, especially as they frequented his premises on a weekly basis.  He always conversed with officers to ascertain if there were any noise problems.
  • Despite submitting five TENs for his premises all of them had been declined.  Nevertheless, a TEN submitted on 21 October 2017 by another individual for an event on 23 December 2017 had been agreed.  Therefore, he felt that council officers had an issue with him.

 

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

  • The agreed TEN submitted for the event on 23 December 2017 had the same timings as this TEN.
  • He had agreed with the Council to change the clientele that attended the premises and the TEN events was for mature ravers only.
  • Extra security was now engaged at the premises.  Three sets of doors were available inside the premises and security ensured that those doors only opened and closed by them to prevent noise.   
  • The smoking area situated at the rear of the premises where patrons smoked outside was within an industrial area.
  • The TENs applied for on 29 to 31 December 2017 was a result of the festive period.  Although some people had to work, people would still wish to be out drinking to celebrate.
  • He believed that the extra hours applied for were not considered to be excessive.
  • Staff would be on hand to clean the street up to 50 metres away from the premises and security staff would be available to disperse patrons. 
  • People were allowed to enter the premises up until 02:00 hours.  During the last 30-45 minutes at the premises, the lights were turned on to prevent patrons leaving at the same time to accord with the dispersal policy of the premises.
  • He liaised with all residents and posted letters within the area.  40 residents attended the venue to raise concerns and council officers had also been invited to attend.  Although the meeting had occurred a while ago, a number of residents were in support of the premises. 
  • At a previous Sub-Committee, an 80 year old resident attended the meeting in support of the premises. 
  • He made arrangements for the road opposite Windsor Close which had a gate, to be manned by security and prevent cars entering the road.  
  • He found it unfair that council officers now wished to return to the premises and reset the limiter, considering the TENs had been submitted on 11 December 2017 and complaints had been going on since October 2017.
  • The event was aimed for mature adults aged from 40 years upwards upon advice received from the Council. 
  • The event on Friday 29 December 2017 would enable customers to eat their food within a relaxed environment.  On Saturday 30 December 2017, the event was aimed at mature adults and should be stress free.
  • The music played would consist of old school reggae classics as opposed to garage music.
  • A conservatory was situated at the back of the premises.  However, no speaker was in that area to cause noise nuisance.  He had invited council officers on numerous occasions to the visit the premises over year. 
  • Although the premises was constantly manned by security, he was, nevertheless, considering limiting the amount of persons allowed outside to smoke.
  • It was unfair that the Council did not want his events to proceed within the hours specified, especially as the events would be held during an important time of the year. 

 

The Sub-Committee invited Mr McLean to answer some questions and he made the following points:

·         Although the music could not be heard outside this did not prevent residents from being affected by the music.

·         He believed that the sound was coming into the conservatory area at the back of the premises as a result of possibly low frequency sound travelling outside the premises. 

·         It was not uncommon that the level set on a sound limiter might need to be changed and the Council were entitled to do that if necessary. 

·         He refuted that the representations received had been modified.

·         The Council had no personal issues with Mr Elliot, however, as a result of the complaints received, officers were duty bound to respond.

·         All issues pertaining to the premises would be dealt with as soon as possible.

·         He refuted that officers had been invited to meetings by Mr Elliot.

 

Following further checks in relation to the TEN event that had agreed for 23 December 2017, Mr McLean confirmed that a counter notice by the Council had been issued to Mr Blake on 20 December 2017, to ensure that the event could not proceed.

 

Mr Elliot referred to an incident dated Monday 9 October 2017 documented on the noise complaint log produced by the Council (additional documents) and confirmed that the premises did not open for business on a Monday.

 

Adjournment and Decision

 

At 10.59pm, 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 McLean and Mr Blake.

 

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 issue a counter notice for the following reasons:

·         This was an application by Lambeth Community Safety for a counter notice against a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) issued by Mr Elliot Blake.  The objection centred on the use of a sound limiting device required as a condition of the licence.  Mr McLean explained that this was finally set at the end of October and had tried to get it set for a period of time.  Since the limiter was set they continued to receive noise complaints.  Mr McLean said that the authority needed to be satisfied that the level was set appropriately and it appeared that it might not.  It was also possible that the sound limiter was being by-passed in some way which had happened in the past.  Prior to that the noise abatement notice had been issued on 23 October. 

·         Mr McLean accepted that there had been some improvement in respect of dispersal and noise from patrons but there were nonetheless still issues and the premises was within a residential area.  Mr McLean remained very concerned that if the event was permitted to proceed that it would result in public nuisance to nearby residents. 

·         The LSC then heard from Mr Blake and his view was that the limiter had been set and it was not his fault if the authority needed to come back and revise it.  He suggested the complaints produced by Mr McLean might have been edited and questioned the validity of them.  He took the view that officers were issuing counter notices for TENs that he applied for but not for others.  It was the festive season and he had tried hard to work with the Council to resolve all the issues.  He did accept the possibility of some noise escaping from the rear courtyard.

·         The LSC did not accept that the complaints were not genuine.  One incident relating to 9 October 2017 was a night when Mr Blake said the premises was closed.  Nonetheless, there was sufficient evidence of other complaints that had been ongoing both before and after the sound limiter was set. 

·         The LSC also noted the previous review which related to a considerable number of issues and the consent order in August 2017 at which the sound limiter condition was made.  Whatever the reasons that clearly took some time and quite possibly the service of the abatement notice to get the limiter set at least provisionally. 

·         The LSC accepted that if the limiter did need further resetting that was not necessarily the fault of Mr Blake but nonetheless the LSC had to consider the likely impact of public nuisance which would seem likely from this application.  The TEN would allow an extra three hours on the Friday night and an extra hour on the Saturday night in a residential neighbourhood and there was clearly a risk that the licensing objective of the prevention of public nuisance will be undermined. 

·         The LSC did not think imposing the licence conditions would suffice.  There was an issue over the level to which it had been set and so the risk to public nuisance would remain.  The LSC therefore considered that the only appropriate action was to grant the application and issue a counter notice. 

 

RESOLVED: To issue a counter-notice to prevent the event going ahead.

 

Announcement of Decision

 

Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to issue a counter notice 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: