Agenda item

JFI Enterprises, 59 Stockwell Green, London, SW9 9HU (Larkhall)

Minutes:

Presentation by the Licensing Officer

 

The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application for a new a premises licence. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to chapters 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 of the Statutory Guidance and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 16 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 6.2 of the report on page 58 of the agenda papers.

 

The Licensing Officer confirmed:

 

·           This was an application for a new premises licence.

·           The premises had been previously licensed until 2017, when the Sub-Committee revoked the licence (on 26 October 2017).

·           Mr Dadds was representing the applicant.

·           Representations had been received from a local councillor, Public Protection, the Licensing team, Police and residents.

·           In attendance were residents including Ms Diana Linskey who had made a representation.

·           Page 55 of the agenda papers outlined the background of the application. 

·           The application could be found on page 59 of the agenda papers.

 

The representative of the applicant, Mr David Dadds, enquired how Councillor Normal appeared to know one of the residents who had made an objection to the application (Ms Diane Linskey) as he had “acknowledged” and “waved” at her before the meeting. Councillor Normal explained that he was familiar with Ms Linskey as he previously was the Safer Neighbourhood Chair in Oval.

 

In response to a question asked by the Chair, the representative of the applicant, Mr Dadds, stated that the previous premises licence holder and the previous DPS were not connected to this application. He was being instructed by the applicant, who was the nephew of Mr and Mrs Mendes. Although there was a family connection between him and the previous premises licence holders, there was a separation between them and their nephew (unless the Sub-Committee felt that any family member represented a clear connection to the previous premises licence holder).

 

Presentation by the applicant

 

The representative of the applicant, Mr David Dadds, and the applicant Mr Elvio Lemos, informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The applicant was not proposing conditions whereby alcohol would be ancillary to food but this could be imposed if the Sub-Committee thought it appropriate.

·           Given the hours the premises would operate, the applicant was content for the hours to be reduced to 22:00.

·           There was no application for the playing of music.

·           The conditions were set out on page 77 of the agenda papers.

·           Mr Dadds was aware of the previous review application for the premises and had drafted conditions in response to some of the issues.

·           There would be no use or access to the rear of the premises.

·           Much of the data relied upon by objectors regarding the premises was historical in nature. One incident related to an incident in December 2014.

·           Each application was meant to be judged on its own merit.

·           The applicant and the other director of the company were persons of good character. One had a personal licence and the other was applying for one.

·           The applicant had a clean CRB check and had personal licence himself. He had not taken over the premises as he was awaiting the outcome of the application. 

·           Police had stated that there was a family link between the previous premises licence holders and the current applicant and although this might be the case, the applicant was of good character.

·           If the Sub-Committee was minded to do so, then they could insert a condition excluding Mrs Mendes and her brother from the premises.

·           In relation to some of the difficulties regarding the landlord, this was a civil matter.

·           In relation to the barbeques and bonfires, this was not something that the applicant wished to do.

·           There would be no use of the rear and access to the rear would be prevented.

·           The proposed premises staff would be individuals of good character.

·           In relation to the alleged fights, this had been reported but was a historical issue.

·           The premises would offer non-alcoholic beer but the consumption of alcohol at the premises was not prohibited and patrons would be allowed to bring their own alcohol.

·           The issues relating to the premises concerning the storage of tobacco related to the previous premises licence holders and did not have anything to do with the current applicant.

·           There was a need for Mr Mendes to be involved with the premises as his name was on the lease and work was still needed to be done to figure out how the applicant would go forward with the business.

·           The business was a family run business and Mr Mendes’ nephew would take over the business.

·           CCTV was working on the premises and Police could investigate the footage at any time. 

·           There already had been a number of inspections at the premises.

·           The applicant was happy to reduce the hours if an earlier closing time was needed.

·           Appropriate conditions to mitigate concerns had been offered.

 

In response to questions from Members, Mr Dadds informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The applicant was not currently in control of the premises.

·           In relation to the incident involving patrons being seen drinking from pint glasses, there was no sale of alcohol and CCTV was present on the premises. There were numerous flats close to the premises which were occupied and the tenants had their own alcohol.

·           The applicant was happy to exclude Mrs Mendes from the operation of the premises. 

·           The applicant would be happy to answer questions on how the licensing objectives would be met.

·           The conditions set out on page 77 of the agenda papers would be adhered to; appropriate signs would be put up around the premises, no more than 6 patrons would be allowed to use the smoking area, CCTV would be in use at the premises, staff would be trained, no chairs or tables would be outside. There would be no sale and consumption of alcohol off the premises.

·           In relation to the actual management of the premises, a personal licence holder would be present at the premises at all times.

·           The applicant could offer alcohol ancillary to food.

·           The applicant was offering conditions beyond what one would expect outside a cumulative impact zone.

·           Given the historic concerns raised, the applicant was content for a closing time of 22:00.

·           The applicant would focus on selling food and would focus on the patrons attending the premises from 17:00-22:00.

·           The applicant was able to manage the patrons on the premises.

 

In response to a question from the Sub-Committee, the Legal officer clarified that anyone carrying on or proposing to carry on licensable activities from a premises could apply for a licence regardless of the consent of the landlord. The Licensing Officer confirmed that the previous licence holders had held the licence since 2005. 

 

In response to further questions from Members, Mr Dadds informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The applicant was willing to exclude the previous premises licence holders from the premises regardless of whether or not they were directly or indirectly involved with the business. They would also be excluded from the non-licensed part of the premises by extension.

 

Presentation from interested parties

 

Ms Bina Patel, Licensing Manager, informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           There had been significant historical issues with the premises and the previous premises licence holders.

·           There appeared to be a family link between the previous premises licence holders and the two main directors that had been appointed.

·           It was not clear if the newly appointed directors lived directly above the premises.

 

At this point in the proceedings, Mr Dadds confirmed that the newly proposed DPS had moved in to one of the flats above the premises and would generally overlook the operations of the premises. However, Mr and Mrs Mendes may be moving out. There were five flats above the premises in total.

 

Ms Patel, further informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The Licensing team was aware of a family connection between the previous licence holder and the applicant.

·           The Licensing team had concerns regarding how the premises would be managed.

·           The business was a newly incorporated company as of July 2018.

·           The DPS had only recently received a personal licence and generally lacked experience. 

·           The newly appointed DPS/Directors had family link to the previous premises licence holder.

·           If the Sub-Committee was minded to grant the application, then the applicant had offered to agree to a condition whereby food would be ancillary to alcohol and had offered to reduce the terminal hour for licensable activity. 

·           The conditions proposed by the applicant would not satisfy the licensing objectives.

·           Although the DPS would reside above the premises, it was not clear who would take over from him if he was away.

·           She did not think that the applicant would uphold the licence objectives.

·           She would ask that the application be refused.

 

Mr Keith Badrick, Public Protection Officer informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           Mr Dadds had outlined the historical issues with the premises which showed a number of issues in the familywho were still together and involved in the premises.

·           The historical issues regarding the premises dated largely from January 2011 to May 2018.

·           Residents had reported issues regarding the premises such as noise disturbances, and patrons fighting.

·           The premises had in the past closed its shutters and, whilst appearing to be closed, had continued its activities.

·           There had been reports of drug related activities at the premises.

·           Some of the issues led to investigations at the premises and this led to the revocation of the previous licence. 

·           From June until October 2018, there had been a number of complaints received from residents regarding the rear garden area at the premises. 

·           Although some of the issues relating to the premises were historical, many of the incidents were relatively recent.

·           There were issues of noise and smoke nuisance and the use of an incinerator.

·           There were photos of alcohol on display at the premises after the premises licence had been revoked.

·           There was photographic evidence of empty alcoholic bottles and containers at the premises on two separate occasions.

·           There had been reports of noise and drunken behaviour.

·           A male patron had been seen outside the premises on a scooter allegedly smoking cannabis. Another report from 28 October 2018 showed patrons drinking from bottles and smoking cannabis.

·           The smoking area appeared to be a cause for concern and appeared to be set on a pavement.

·           He was not confident that the licensing objectives would be upheld under the new application, especially considering the link between the applicant and the previous premises licence holders.

·           Residential properties were around and opposite the premises.

 

In response to questions from Members, Ms Patel and Mr Baldrick informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The rear of the premises had been used on 25 June 2018 (with the licence having been believed to have been revoked in May).

·           The smoking area was not a suitable smoking area.

·           Some of the conditions proposed by the applicant were acceptable but this depended on ensuring that the premises was properly managed with no breaches on the conditions of the licence.

·           The premises would have a new menu and the food service at the premises would be minimal.

·           Most of the patrons to the premises were there to drink and socialise. During the World Cup, there was a congregation of Portuguese fans inside and outside the premises. It was in these situations where food service would not be considered important.

·           Public Protection had received multiple complaints about ‘lock-ins’ after the terminal hour for licensable activity.

·           Making a promise to the Sub-Committee that the applicant would be able to uphold the licensing objectives would not be enough to regain trust in the management of the premises.

·           The premises would have the same patrons that it had previously.

·           There was still a potential for ‘lock-ins’ to occur at the premises.

·           There was also potential for antisocial behaviour to occur outside the premises.

·           The applicant was unlikely to be able to meet the licensing objectives.

·           When a premises has its license revoked, it usually removes any alcohol on display inside the premises as in addition to losing the right to sell alcohol, it also would lose the right to display alcohol.

·           At a visit to the premises on 22 September 2018, officers found bins containing alcoholic bottles.

·           The photo on page 86 of the agenda papers was taken by a resident.

·           Photographs have been taken over a five month period. All the photographs had been taken since the licence had been revoked.

Presentation from interested parties

 

Councillor Andy Wilson informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           He was a member for Larkhall ward and spoke at the previous hearing in October 2017.

·           After the Sub-Committee revoked the premises licence, there was an appeal from the applicant and the premises continued trading during that time.

·           The change in DPS was not likely to change the behaviour of the premises staff or the outcomes in general.

·           Usually when a premises has had interventions made, efforts would be made by the premises licence holders to try and improve the premises. However, this was not the case in relation to this premises.

·           The premises had continued to trade after they had appealed the decision to revoke the licence in spite of objections from residents.  

·           There was no reason to believe the premises could have improved.

·           There was a link between the applicant and the previous premises licence holder.

·           In the past, mitigation had been proposed to the premises licence holders to no effect.

·           It was unfortunate that the applicant’s representative had stated that the issues would be dealt with via the use of appropriate signage but there was no serious attempt to address antisocial behaviour.

·           The only time the premises staff ever made an effort to improve things was when the Sub-Committee made interventions to the premises.

·           There had been hostile engagement between residents and the premises.

·           Many residents were scared to walk past the premises due to its staff and/or the patrons who frequented it.

·           The premises was outside a residential area.

·           Smoke from the premises from smokers would go into surrounding windows.

·           The application showed a complete lack of understanding and willingness regarding smoking and noise issues.

·           No effort had been made to mitigate concerns or to understand the impact the premises had in the area.

 

In response to questions from Members, Councillor Wilson informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           The premises would still attract the same patrons it had always attracted under this application. If an effort had been made to make a stronger intervention, the applicant’s argument would be more convincing but instead the applicant appeared to have given standardised responses and was still showing a general ignorance of the impact of the premises.

·           A change of DPS only indicated a surface level change and the premises staff did not appear to understand the impact the premises had on the residents locally.

 

At this point in the proceedings, the Licensing Officer informed the Sub-Committee that photographs of the premises had been received on 20 August 2018 

 

The Sub-Committee was then addressed by Ms Diana Linskey, who said that:

 

·           Councillor Wilson had outlined well the feelings of residents in the area.

·           She had been Chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel for quite some time and the premises had been on the agenda regularly at meetings.

·           Those associated with the premises had no idea of the impact of their activities in the surrounding area and did not appear to care as these issues have been pointed out to them in the past.

·           Promises had been made by the previous premises licence holders. Mr and Mrs Mendes and Mr Baroca had made promises to deal with the issues but nothing had ever changed.

·           Whenever formal interventions were made to the premises, temporary minor improvements would be made but would never be sustained in the long-term.

·           Currently outside the premises, a bucket-full of cigarette stubs could be found outside instead of chairs. This bucket would no longer be present if the Sub-Committee granted the application.

·           The pavement outside the premises was narrow. 

·           There were residential properties on both sides of the premises.

·           At times, one could observe up to six people standing outside a living room window talking, smoking, drinking and watching young girls entering the building opposite.

·           Premises staff had been observed lighting a fire burning things at the back of the premises.

·           The premises had an impact on 30-40 homes which were affected by this activity. Premises staff in the past have been told not to do it.

·           Part of the order of the condition on the lease was not to have bonfires after forfeiture of the lease.

·           Body cameras worn by police who had visited the premises showed that the premises had an incinerator.

·           Neither the applicant, nor the previous premises licence holders could be trusted as a family.

·           All of the people involved in managing the premises previously had failed to keep their promises to meet the conditions on the licence.

·           Any conditions promised by the applicant was not likely to be adhered to.

·           The applicant was not offering much food and the premises had never have offered much range in the selection of food. 

·           There were 40 other licensed premises in the ward and this premises was the only one regularly appearing on the Safer Neighbourhood Panel agenda.

·           There were many family run Portuguese cafés in the area which were well run and well operated. This premises was an exception.

·           The premises had a negative impact in the area.

 

In response to questions from Members, Ms Linskey informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           Although the applicant had not been invited to the Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings specifically, the meetings were advertised and anybody was welcome to attend. Approximately thirty people attended the last meeting and prior to the meetings, a large sign would be displayed informing residents of the meeting.

·           Those associated with the premises had used the back of the premises for burning things.  They had used to use it to burn waste (according to residents). 

·           Complaints about ‘lock-ins’ had always been reported after the terminal hour for licensable activity.

·           Reducing the hours of licensable activity would not reduce the risk of the problems.

·           In relation to the condition being offered (that food would be ancillaryto the sale of alcohol), the main aspect of the business had always been socialising, drinking and the socialising of patrons. Food had never been a main part of the business.

·           The applicant needed to be able to manage the patrons which was one of the only ways the premises would be able to reduce its impact on residents.

 

The applicant was recalled to address matters arising. In response to questions from Members, Mr Dadds informed the Sub-Committee that:

 

·           Licensing Officers had attended the premises to examine the CCTV which demonstrated that there had not been a “lock in”.

·           In August 2017, a private family function was held for one of the family members. This was not a cause for concern as it was not disrespectful to residents to hold the function.

·           There was no suggestion that the applicant or the appointed Directors had been involved with any of the issues concerning the premises in the past and they were people of good character.

·           CCTV footage could be provided to officers at any time and this provided a safeguarding mechanism for anybody concerned.

·           The operation hours proposed by the applicant were genuine and premises would close at the proposed times.

·           The smoking area was in close proximity to the other residential areas and needed to be managed. Therefore, a personal licence holder would be present at all times. This was a substantial offer for managing patrons that were simply smoking at the premises.

·           There would be no drinking outside the premises.

·           If the premises operated as a café, there would be patrons who wished to smoke. It may be that the Sub-Committee wished to reduce this number.

·           The main element of the business would focus on the sale of food and would trade as a cafe.

·           Only one person could be nominated as a DPS.

·           It was not appropriate to tarnish a family with a poor reputation if one or two members of a family had not behaved as expected.

·           A personal licence holder would be present at all times at the premises. Given the proposed hours the business proposed to operate, this was a significant condition to offer.

·           The premises had not operated from 9 August 2018 to 9 September 2018.

·           In relation to the alcohol that was found to be on display, it had been confirmed by the licensing officer previously that the bottles on display were empty and there was no alcohol present in the bottles. Officers had attended the premises three times and had only observed empty bottles, therefore no offence had been committed. 

·           The previous premises licence holder and the applicant were not the same persons. The applicant would be more responsible and operate under the scope of the licence. The bottles found on display would have been removed by the applicant had he been in charge and the presence of the bottles found should bear no reflection on the applicant.

·           The plan of the premises could be seen on page 80. There would be no access to the rear area. No public would allowed beyond the storage area and no member of the public would be allowed into the storage area in any case.

 

Adjournment and Decision

 

At 9.29pm, the Sub-Committee withdrew from the meeting together with the Legal adviser and clerk to deliberate in private. The Sub-Committee had heard and considered representations from all those who spoke. 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 refuse the application.

 

RESOLVED: To refuse the application.

 

Announcement of Decision

 

Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to refuse the application. The Sub-Committee had carefully considered all the representations made and had decided to refuse the application. Full written reasons would be provided in due course. 

 

Supporting documents: