Presentation by the Licensing Officer
The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application to vary a premises licence. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 of the Statutory Guidance, and to sections 5, policy 1, 7, 8 and Appendices 1, 3, 5, 6 and 10 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 5.2 of the report on pages 29 of the agenda papers.
The Licensing Officer confirmed that:
· This was an application to vary a premises licence.
· The applicant was seeking to extend the premises operating hours on Monday to Thursday to 03:00.
· Representations had been received against the application from Licensing, Police and a councillor.
· Additional information had been provided by the applicant.
Mr James Anderson, Mr Tobias Jackson, Mr Mark Halton and Mr Tony Scottinformed the Sub-Committee that:
· There was an error in the report which stated that there were 55 licensed premises in South Lambeth Road, but the premises was not located in South Lambeth Road.
· The applicant had submitted a detailed application and was making the application in an area which was subject to a cumulative impact policy in the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy.
· The application had been tailored so that the hours requested were only for the quiet nights of the week.
· There was a need in the area for a pleasant cocktail bar with entertainment for the quieter nights of the week. This was not something that was offered by the applicant’s competitors.
· No application had been made for the usually busier Fridays and Saturdays.
· The applicant wanted to offer this option to local people.
· The applicant had applied for temporary event notices (TENs) and had operated without any difficulty.
· Mr Mark Halton had analysed the premises in operation and had submitted a report.
· The premises was considered to be well run, particularly its dispersal policy and this was something that the applicant would maintain.
· The application being granted with later operating hours was not at odds with the policy as later operating hours would not be detrimental if a good operator was in place. A good operator could operate late hours without undermining the licensing objectives.
· The premises did not suffer from any, noise issues, complaints or any issues near the premises.
· Residents had not made a representation.
· The applicant had offered conditions.
· The maximum occupancy of the premises was 163 persons but the applicant could agree to 80 persons.
· In practicality, much fewer than 80 people would occupy the premises during the hours applied for.
· There would be a gradual dispersal of patrons from the premises later on in the evening.
· The application was not a plan to sell more alcohol. Generally speaking, younger people drank less.
· Many patrons often drank non-alcoholic drinks.
· The premises offered non-alcoholic cocktails.
· Although there would be some patrons drinking alcohol, there would also be patrons who simply wished to have a place to go and enjoy themselves.
· The licensing policy had come into place partly due to the concerns that were raised in 2011. Many of the concerns related to busy nights where most of the problems often occurred.
· PC constable and his representation referred to the late-night economy but without reference to Monday to Sunday and the policy did not make this distinction.
· Many of the issues relating to the licensing policy was brought into force to deal with issues that occurred on Friday and Saturday nights.
· The applicant did not wish to compete with the market on Friday and Saturday.
· The Sub-Committee was entitled by law to examine why the policy was introduced in first place.
· It was important to note that the test in the policy was to examine if the application would have an adverse impact on licensing objectives.
· The applicant had put forward a strong case that the application would not adversely impact the licensing objectives.
· It was important to have a high-quality operator running the premises in the area.
· Some of the other licensed premises in the area were not operating at the same level as the applicant.
· The application was an opportunity to provide residents and the public with a nice place for mixed groups of people to go and have a pleasant and safe evening.
In response to questions from Members, Mr Anderson, Mr Jackson, Mr Halton and Mr Scottinformed the Sub-Committee that:
· The premises had not had a negative impact in the area and it was up to the Sub-Committee to determine the kind of impact the premises had made in the area.
· The premises had operated 15 TENs without any issues and there was no intention from the applicant to change Thursday into the ‘new Friday’.
· The premises was much quieter Mondays to Thursdays and the applicant was not looking to fill the premises to maximum capacity.
· The applicant already operated late at night and had held 15 TENs in 2019 without any issues.
· The applicant had demonstrated that the premises could be controlled and that the licensing objectives would be upheld.
· The applicant was happy to add conditions to satisfy any concerns.
· The applicant had a clean record, as had those employed at the premises in jobs such as bartending had career paths. Although bartenders did learn cocktails, they also had other responsibilities and would be adequately trained. This included drug and alcohol awareness and dispersal training.
· One of the licensed premises in the area operated until 03:00 on the same days applied for by the applicant. That premises was trading as ‘Tropics’. This was a different operator to the applicant and would attract a different type of patron.
· The patrons the applicant wished to attract were relaxed city workers.
· The applicant was aware that the area suffered from issues such as excessive alcohol consumption.
· The applicant could only comment following consultation and no residents had made representations.
· Alcohol sales were not the primary purpose of the application.
· The applicant considered themselves to be good neighbours and were mindful of the location of the premises. The head doorman would sweep the outside area of the premises and this was something that would not happen on many licensed premises.
· The premises would play recorded music. On Saturday nights, the premises would have a DJ who would also play recorded music.
· The applicant would accept a condition whereby door staff would be expected to perform cleaning in the outside area.
· All 15 TENs that had been applied for by the applicant had been used.
· The applicant could not recall the last time Police were called to the premises but this would usually happen on the weekends if it did occur.
· The applicant had operated in the area for several years and could not recall if the Police had ever been called out to the premises between Monday to Thursday. They had not been called out any time a temporary event had been held in premises.
· Premises staff only called out Police officers as a last resort.
Presentation by interested parties
Ms Bina Patel, Licensing Manager, informed the Sub-Committee that:
· The premises was formerly known as the Royal Oak which had been established before 2005. The application for a licence was granted at that time.
· The licence held by the premises was in excess of the preferred hours in the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy.
· The applicant has not provided sufficient information regarding how they would meet the licensing objectives by extending the operating hours.
· The applicant had stated that 15 temporary events had taken place at the premises, but there was no evidence that the temporary events had in fact taken place.
· The hours sought by the applicant were in excess of the hours recommended in the licensing policy.
· Granting the application could lead to more patrons resulting in greater levels of crime in disorder.
· Greater quantities of alcohol served to patrons could lead to the licensing objectives not being upheld.
PC Mike Constable informed the Sub-Committee that:
· Much of his representation would have been covered in his written representation.
· There was not enough evidence presented by the applicant to suggest that increased licensing activity would not lead to the same concerns that occurred on Friday and Saturday nights.
· He appreciated that the maximum capacity had been reduced to 80 people for the days sought by the applicant.
· As the premises had reduced hours during most weekdays, Police and security would have to deal with fewer disruptive individuals. However, if the licence was granted with an 80 person maximum capacity, then it was likely that there would be an increase in Police needing to deal with more disorderly individuals with reduced resources during Monday-Thursday.
· The cumulative impact zone needed to be updated as much had changed since 2011, including the state of Policing (which had an impact on Clapham High Street).
· At times, he had been the only Police Officer on Clapham High Street.
· On Friday and Saturday, the Police ran Operation Equinox which tried to prevent injury and vulnerability. However, this operation did not run during Monday to Thursday.
· The only Police available to police the area were the Central and South teams for Lambeth and Southwark. These teams were already overworked and they did not need to deal with more issues.
· The applicant had not made a sufficient case as to why granting the application would help uphold the licensing objectives.
· On Fridays and Saturdays, there were people committing crimes which needed Police attention.
· He had policed Clapham High Street for nearly 5 years and had good knowledge of the area.
· He had observed changes and other circumstances taking place in the area.
· He noted that the premises had held temporary events without the Police being called out often.
In response to questions from Members, PC Constable informed the Sub-Committee that:
· There was a meeting earlier in the day of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel at the Clapham Methodist Church. The briefing included crime statistics in the area. Child Sexual Exploitation training would be held next Thursday.
· Arrests had been made from last weekend, including eight new faces (six of which were for violence) and one of those was made on a Monday night.
At this point in the proceedings, Ms Patel stated that additional conditions could be proposed.
The applicant was recalled to address matters arising. In response to questions from Members, Mr Anderson, Mr Jackson, Mr Halton and Mr Scott informed the Sub-Committee that:
· There was no evidence for increased concern regarding the licensing activity applied for between Monday–Thursday.
· The applicant had been trading at the premises since 2013. The days that had been applied for would remain weekdays and therefore granting the application would not change the type of patrons that would be attending the premises.
· In relation to the lack of Police resources, the premises would operate to high standards to meet the licensing objectives.
· The premises had CCTV, search procedures and Challenge 25. These practices formed part of the excellent record at the premises.
· In relation to TENs, he noted that the temporary events had taken place for a long period between the end of July 2019 to the end of September 2019. If there had been issues, then Police would have been informed about them.
· The Licensing Policy had been written for exceptions that would be made in certain cases for a good operator.
· If the Sub-Committee felt that a terminal hour of 03:00 was too late, then the applicant would agree to a terminal hour of 02:00.
Adjournment and Decision
At 3.43pm, 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 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 grant the application with conditions and amendments.
RESOLVED: To grant the application with conditions and amendments.
Announcement of Decision
Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to grant the application with conditions and amendments. The applicant had submitted a strong application and had high standards as an operator. The Sub-Committee wished to impose conditions consistent with the operating schedule and as agreed. The Sub-Committee also determined to impose conditions requiring the applicant to clean the outside of the premises and engage with Safer Neighbourhood Panels. The applicant may choose to engage with the Panels on an intermittent basis. The applicant had invited the Sub-Committee to consider imposing a terminal hour of 02:00 and the Sub-Committee determined to impose this amendment to the application, accordingly the condition for last entry at 02:00 would be removed. The Sub-Committee were satisfied that with the reduced hours and revised operating schedule, the applicant had met the concerns raised and that the presumption against the grant of this application under the Councils Statement of Licensing Policy had been discharged. Accordingly the Sub-Committee were satisfied that granting this application as now amended would not serve to add negatively to the cumulative impact experienced in the Clapham Impact Zone.