Agenda item

Live Nation, Clapham Common Event Site, Clapham Common, London, SW4 (Clapham Common)


Presentation by the Licensing Officer

The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application for a time limited premises licence. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and 16 of the Statutory Guidance, and to section 5 (policies 1, 3, 4, 8) 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 6.2 of the report on pages 42 of the agenda papers.

The Licensing Officer confirmed:

·      This was an application for a premises licence under section 17 of the Licensing Act 2003. The application was submitted on 6 March 2020 by Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd. 

·      The application was for the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment across a maximum of 10 event dates per calendar year, between 1 June to 15 September. 

·      The applicant, within their application, referred to the Code of Practice on Environmental Nosie Control at Concerts. A copy of this document can be seen at Annex B, pages 87–101 of the agenda papers.

·      The applicant provided a Noise Management Plan for SW4 as supporting information and this could be seen at Annex C, pages 103-120 of the agenda papers.

·      The consultation period came to an end on 28 April 2020 following an extension to the period in which representations were allowed to be made. The original consultation end date was on 3 April 2020. 

·      The consultation period was extended due to the Licensing Authority not advertising the application on the Council’s website (this being a statutory requirement under the Licensing Act 2003). The new consultation end date allowed a full 28 days of the application being advertised on the website. 

·      The applicant satisfied their consultation duty under the Licensing Act, by advertising in a local newspaper and displaying notices at the location of where the application related, in and around Clapham Common. 

·      The application received one representation from a local resident, Mr Alexander Davidson. Mr Davidson had provided supporting information to his representation. This can be found in the additional papers.

·      The Licensing Authority had made a representation, but this was later withdrawn following conditions having been agreed with the applicant. This included placing a time limit on the licence so that it would lapse on 16 September 2024. These conditions can be seen at Annex E, pages 123-125 of the agenda papers.

·      The 2020 event dates as proposed within the application had been cancelled due to the coronavirus crises.


In response to questions from Members, the Licensing Officer confirmed:


·      The applicant themselves were duty-bound to publish a newspaper advert within 10 working days of having submitted the application. This had been completed by the applicant. They were also required to display blue notices which they had also done. The Licensing Authority had a duty to publish the application on the Council’s website, but due to technological reasons, this had not been possible. This issue was later rectified by publishing the application on the website at a later date. As a result, the consultation came to an end on 28 April 2020 instead of 3 April 2020.


The Chair stated that the Sub-Committee needed to declare that it had received email correspondence from Mr Simon Wilson of the Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee, stating that they had not been formally consulted following the application. Following legal advice, the Sub-Committee resolved to follow the Court of Appeals guidance in the case of the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences v The Albert Court Residents’ Association [2011], that the clear statutory process set out in the Act needed to be adhered to by the Sub-Committee and that the representations of an interest group that may have status cannot take precedence over the statutory framework. The full statutory process was followed, even if there was difficulty in following the procedure of the application initially, this was rectified  by publishing the application as required at a later date. Representations needed to be made within the statutory deadline. Taking this into consideration, the submission by the Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee that they had not been consulted and therefore their request that the hearing should be delayed to allow them to make a representation and be heard at the hearing could not be taken into account nor accommodated. The Chair would write to Mr Milson regarding this procedural matter. 



Presentation by the applicant


Mr Melvin Benn, representing the applicant, informed the Sub-Committee that:


·      During the summer of 2019, a tender for the use of major concerts and large concerts in the area had been put out by the Council’s Events team.

·      The applicant had won the tender and began planning for the 2020 event.

·      The tender was for six major (up to 39, 999) event days and ten large events days
(up to 19,999).

·      This was to be held in relative succession at a date period to be discussed with the Events team. When an agreement had been reached, it was also agreed that there would be a partnership between the applicant and SW4 for some shared ownership and for SW4 to be part of the future for Clapham Common activities. Therefore, the applicant had submitted an application for the late August period.

·      In addition to SW4, the applicant had created the Yam festival in which the applicant had become a shareholder. This festival was intended to be a food and music festival with a focus on African culture.

·      In addition to the proposed plans, an event was planned for the August bank holiday Monday. A reggae festival was on sale before the coronavirus crisis triggered a national lockdown and before it became apparent that festivals could not be held.

·      In between the Yam festival and SW4, the applicant had planned free yoga activities and yoga events for use of the 10 large events and more of this was to be planned. These plans had to be postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

·      Planning for the 2021 events would begin as soon as possible. The applicant had worked very closely with the Public Protection team (and Police) in preparation of the application which was for a five-year time-limited premises licence.

·      There was one objection to the application that required a correction in the operating schedule.

·      After discussion with the Events team and the Public Protection team, the applicant had resubmitted its noise management plan and had updated the planning for noise management. This included Lambeth Council’s noise management process which was the requirement the Council wished to undertake.

·      The applicant worked very closely with environmental health teams and emergency services regarding its planning in order to ensure that the requirements of the licensing objectives were fully met. There was a full-time staff working on these issues.



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


·      The correct noise management plan was the one dated 13 May 2020.

·      The Lambeth noise management guidance was fairly clear and had a consistent approach and the same commitment regardless of the number of people who would turn up to an event.

·      In principle, the non-bank holiday events would be an event that would be typically run like a ‘mid-week’ event which would include events such as a yoga fitness event or a cinema event.

·      At the present time, the government had published no guidance regarding the management of mass gatherings. This included themed events or stadium events.

·      For large events, the idea that mass gatherings could take place with social distancing was an uneconomic proposition for the applicant.

·      The solution to the coronavirus crisis may come in a number of different ways whether it is a vaccine or a cure or if the disease disappeared from the wider population.

·      The applicant had published a plan for the management of mass gatherings which involved test and tracing so that attendees would have been tested prior to attending the event.

·      For the applicant to operate a large-scale event at 50% or 70% of its full capacity was not economically viable. For an event scheduled for an attendance of 40,000 people, under the social distance guidelines of 2 meters, the premises could hold a maximum of 7,000 to 8,000 people at the most. It would be impossible for an operator to hold an event which was financially sustainable with such low attendance numbers.

·      It was not clear if the situation caused by the coronavirus crisis would abate and things return to normal by the summer of 2021. The situation could return to normal or there could be a ‘new normal’ which involved continuous hand washing or hand sanitisation, the wearing of facemasks and new guidance.

·      The applicant was working with the government in relation to drafting new government guidance.

·      The event in question was still 15 months away and the event would be held with the developed changes that would need to be made in the coming future.

·      An ability to predict the exact form in which the queueing system would be implemented was difficult as it was not clear how the coronavirus crisis would impact wider society in the summer of 2021.

·      He would further consult with residents and had been very active at consulting with them so far regarding this application. Even if wider society was still suffering from the effects of the coronavirus crisis, he believed that events could be held taking into consideration guidance provided by the government at the time

·      He was working with the Police in a special working group separate from the government largely to deal with how queueing systems would be implemented. This was an ongoing discussion.

·      There was no difference in the noise management of a concert, a Yam festival, a reggae festival or any other event because the Lambeth Council noise management plan regulated such matters.

·      Every single event had the same approach whether it was dance, hip-hop, reggae, grime or any other type of event. The management and approach to those events was exactly the same throughout. At times, there could be some specific differences. For example, if a classical music event was being held, the management of ingress and egress was a little different due to the number of tables and chairs that would be required. However, the general principles remained the same and the approach to noise management remained the same.

·      He had applied for a licence that would have a terminal hour of 22:30 on a Sunday for live and recorded music. An application had also been made for the supply of alcohol.

·      He would not agree to a terminal hour of 21:30 as this would mean that it would change the terminal hour for the playing of the music which was scheduled to end at 22:00. The dispersal would be relaxed and easy and would occur from 22:00 onwards and therefore he could not agree to a terminal hour of 21:30.

·      In relation to mobile noise monitoring stations, the applicant would not be able to fully identify which stops needed to be made and how many consultants needed to be employed in these mobile operations. The noise management plans had been submitted by the applicant and had been discussed with the appropriate teams at the council and there appeared to be an acceptable noise management plan in place and was based on events that had operated at Clapham Common in the past. This particular noise management plan had a variation to it.

·      Noise monitoring stations had been selected and agreed with by the applicant’s noise team and the Council’s own public protection teams and this seemed to be an appropriate way to deal with the situation.

·      The applicant had not applied for a large number of events in Clapham Common. The applicant had simply responded to an offer of a large number of events which had been advertised by the Council.

·      He had not planned 16 days of activity for 2020, but did note that the application was for a larger amount of days than previously occupied at once by an applicant in Clapham Common. It was natural for the applicant to work with local authorities and their respective noise teams and to have some flexibility in order to respond to any issues, but these requests needed to be reasonable in order for them to be implemented.

·      The applicant would be responsive to any issues as it had a duty to be a good neighbour.



Presentation by interested parties

MrAlexander Davidson, resident, Informed the Sub-Committee that:

·      He was up against one of the largest concert organisers around. The company had a commercial interest and they had played loud music for a long time.

·      He was also up against Lambeth Council.

·      Accepting the position of the monitoring proposals, he was still up against the number of issues that the application brought forward.

·      Lambeth had benefited through the ownership of Clapham Common and had 210,000 reasons’ per year to allow the events to go ahead.

·      It was still unclear how long the events would go on for.

·      He was still confused about the terminal hour on Sunday. He had understood that the terminal hour for licensable activity would be 23:00 but the meeting had heard that the terminal hour would be 22:00.

·      His main concern was about the level of music noise. It was true that the applicant had corrected an error regarding in the noise levels of the guidance that he was following but this has only happened at the meeting. However, up until this meeting, the applicant was basing his assessment on the Code of Practice of Noise At Concerts.

·      He wished to draw the Sub-Committee’s attention to the number of things that had been stated in the Code of Practice such as implementing a noise assessment for each recognised monitoring point, that there should be no more than 15 dB of music noise above background level noise for up to three consecutive days and that there should be lower noise levels for the fourth day. All this was in keeping with what the Sub-Committee had agreed before, for effectively the same event.

·      He was not seeking to have the application refused. He was simply asking for noise levels to be set at an appropriate level to stop noise disturbance being caused to residents.

·      It was important to note that the applicant was seeking up to ten concert days for over five weeks. However, the Code of Practice had stated that an acceptable level of noise was four concert days in a whole year.

·      A noise level of 80 dB or more caused significant disturbances to residents. A base level noise of 80 dB or more being played out 150 meters away from his front door was excessive for 11 hours a day for four days over a weekend, for four weekends in a row.

·      The Sub-Committee should review this application every year in order to examine the applicant’s compliance and the application’s impact on residents.

·      Due to the coronavirus crisis, it was not possible for the applicant to state how many events, what kind of events and what kind of noise would be played out at these types of events in the foreseeable future.

·      There was too much uncertainty that could not be predicted in order for the Sub-Committee to safely grant a five year licence to the applicant, particularly considering the impact the application would have on local residents.


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


·      Although 90dB was the average level over 15 minutes, for half the time it was at 85dB and for half the time it was at 95dB.

·      It was important that the Sub-Committee took into consideration realistic noise levels which was 6 to 8 times higher than ordinary levels. For every 10 dB, average noise levels were twice as high and for every 20 dB the average noise was four times as high.

·      One particular concern was the lack of lower levels of noise set for the fourth consecutive day. The Sub-Committee had approved this as a condition at last year’s SW4 event.

·      Upon examining the agreement made by Lock ‘n’ Load with Wandsworth Council, one could see that both parties had decided to reduce levels of bass noise to protect Wandsworth residents. The noise levels were reduced to 86 dB.



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

·      Reducing the decibel level to 86 dB for the event would mean that there would be no point in holding the event at all.

·      Wandsworth Council had seen the application and worked hand-in-hand with Lambeth’s Public Protection team and both councils could be seen as one entity during when events were held on Clapham Common.

·      Wandsworth Council had not made a representation against the application.

·      He would not be happy with the amended proposals and he suspected that Wandsworth Council was happy with the application, otherwise they would have made a representation against it.

·      He held a permanent premises licence in Finsbury Park, Gunnersbury Park, Leeds, Liverpool, Reading and many towns across the UK. Some of the licences he had held had been for over ten years. In Reading, he had held a licence since 1989.

·      The Licensing Act was designed in order to allow operators flexibility within a given area in which an applicant was operating.

·      The licence he held for holding events in Finsbury Park had no limit on the amount of days or the amount of years. It was a permanent licence.

·      The licenses that he had held for other local areas were permanent premises licences and not time-limited ones. The management of these licenses was constantly under assessment by the officers employed by those authorities.

·      None of the premises licences that he held had come under review and he had worked closely with the local authorities.

·      The time-limited licence application existed so that it could reduce the burden on local authorities receiving premises licence applications year on year.

·      If the application was granted, he would have permission to use the land for five years and it was his legal right to apply for the tender and he had done so.


At this point in the proceedings, the Licensing Officer informed the Sub-Committee that on page 123 of the agenda papers, he had found that the Licensing authority had agreed a number of events days with the applicant and this could be found on condition 1.


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

·      It was clear to him that the ten event days that he had applied for included both the major events and the large events.

·      He understood that the major events could hold up to approximately 40,000 patrons and large events could hold up to approximately 20,000 patrons.  Up to six major events could be held.

·      Up to three events would be held on three consecutive days which would allow him to utilise the maximum noise levels. If a fourth consecutive day of events was to be held, then the noise levels would be reduced.

·      He would extend the period to hold events in the following weekend in order to have the full use of noise levels.


Adjournment and Decision

At 8:31pm, 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 defer the decision of the application.

RESOLVED: To defer the determination of the application.


Announcement of Decision

Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to defer the decision of the application.

The Sub-Committee had decided to exercise its power under regulation 26(2) of the hearing regulations to defer its determination by five working days. This meant that the decision would be published on 1 July 2020. All parties would be notified of the outcome and receive a copy of the decision. After the publication of the decision on 1 July 2020, there would be a period in which to appeal of 21 days.


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