Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Licensing Sub Committee (ceased to operate 10/04/2017) Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 3rd July, 2013
Time:
10.00 a.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Paul Kirton and Cllr Maurice Perry.
Officers:
J Nertney (LD); P Edwards, S Landles (DNS).
In Attendance:
Applicant: JD Wetherspoon Plc (represented by Ms Hay, Solicitor), Mr Buller, Wetherspoons Area Manager.

Ms Robertson, an Environmental Health student.
Apologies for absence:
None.
Item Description Decision
Public
LSC
13/13
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR
RESOLVED that Councillor Kirton be appointed Chair for this meeting only.
LSC
14/13
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no interests declared.
LSC
15/13
LICENSING ACT 2003
APPLICATION FOR GRANT OF A PREMISE LICENCE
WETHERSPOONOS, UNIT 1, 11-12 WEST PRECINCT, BILLINGHAM

RESOLVED that the application for the premises licence be granted for the following hours:-

• The supply of alcohol
Monday to Wednesday 10:00 to 00:00
Thursday to Saturday 10:00 to 01:00
Sunday 10:00 to 00:00
(with the premises remaining open for 30 minutes after the terminal hour as a wind down / drinking up period)

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve/Boxing Day/Maundy Thursday/Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays

New Years Eve from the end of the permitted hours until the start of the permitted hours on New Years Day


• Late night refreshment
Monday to Wednesday 23:00 to 00:00
Thursday to Saturday 23:00 to 01:00
Sunday 23:00 to 00:00

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve / Boxing Day / Maundy Thursday / Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays

New Years Eve 23:00 until 05:00


• Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday 07:00 to 00:30
Thursday to Saturday 07:00 to 01:30
Sunday 07:00 to 00:30

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve / Boxing Day / Maundy Thursday / Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays / the morning BST commences

New Years Eve from the end of the permitted hours until the start of the permitted hours on New Years Day

Also agreed that conditions should be applied to the licence consistent with the operating schedule and the agreement reached with Cleveland Police which was set out in an e-mail from Nigel Connor of Wetherspoon Plc dated 01 July 2013 and which are detailed above.

In addition to the conditions agreed with Cleveland Police which are detailed above Members also attached the following conditions:-

1. The use of external spaces by customers for the consumption of food and drinks shall be limited from 08:00 to 23:00. There shall be no music played outside, and no use of flood lighting likely to cause a nuisance to local residential properties.

2. The premise holder will use appropriate management controls to reduce the likelihood of customers causing noise disturbance to local residents when vacating the premises. This should include placing at all exits from the premises, in a place where they can be seen and easily read by the public, notices requiring customers to leave the premises and the area quietly. (Note this may also include a reference to vehicles).

3. No bottle bins kept at the premise shall be emptied between 22:00 hours and 08:00 hours.

4. Any supply of alcohol or other drinks for consumption in the external area hatched green must be delivered to the customer by table service.

5. Notices shall be placed in the external area hatched green informing customers that alcohol can only be consumed in that area with food.

6. Notices shall be placed in the external area hatched green informing customers that any alcohol supplied for consumption in the area must be ordered at the bar and that it will be delivered by table service.
10.00 a.m. - 12 noon

Preamble

ItemPreamble
LSC
15/13
Members gave consideration to the report, the application and the two representations which had been received.

Ms Hay stated that Wetherspoons business model focused on real ale and during the year they proposed to have two beer festivals and a cider festival.

The Company had noted regard to the two representations that were received and had written to each of them to try and address their concerns. Ms hay stated that their concerns were mainly focused on the previous problems they experienced with a licensed premise in the locality.

The Company had extensive due diligence and training procedures and always ensured that their premises had a strong management team. Mr Buller, Area Manager, was in attendance at the meeting and he resided in Norton and would have oversight for the premise.

Ms Hay noted that the Police had withdrawn their objection to the application and Wetherspoons had agreed to amend their operating schedule by adding a number of conditions which would be attached to the licence if granted.

Following questions from the Members Ms Hay stated that the premise would intend to open at 7 a.m. as they provided breakfasts and she provided copies of the menus detailing the provision of food at their premises. Ms Hay confirmed that following discussions with Cleveland Police there would be no supplies of alcohol before 10:00 hours.

Members had serious concerns over the use of the external area hatched green as this was an external area remote from the main licensed premise, albeit it was only a short distance away. Ms Hay stated that only customers having a table meal could consume alcohol in that area. Members questioned how that would be policed by the management.

Environmental Health and Cleveland Police had submitted a representation.

Cleveland Police had withdrawn their representation following the applicant agreeing to amend their operating schedule whereby agreed conditions would be attached to the licence should it be granted. These agreed conditions were set out in an e-mail from Nigel Connor of Wetherspoon Plc dated 01 July 2013, namely:-

1. A digital Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV) will be installed and maintained in good working order and be correctly time and date stamped. The system will incorporate sufficient built-in hard-drive capacity to suit the number of cameras installed, whilst complying with Data Protection legislation. CCTV will be capable of providing pictures of evidential quality in all lighting conditions, particularly facial recognition. Cameras will encompass all ingress and egress to the premises, outside areas and all areas where the sale/supply of alcohol occurs. There will be a minimum of 14 days recording and the system will record for 24 hours a day. The system will incorporate a means of transferring images from the hard-drive to a format that can be played back on any desktop computer. The Digital recorder will have the facility to be password protected to prevent unauthorised access, tampering, or deletion of images.

2. There will be at all times a member of staff on duty who is trained in the use of the equipment and upon receipt of a request for footage from a governing body, such as Cleveland Police or any other Responsible Authority, be able to produce the footage within a reasonable time, e.g. 24hrs routine or immediately if urgently required for investigation of serious crime.

3. The premises licence holder will maintain an incident reporting system at the premises at all times. Such a system will detail in brief any incident of disorder/injury/ejection/drug misuse and /or seizure and will include the date and time of the incident. Relevant entries shall be produced to an authorised officer of the Police or Licensing Authority on request.

4. The DPS and all staff will ensure that no open vessels are taken off the premises by customers except for consumption in any outside area under the control of the premises licence holder.

5. A receptacle disposal bin will be sited adjacent to the main access / egress door to facilitate vessel disposal.

6. A ‘Challenge 21' policy will be implemented which requires individuals who appear to the seller to be under the age of 21 to produce on request acceptable ID to prove they are 18 or above before they are served alcohol. There shall be notices displayed at all points of sale and at all entrances and exits to inform customers and remind staff that the premises is operating a ‘Challenge 21' policy.

7. All staff, with the exception of kitchen staff, will receive training in the law governing the sale of alcohol to under age persons, those seeking to purchase alcohol on behalf of under 18s(proxy sales) and those appearing to be under the influence of alcohol and the relevant company policies including Challenge 21 to address those areas. Refresher training will take place twice yearly.

8. Training records will maintained during the employment of the staff member and made available to an authorised officer of the Police or Licensing Authority on request.

9. There will be a minimum of two notices displayed on the premise indicating that the sale of alcohol to those under the age of 18 is illegal and that those adults who buy alcohol for immediate disposal to those under age the age of 18 are committing an offence.

10. A written drugs policy to the satisfaction of Cleveland police must be maintained at the premises.

11. On any day the premises remain open for the sale of alcohol after midnight, a minimum of two SIA registered door supervisors will be employed at the premises from 20.00 hrs. until close.

12. A visible partition (rope barrier not acceptable) must border the external areas onto the public footpath to define the area and deter any drinks from being removed. This area must only have one entry / egress point.

13. No alcohol shall be consumed in the remote external area hatched green on the approved premises licence plan except with food.

14. There shall be no use of any external customer area for the consumption of food and drink after 2300.

Mrs Landles from Environmental Health was in attendance and indicated that she had agreed a number of conditions which the applicant was in agreement with and which would be attached to the licence, if granted.

1. The use of external spaces by customers for the consumption of food and alcohol shall be limited from 08:00 to 23:00. There shall be no music played outside, and no use of flood lighting likely to cause a nuisance to local residential properties.

2. The premises shall provide at or near the exits, sufficient waste bins to enable the disposal of litter and smoking paraphernalia etc.

3. The premise holder will use appropriate management controls to reduce the likelihood of customers causing noise disturbance to local residents when vacating the premises. This should include placing at all exits from the premises, in a place where they can be seen and easily read by the public, notices requiring customers to leave the premises and the area quietly. (Note this may also include a reference to vehicles).

4. Deliveries to the premises and the disposal of refuse such as bottles from the premises shall be carried out at a time when it is not likely to cause a disturbance to residents in the vicinity of the premises.

5. The public area immediately surrounding the premises shall be cleared of waste, bottles and drinking vessels, litter and smoking paraphernalia etc. in connection with the operation of the premise at the end of trading on each day.

6. On the closing of the premises the Designated Premises Supervisor or a member of staff will take all reasonable steps to encourage customers to disperse quickly and not to congregate outside the premises.

7. The Designated Premises Supervisor shall liaise with local residents to try and resolve any reasonable concerns regarding the use of the premises.

As the two persons who had made a representation were not in attendance Members had regard to their written representations.

The two representations raised a number of issues including:-

• Concerns over the application as residents previously experienced problems with the Astronaut public house;

• Incidents of anti social behaviour caused by customers of the Astronaut;

• The premise is situated close to a residential area;

• Noise nuisance caused by customers arriving and departing in taxis and mini buses;

• Concern that the premise will cause nuisance if it opens after 23:00;

• Concern that if the premise is granted a late licence customers will migrate to the premise after 23:00

All parties were given an opportunity to sum up with the applicant having the final submission.

Members noted that the application before them was for a new premises licence requesting the supply of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises.

The applicant had agreed conditions to be attached to their operating schedule and Cleveland Police had withdrawn their representation. Members noted that as the Police had withdrawn their representation it followed that they had no concerns over the premise undermining the crime and disorder objective.

Members noted that the two persons who had made a representation were not in attendance and therefore had regard to their written representations. It was noted that the main concern expressed by both persons was that this application would replicate problems and issues that they experienced from the Astronaut public house. Members were satisfied that they had to consider the application on its own merits and could not take into consideration issues which residents experienced with other public houses in the vicinity. Members were satisfied from the evidence they had heard that the applicant was a responsible operator with appropriate due diligence systems in place and as such Members were satisfied that if granted the premise would not undermine the licensing objectives.

Members had no evidence before them that demonstrated the licensing objectives would be undermined if the licence was issued. Members were mindful of the relevant case law. Members had not been provided with any statistics detailing the level of anti social behaviour in the vicinity and in any event as this was a new application existing problems could not be to the detriment of the applicant.

The Licensing Sub Committee were legally obliged to consider the application in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 and irrelevant issues could not form part of their decision making and had to be disregarded.

After giving consideration to all of the evidence and representations made both in writing and orally to grant the application for the premises licence for the following hours:-

• The supply of alcohol
Monday to Wednesday 10:00 to 00:00
Thursday to Saturday 10:00 to 01:00
Sunday 10:00 to 00:00
(with the premises remaining open for 30 minutes after the terminal hour as a wind down / drinking up period)

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve/Boxing Day/Maundy Thursday/Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays

New Years Eve from the end of the permitted hours until the start of the permitted hours on New Years Day


• Late night refreshment
Monday to Wednesday 23:00 to 00:00
Thursday to Saturday 23:00 to 01:00
Sunday 23:00 to 00:00

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve / Boxing Day / Maundy Thursday / Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays

New Years Eve 23:00 until 05:00


• Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday 07:00 to 00:30
Thursday to Saturday 07:00 to 01:30
Sunday 07:00 to 00:30

An additional terminal hour is permitted for Christmas Eve / Boxing Day / Maundy Thursday / Sundays preceding Bank Holiday Mondays / the morning BST commences

New Years Eve from the end of the permitted hours until the start of the permitted hours on New Years Day

Members also agreed that conditions should be applied to the licence consistent with the operating schedule and the agreement reached with Cleveland Police which was set out in an e-mail from Nigel Connor of Wetherspoon Plc dated 01 July 2013 and which are detailed above.

Members noted that the applicant had also agreed conditions with Environmental Health. Members had been provided with a schedule of 7 conditions. Members had expressed the view that they were not minded to attach some of the agreed conditions as they did not feel they were sufficiently precise and therefore may be unenforceable. Members noted that in any event the proposed conditions agreed with Environmental Health by the applicant to Environmental Health would be noted as assurances from the applicant as to how they intended to operate and as such would be minuted in the decision and the minutes of this meeting.

Members were concerned at the potential for the licensing objectives to be undermined with the operation of the split external licensed areas i.e. the green hatched area on the plan. It was noted that the area hatched green could only be reached by leaving the premise and crossing an area of public highway not within the control of the applicant. Members were of the view that customers of the premise should not be allowed to carry their own drinks from the premise to the green hatched area. It was noted that the green hatched area would only be used for the provision of food and that any person who wished to drink alcohol in that area could only do so if they were eating a table meal. With that in mind Members were of the view that the supply of drinks for consumption in that area must be by table service only and that the premise would have to introduce a system to ensure compliance with that condition. Members considered whether such a system should be restricted to the supply of alcoholic drinks only. Members were of the view that their concerns were based on the issue of customers leaving the main premise with their own drinks which could be in bottles or glasses and therefore the condition should apply to the supply of all drinks for consumption in the green hatched area. In the opinion of Members it would be perverse to restrict the operation of such a system to alcoholic drinks only. If the premise was required to provide table service for the green hatched area then that should apply to all drinks which would be supplied for consumption in that area.

In addition to the conditions agreed with Cleveland Police which are detailed above Members also attached six additional conditions:-

Members wished to remind the two persons who had made a representation that should there be any crime and disorder, public nuisance or other relevant issues linked to this premise in the future then these should be raised firstly with the premise and also with the responsible authorities such as Cleveland Police, the Council's Environmental Health Section or Licensing Section. The Licensing Act 2003 provided legal routes for persons to ask for a review of the premises licence should the premise cause problems linked to the four licensing objectives. Applications for a review would have to be supported by evidence and it was therefore in the best interests of residents to report any matters of concern linked to this premise to the appropriate authorities.

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