|Members were required to determine an application for the grant of a premise licence under the Licensing Act 2003 to which there had been representations from interested parties.|
An application for grant of a premise licence had been received from the Cooperative Group Food Limited in relation to the Co-op, Davenport Road, Yarm.
The applicant had applied for a licence for the following:
Supply of Alcohol Off the premises
Monday to Sunday 07:00 until 23:00
There had been no representations received from responsible authorities.
Representations had been received from eight interested parties living within the vicinity of the premise. The interested parties were not in attendance however the Committee had regard to the written representations that they had made in relation to the application.
A copy of the report and supporting documents had been provided to all persons present and to members of the Committee prior to the meeting.
Mr Arnott, on behalf of the Applicant, submitted that the Applicant was the UKs fifth biggest food retailer operating across the country with nearly 3,000 local, convenience and medium-sized stores.
Members were informed that the Applicant was a respected company with a good reputation. It invested significant time and effort in developing its policies and procedures and ensuring that they were applied consistently across the country. The Applicant employed a Risk Manager in each region to ensure the proper application of the policies/procedures, and the Applicant had a record of good working relations with the Police and Local Authorities.
Mr Arnott explained the stringent training criteria that staff were required to undertake before being authorised to sell age restricted products including alcohol. Members were referred to the detailed training guide submitted as part of the Applicants evidence. Mr Arnott also explained that even experienced staff were required to undertake refresher training twice a year, and if any member of staff failed to meet the requirements, the Applicant applied a lockdown policy to ensure that staff were not permitted to sell age restricted products until the store manager was happy.
Mr Arnott explained that there would be 15 internal and 4 external CCTV cameras installed on the premise. The tills were installed with age prompt software reminding staff of their training, and the tills automatically asked staff to input the perceived age of any person purchasing alcohol products. The Applicant also operated an Age Book and the Challenge 25 Policy. The premise layout was also designed to minimize the risk of theft of alcohol.
Mr Arnott submitted that he had also spoken to PC Johnson, the local police officer who dealt with licensing issues on behalf of Cleveland Police. PC Johnson had confirmed that there were no problems in the area generally, and that, the police had no objection to the application.
Mr Arnott submitted that the proposed hours for the supply of alcohol off premises were consistent with all other Co-Operative stores in the area. Mr Arnott also submitted that it was commercially imperative that the Applicant maintain a good reputation by ensuring the premise was welcoming to customers, and friendly to the community which it served. Mr Arnott submitted that action would be taken if there were any anti-social issues which undermined this.
In the Interested Parties absence, the Committee considered the objections set out in the paperwork.
This included fears of what may happen including:-
the potential for noise nuisance from delivery vehicles and cars parked outside the shop late at night;
the potential for a road traffic accident as a result of increased traffic;
the potential for youths to gather outside the premise, or in the secluded car park, to consume alcohol, engage in criminal activity and/or behave in an antisocial manner.
Mr Arnott expressed doubt about the motives of one interested party, in particular, Mr Somal, who ran a small business in the area trading in same/similar products. Mr Arnott submitted that a commercial threat to existing trade was not a relevant consideration for the Committee. Mr Arnott also questioned the unfounded assumptions made by residents about the use of the car park and the desire of youths to congregate therein. In particular, Mr Arnott pointed out that there was no police record of youths congregating in this area, and the fact that the area would be well-lit and monitored by CCTV, would be a disincentive for youths to congregate. Mr Brown also clarified that the latest deliveries would take place between 4pm and 6pm on an evening so assumptions that there would be noise nuisance during the night were negated.
Members had regard to the written evidence which had been circulated prior to the hearing in addition to the oral evidence given and submissions made at the hearing. The Committee also had regard to the statutory guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 and the Councils Licensing Policy.
The Committee gave weight to the fact that the majority of the residents concerns were based on fears of what might happen. There was no evidence that such fears would materialise, or that they could be casually linked to the Applicants premise. Indeed, the Committee placed great weight on the fact that there had been no representations from the Police and Environmental Health, and that the police considered the area to be good with no problems generally.
The Committee also gave weight to the fact that the Applicant was a reputable organisation and it was the Applicants interests to build and maintain good relations with residents and responsible bodies. In this regard, the Committee recognised the robust training programme, the policies and procedures and risk management processes implemented by the Applicant in ensuring that the licensing objectives were not undermined.
After carefully considering the written and oral evidence in relation to the application, the Committee resolved to grant the application in the terms suggested. The Committee, therefore, resolved:-
To grant the application for the supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises - Monday to Sunday 07:00 to 23:00 hours
Should there be any nuisance or other relevant issues in the future, the Committee would advise that these issues be reported to the Councils Anti-Social Behaviour Team as soon as possible on 01642 607943. This was a 24 hour telephone line, which allowed incidents to be reported as they were happening or as soon as possible thereafter. Alternatively, matters may be reported to Licensing Section on 01642 524802; or Environmental Health on 01642 526575 for general issues or 01642 528034 which is the out of hours number.
Any issues concerning crime and disorder at the premises should be reported to the Police. The Licensing Act 2003 also provideded legal routes for local residents 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.