|Members were required to determine an application for variation to Billingham Trade Union Club, Pentland Avenue, Billingham, Stockton-On-Tees. |
Members noted that the application was for a variation to the existing Club Premise Certificate as follows:-
- To extend the terminal hour for live music and recorded music Monday to Sunday from 11:00pm until 12 Midnight.
- To extend the terminal hour for Supply of Alcohol On and Off the premises on Sundays from 11:00pm until Midnight.
- To extend the terminal hour that the Club is open to Members and Guests from 11:00pm until Midnight.
No representation had been received from the local Police Authority.
Following discussions with Environmental Health the applicant had agreed to conditions aimed at the prevention of public nuisance being attached to the licence. Environmental Health therefore had no objection to the application based on the agreed conditions. A copy of the agreed conditions was contained within the main report.
The Environmental Health Officer submitted that some residents did not appreciate that Environmental Health would respond to complaints of noise nuisance, make site visits and investigate accordingly. In relation to this premise, Environmental Health had received only one complaint which had been addressed. In light of the representations made at the hearing, the Environmental Health Officer submitted that the proposed conditions would be closely monitored for compliance going forward.
Five representations had been received from interested parties living within the vicinity of the premise. Three of the interested parties were represented by Cllr Woodhouse and two, Mr Curnow and Mr Fitzhugh were in attendance at the meeting and were given the opportunity to make representation.
The Applicant Mr George Smith, Club Secretary and Mr James Corsar, Club President were in attendance at the meeting and were given the opportunity to make representation.
Mr Smith, on behalf of the Club, submitted that the reason for the application centred upon the financial position of the Club and its future. The Club was trying to attract new members/guests but the current terminal hour on a Sunday in relation to the supply of alcohol and recorded/live music was resulting in an estimated loss of revenue of nearly £10,000 per annum.
Mr Smith submitted that the Club had a good working relationship with the Police and would always assist with any enquiries when required to do so. Mr Smith commented that staff did check notice levels and were often blamed for noise nuisance which was totally unconnected to the Club. Mr Smith gave the example of an occasion when a young male, working on a car close to Kennedy Gardens, was witnessed playing the car radio very loudly.
Mr Smith went on to add that there were approximately seven public houses in Billingham Town Centre. In consequence, members of the public did walk past/through Pendle Crescent and Pentland Avenue and were inevitably under the influence of alcohol. Mr Smith again submitted that the Club was unfairly blamed for noise disturbance and crime and disorder unconnected to the Club, and over which the Club had no control. Further examples given included the noise generated from Billingham Forum, and the behaviour of members of the public passing properties and acting in anti-social manner.
Mr Smith accepted that, on occasion, the Club's windows and/or doors may have inadvertently been left open. As soon as this was noticed by staff, they were immediately closed.
Mr Smith explained that the Club displayed notices within the premises advising members/guests to be considerate when leaving the premise; and Mr Corsar added that a live band was only hired on a Friday evening.
Cllr Woodhouse who was representing a number of residents referred to the various representations that had been made:-
Cllr Woodhouse explained that an objection centred around the noise nuisance emanating from open windows and doors on the premise.
That a resident had also been threatened when confronting a member of the public about their behaviour.
A male had been caught urinating against a residents fence, when the resident confronted the man he subsequently exposed himself to the resident.
Cllr Woodhouse gave examples from a resident of incidents of fighting, shouting, abusive language and littering on Pendle Crescent. The resident believed that his road was used by patrons of the Club as a walk through'.
Cllr Woodhouse submitted that the majority of residents within the vicinity, particularly Kennedy Gardens, were elderly, and had not lodged a representation as they found the process too difficult. It appeared that they had been informed that they needed to come into Stockton Town Centre to obtain the relevant forms.
Mr Fitzhugh, a resident of Kennedy Gardens, made representations on his own behalf. Mr Fitzhugh stated that, although the music may stop at 23:00 hours, residents were faced with noise nuisance caused by patrons leaving the premises well after 00:00.
Mr Curnow, also a resident of Kennedy Gardens, made representations on his own behalf. Mr Curnow described how he had resided in Kennedy Gardens with his wife since 2006. The noise disturbance generated by the music, particularly the noticeable bass beat, generally lasted until 23:00. However, the noise disturbance continued up until about midnight due to bands entering and leaving the premise loading their equipment. Mr Curnow submitted that the problem was particularly prevalent during the summer months when the Club's doors and windows are open.
The interested parties were fearful that the proposed extension to the hours for the supply of alcohol and live/recorded music on a Sunday would compound the existing problems.
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 Council's Licensing Policy.
The Committee gave weight to the fact that the residents' concerns were mainly based on fears of what might happen if the proposed variation took effect. There was no evidence that such fears would materialise, or that they could be linked to the Applicant's premise.
The Committee also gave weight to the fact that there had been no representations from the Police. Environmental Health had only received one complaint at the date of the hearing which had been investigated and addressed. The Club had also shown a willingness to agree to additional conditions to their Club Premises Certificate to minimise any noise nuisance to residents.
The Committee also gave weight to the fact that it was the Applicant's interests to build and maintain good relations with residents and responsible bodies, and to adhere to the conditions of the Club Premises Certificate.
After carefully considering the written and oral evidence in relation to the application, the Committee resolved:-
- To extend the terminal hour for supply of alcohol on/off premises from 23:00 to 00:00 on Sundays.
- To extend the terminal hour that the Club is open to members/guests from 23:00 to 00:00 on Sundays.
- To extend the terminal hour for live music and recorded music, Monday to Sunday from 23:00 to 00:00.
Should there be any nuisance or other relevant issues in the future, the Committee would encourage residents to raise these with Billingham Trade Union Social Club initially.
Further and/or alternatively, residents may report issues to the Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Team 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 provided 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.