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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Introduction

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Panel and outlined the procedure to be followed.  He explained that Councillors Ash, Davis and Plancey were present as observers and would not have any part in the decision-making process.

 

No members had any interests to declare.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that none of the representations had been withdrawn. One member of the public making representation had emailed to say she was unable to attend.

 

 

2.

Report of Licensing Officer pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Minutes:

The Senior Licensing Officer presented her report, noting that the hours initially applied for had been reduced by the applicant, and outlining the measures to be taken by the applicant in order to meet the licensing objectives as per the proposed conditions set out on pages 20-21 of the hearing papers.  Several objections in respect of public nuisance had been received outlining concerns with regard to late night noise, parking problems, drunkenness and rowdy behaviour, as per pages 27-38 of the hearing papers. A map showing the location of the premises and the properties of those making representation was provided at page 39, and photographs of the area had been provided to all parties prior to the start of the hearing. A copy of the photographs is filed with the record of this meeting.

 

In response to questions from a resident and a member of the Panel, the Senior Licensing Officer explained that:

 

·         None of the responsible authorities had made a representation in respect of this application;

 

·         The Environmental Health team had received reports of noise nuisance in respect of the premises in October 2013 and August 2010.  There had been none since.

 

In response to the above, Ms Howard, owner of the premises, clarified that she had bought the premises in December 2011.

 

C Davis, local resident, commented that she had not realised it was necessary to ring the Environmental Health team to report nuisance – she had been told to put it in writing. She had not realised until recently, having spoken to the police, that each call was logged.

 

In response, the Senior Licensing Officer explained that the council’s Environmental Health team operated a 24 hour call service; there was always an Environmental Health officer on duty to respond to calls outside office hours. Consequently, Environmental Health officers were aware of noise-sensitive premises in Hertsmere.

 

 

3.

Representations against the Application

Minutes:

S Tahzib, local resident, said that, when there was a party to 1 am, noise continued until 3 – 4 am, making it impossible to sleep until 4 am, which was unreasonable;

 

N Tahzib, local resident, said that incidents might or might not have been reported, but this did not mean that there was no disturbance.  The business had started as a dance, yoga and pilates studio, which had been fine.  However it had now gone in a new direction, and the public events notices were not noticed by the elderly local residents, whose ages ranged from mid-70s to 90s.  These residents needed help with their daily existence, and it was unreasonable to have a business of this type so close to their residences.  The nuisance was unbearable, like a drinking club; people who had invested long term in a quiet area were now suddenly next to a place that had transformed their lives (for the worse).  The residents had been terrified by drunken behaviour, vomiting and damaged cars.  The Temporary Event Notices (TENs) at the premises had not been conducted satisfactorily.  The premises, next to a graveyard, was an unsuitable location for such events. The cobbled area car park, designated to Church Walk residents, had been misused by patrons of the business.  Efforts made by the applicant to police the parking had not been successful.  Access was needed at all times for emergency services; at closing times access was obstructed by taxis until 4 am.  It was not a suitable place for the intended purpose.

 

 

4.

Representations in favour of the Application

Minutes:

M Howard, premises owner, explained that the church, which had been purchased in 2011, was mainly used for theatre training purposes and after school activities, Monday to Friday during the day until about 8 pm and 9 am to 2.15 pm Saturdays during term time.  ‘The Venue’ was a supplemental activity to the dance school that provided for selected private events such as weddings and birthday parties for over 21s. These were private events that were never open to the general public.  The venture was a family business, the proceeds of which were needed to help with building maintenance costs as the dance college did not pay enough to meet these.  The licence would be limited to Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights only, and there would be no events on a Friday in term time.  Sunday events were usually parties for young children (ages 3-7).  The events causing issues were on Saturdays only, and these issues had been acknowledged.  There had been problems when first taking over the building, and moves to address parking issues had been met with abuse from residents; since then explaining to patrons that the brick parking area was residents only had been largely successful, however some patrons did not co-operate.  At times, the applicants had found their own parking slots had been taken by others.  For events, a big ‘no parking – residents only’ sign was displayed and manned to prevent unauthorised access.  Events ended at midnight or 1 am, and people leaving were made aware of the problems. Possibly the noise at 3 or 4 am was not caused by use of The Venue but by van unloading after a show elsewhere, three times a year.  The church was well insulated, noise was not as loud as reported, and in future a sound limiter would be used so that actual sound levels could be proved.  The business had no wish to cause people problems.  There had been unpleasant incidents in the past.  The beautiful building, which had always been public when used as a church, had been upgraded with regard to fire safety and monthly checks were done by an outside company.  The Environmental Health department and the police authority had been consulted with regard to events and the DPS had had personal licence training.  The hours applied for had been amended to end at midnight instead of 1 am. After that time, only the event manager and cleaners would be on the premises, and most clearing up was done next day.  The residents of Church Walk had been given opportunities to meet the applicant to discuss their concerns but these had not been fully taken up; those that had attended had appeared to be content with the application. 

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the applicants made the following points:

 

Possible reduction in hours: the hours applied for had already been reduced to a 12 midnight event finish.  Wedding organisers regularly asked for a 2 am or 3 am finish, this was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Questions

Minutes:

Further questioning between the parties present took place and answers were given as follows:

 

The applicant explained that the opening hours on Friday and Saturday had to appear as 9 am on the licence because the way the licence was written could not be adjusted (the premises would be open for other purposes).  Saturday events would not start until 7 pm.  The end time had to be half an hour after the end of the event; events did not end as late as 4 am.  Any disturbance at that hour might have been caused by scenery being returned to the church, which occasionally had to happen at night.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer reported that:

 

·                of the TEN applications in 2015, two had been for 2 am finishes (March and July) - all the others had ended at 1 am, 11.30 pm or 10.45 pm.  In 2014 there had been finishes at 2 am (August) 3 am (October), 1.30 am, 1 am and 12 midnight;

 

·                at another licensed premises in Hertsmere adjacent to sheltered accommodation that experienced similar problems with parking, regular meetings between management and residents appeared to have helped resolve the situation;

 

·                only the police authority or the Environmental Health authority, who automatically received copies of TEN applications, could object to a TEN application.  If either authority had concerns that could not be addressed by the applicant, the application would progress to a licensing sub-committee hearing if it was a standard TEN application; if it was a late TEN application, the event could not go ahead.

 

·                The Venue had had 19 TEN events so far in 2015 out of a total of 24 that could be applied for.

 

 

6.

Closing Statements

Minutes:

 

S Tahzib, local resident, said that, when events were finishing, doors banged as she tried to sleep.  Each piece of equipment meant a bang.  If the meeting was up to 11 pm there should not be anyone in the car park at 4 am.

 

N Tahzib, local resident, said that the objectives of public safety and prevention of public nuisance would not be supported if the licence was granted.  Residents’ homes were at a distance of only 20 feet.  People hung around after events, urinating and vomiting; there were lots of nooks and crannies as the property was an unusual one.  The noise could go on for hours.

 

J Hudson, applicant, said that every time a function ended, the lights went up and patrons were invited to stay in the building, and 99% of them did, to await their cabs etc.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer outlined the options available to the Panel with regard to the determination of the application, noting that during the discussion the applicant had agreed to install a noise limiter and a temporary car park barrier on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for events.

 

 

7.

Determination

Minutes:

At 3.30 pm the Panel adjourned to deliberate.

 

At 4.27 pm the Panel returned to the Chamber and the other parties were recalled.

 

The Chairman advised that, having regard to the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the Guidance issued by the Secretary of State, the Panel had decided to grant the licence subject to:

 

·           the amendment of the hours of operation on Fridays and Saturdays as follows: 

 

  • Recorded music and the supply of alcohol to finish at 23.30
  • Hours premises are open to the public to end at 00:00 (12 midnight);

 

·           New Year’s Eve parties to end at 01:00 (closing at 01:30);

 

·           the following additional conditions:

 

  • that an incident log be kept of complaints received from members of the public, and that this be available for inspection by the Licensing Authority on request;

 

  • the installation of a sound limiter;

 

  • the installation of internal double glazing to all single glazed external windows in those parts of the premises where alcohol is supplied and recorded music may be played;

 

  • that a temporary barrier to restrict access to the car park be manned during events, to prevent unauthorised use of the car park.

 

Reasons for decision

 

Following evidence of disturbance experienced by residents as a result of TENs applications, the reduced hours and additional conditions were imposed in the interest of preventing public nuisance.

 

 

Appendix A - Decision Notice pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Appendix A: Decision Notice