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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 Kelly and Plancey were present as observers for training purposes and would not have any part in the decision-making process.

 

No members had any interests to declare.

 

The Licensing Officer confirmed that none of the representations had been withdrawn.

 

 

2.

Report of Licensing Officer pdf icon PDF 314 KB

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer presented his report, noting that, although the premises were open from 5 am, the application was for sales of alcohol from 7 am until the premises closed at 11 pm.  The applicant had confirmed that CCTV footage would be kept for 31 days and be made available to the Police and Licensing authorities on request.  Four representations against the application had been received from members of the public, relating to the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder, preventing public nuisance and protecting children from harm.  There had been objection to the number of premises selling alcohol in the area, but this could not be considered because the Council did not have a saturation policy.  No objections had been received from the responsible authorities.  The dark area on the location plan at page 35 of the bundle indicated the application premises, while the outlined area opposite indicated the properties of the objectors.  The Licensing Officer outlined the options available to the Sub-Committee when deciding the application and reminded them that the outcome needed to accord with the four licensing objectives, and the decision needed to be evidence based and proportionate. 

 

 

3.

Representations Against the Application

Minutes:

Mr Gowda stated that there were five shops within a one-mile radius of the main High Street, of which two were already licensed to sell alcohol.  He believed that alcohol sales were being promoted too much in the area and he had concerns for children attracted by the sweets sold by the post office.  There would be more opportunities for public nuisance because the balance in the small village would be changed. 

 

Mr Tekkanat explained that he lived above one of the shops opposite the application premises, and had been a local resident for 15 years.  There were many young children in the small community and there had been problems of noise, and vandalism of the bus stop but he did not know if the teenagers involved had consumed alcohol.  He had witnessed young people trying to buy alcohol via ordinary customers, sometimes they intimidated older people.  There would be more alcohol sold because an extra outlet would create competition and drive prices down.  Increased noise and crime would drive down house prices.  He had a young child and did not want them to witness antisocial behaviour.  He was concerned that the applicant would not be able to fend off youngsters trying to buy alcohol and creating nuisance hanging around the shops.

 

Mrs Gowda agreed with Mr Tekkanat, noting that the community was small and already had two shops selling alcohol.  The government was cutting cigarette sales for health reasons, and alcohol consumption was also a health issue.

 

 

4.

Representations in Favour of the Application

Minutes:

Mr Balakumar explained that he was running the post office on a commission basis and needed additional business in order to survive.  His main business of post office and newsagency had been hit by the internet and he needed a licence in order to generate additional income.  Both he and his wife had a personal licence.

 

Mrs Balakumar confirmed that post office business had declined.  There had been an objection stating that the application had not been published in a local paper, but it had been.  Greetings cards, their main business, were being sold at other local shops.  They only wanted to sell a limited range of alcohol.  Children from the local schools, which were infant and primary, were always accompanied by a guardian.  A ‘Challenge 25’ policy would be operated to ensure no under-18 sales.  The Balakumars had been in business for 16 years and had no trouble; they knew the community well, and were capable of running an off licence.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, Mr Balakumar explained that currently the business opened at 5 am and closed at 6 or 7 pm.  An 11 pm close had been applied for with a view to extending opening hours in the future.  He had two part-time members of staff, aged 30 and 45. 

 

 

5.

Questions

Minutes:

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

 

The Licensing Officer explained to Mr Gowda that his first letter of objection had been rejected because it related to business competition and the Council did not have a saturation policy in this respect. 

 

Mr Tekkanat explained that he used to own Mr Gowda’s shop and so knew what was involved.  This was why he was worried about alcohol sales to children and the intimidation of older people.

 

Mr Balakumar confirmed that the part time members of his staff had been fully trained with regard to alcohol sales.

 

 

6.

Closing Statements

Minutes:

Mr Tekkanat asked the Council to consider whether the application would fuel competition.  He realised that there was no competition policy, but it would increase alcohol sales through lower prices, leading to noise, disruptive behaviour, and crime.  There had been intimidation of older people, this had died down but would come back because children pushed boundaries. 

 

Mr Gowda acknowledged that the post office was being run on a commission basis, but his own shop was his livelihood, having another outlet for alcohol would reduce prices and promote more consumption.  His business rates were higher because of the size of his shop; groceries were sold only as convenience items, his main business was drinks.  He did not want to promote alcohol sales but would have to in order to survive. 

 

Mr Balakumar said that he did not wish to misuse or increase anything.

 

Mrs Balakumar said that she and her husband both had personal licences and were fit enough to run an off licence business.  She offered to provide testaments in this respect.

 

The Licensing Officer outlined the options available to the Panel with regard to the determination of the application in the light of the representations received and evidence heard.

 

 

7.

Determination

Minutes:

At 10.42 am the Panel adjourned to deliberate.

 

At 11.12 am the Panel returned to the Chamber and the other parties were recalled.

 

The Chairman explained that the Sub-Committee was minded to approve the application and was considering conditions in respect of: 

 

·         CCTV provision;

·         staff training;

·         no alcohol sales to intoxicated customers;

·         provision of a sign asking customers to respect neighbours when leaving the premises;

·         provision of a sign, barrier or screen over the alcohol on display at those times when it was not available for purchase;

·         ensuring that alcohol displays were kept separate from other goods such as soft drinks, that were attractive to children.

 

He asked all parties present to confirm that they would be content to have such conditions on the licence.

 

Mr Tekkanat said that, if a licence was to be granted, he would prefer it to have the conditions.

 

Mrs Balakumar explained that there would be a separate fridge for chilled alcoholic drinks, which was lockable; the other alcohol for sale would be behind the counter.  Mrs Balakumar marked these areas on a copy of the application plan of the premises, which is filed with the record of this hearing.

 

The applicants confirmed that conditions as outlined above would be acceptable.

 

The Licensing officer advised the panel that the condition for no sales to persons who are intoxicated was already written into the legislation and so did not need to be a condition.

 

There were no other comments.

 

At 11.28 am the Sub-Committee retired to finalise the conditions, returning to the Chamber at 11.41 am.

 

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 following conditions:

 

  • The installation of a CCTV system to monitor entrances, exits and other parts of the premises, to be registered with the ICO.  CCTV images to be kept for a minimum of 31 days and made available to the responsible authorities on request;

 

  • Staff to be trained in all aspects of the Licensing Act 2003;

 

  • No sales of alcohol to be made to intoxicated persons;

 

  • Internal and external lighting to be fixed to promote public safety.  Any lighting on or outside the premises to be positioned and screened in such a way as not to cause disturbance to nearby residents;

 

  • A sign to be displayed adjacent to the exit asking customers to consider neighbours when leaving the premises;

 

  • A sign to be put in the areas where alcohol is displayed, stating that alcohol cannot be sold before 7 am;

 

  • No alcohol to be displayed for sale except in the areas marked on the (attached) plan of the premises;

 

  • The operation of a ‘Challenge 25’ policy to prevent the purchase of alcohol by those aged under 18.

 

Reasons for decision

 

Having considered the representations received, the additional conditions were imposed in the interest of preventing public nuisance, the prevention of crime and disorder, and the protection of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

Appendix A - Decision Notice pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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