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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1WA

Contact: Allan Siao Ming Witherick  0208 207 7550

Items
No. Item

1.

Introduction

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Panel and outlined the procedure to be followed.  He explained that Councillor Newmark was present as an observer for training purposes and would not have any part in the decision-making process.  There was no objection to this from any of the parties present.

 

No members had any interests to declare.

 

The Licensing Officer confirmed that none of the representations had been withdrawn.

2.

Report of the Licensing Officer

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer presented their report, noting that, although the premises were open from 06:00, the application had been amended to restrict the sale of alcohol from 08:00 until the premises closed at 23:00.  This included three additional conditions to be undertaken as a result and was covered in the report.

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 objections on commercial grounds 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.

 

Evidence of the applicants Designated Premises Supervisor personal licence, issued by Harrow Council, had been provided.

 

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.

 

 

The applicant reported that they had submitted additional papers prior to the hearing which had not been dissemination by Democratic Services.  It was their understanding that no acceptance had to be provided by other parties prior to the meeting to allow their circulation.

 

A brief adjournment was taken so that the additional papers could be considered by the parties.

 

The Head of Legal Services stated that, having regard to Section 18 of the Act the additional papers had been received by the offices prior to the meeting and the applicant had argued that this was additional information as opposed to new Representations.

 

The Chairman asked whether there were any objections from those present.

 

Mr Gattas raised the concern that not all of the objectors had received the letters presented and that, as there was no evidence presented to support the assertion that Hertfordshire Constabulary had not raised any issues this statement should be disregarded.  However, there was no objection to the additional information forming part of the considerations.

 

The Chairman accepted the additional papers for consideration by the Licensing Sub-Committee Hearing.

3.

Representations against the Application

Minutes:

Mr Gattas of Gattas Denfield Solicitors raised concerns on behalf of his client, Mr P Patel of Bushey Stores trading as Londis, about anti-social behaviour in the area and that the increase in licensed premises in the parade would only inflate the issue.

He was concerned that the petition which had been signed by local people had not been included with the papers for consideration.

 

Officers responded that the petition had been included in the papers.  They stated that the first ground for the petition with regards to “the existing outlets adequately serving the requirements of the designated affected area” should be disregarded as this was not a licensing issue.

 

Mr Gattas continued and raised concerns that whilst the applicant had experience of selling alcohol this was different to running a business and the potential pressures he would be placed under in particular by young people trying to purchase alcohol.

 

Mr Gattas noted that the CCTV was up and running, however he could find no record of registration with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and that failure to do so was a criminal offence.

 

Mr Altman of Joshua Simons & Associates representing the applicant responded that this was not a licensing issue.

 

Mr Gattas reported that one of the signatories to the petition had raised a concern that the local pubs closed earlier than the proposed timings and thus the premises would be the only place selling alcohol locally.

 

The Licensing Officer noted that the current licensed premises at the shopping parade already had hours which extended to 23:00 on a week day; however the opening hours were a matter for the individual businesses.

 

Ms Harvey-Smith of Betty & Dolly’s Salon stated that she had been in business for her fifth year but wouldn’t go down the road after 21:00 due to the atmosphere and felt that an additional off-licence would increase anti-social behaviour and the litter problems in the area.

 

Mr A Patel was a local resident who lived in front of the shop and was concerned as he had already been subject to anti-social behaviour and was worried about the knock on effect of more shops selling alcohol.

 

Mr P Patel (of Albany Close) raised concerns about the hours of operation and that it would increase the number of shops for people to try to get alcohol if turned down.  He raised an additional issue with regards to people on the way home from the pub purchasing alcohol.

 

 

It was noted by the Chairman that if residents already suffered noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour fuelled by alcohol then this could not be attributed to the proposed new licensed premises.  If it was a substantial concern then a review of the existing licenses could be requested.

4.

Representations in favour of the Application

Minutes:

Mr Altman of Joshua Simons & Associates representing the applicant, Mr Chandramouleswaran and they believed that the application was reasonable as measures were being proposed to ensure that the conditions and operational schedule met licensing objectives.

 

Mr Altman noted that the council could not consider the level of need as there is no test for this and no saturation policy in place.

 

His client recognised the concerns raised with regards to anti-social behaviour and crime and disorder but noted that as they do not currently provide alcohol this was not due to their actions.

 

Mr Altman noted that there had been no representations made by either the Safeguarding Board, or any of the nearby schools.

 

The Applicant had worked at a number of businesses selling alcohol previously and has a current personal licence with significant experience.  The Applicant had previously refused sales and recorded this and was fully aware of the implications of selling to underage drinkers.

 

As such it was their belief that this was a fair application and that the conditions put forward are proportionate to provide reassurance.

 

Mr Altman stated that his client is willing to reduce the licensed hours on Sundays to finish earlier at 22:30, in line with the other premises on the shopping parade and would also be willing to use the Challenge 25, rather than the Challenge 21 policy originally proposed.

 

The Chairman queried the proxy purchase policy which was put forward as part of the additional conditions contained in the additional papers which had been circulated.

 

Mr Altman responded that there was a Hertfordshire policy which was quite common.  If a premises was operating a Challenge 25 policy but had seen the potential purchaser engaging in conversations with the young people and were concerned before completing a transaction they would state that it is an offence to supply alcohol to someone under 18.  If the concerns remained they could refuse the sale of alcohol and record it as such.

 

Mr Gattas, representing one of the objectors queried whether the CCTV covered the areas outside of the premises.

 

Mr Altman responded that it did not, and that it would be difficult due to Data Protection and Planning issues as this was a public area.

 

Mr Gattas noted that although the applicant would be able to see through the frontage of the store they would not be able to view the wider area to properly assess the risk of proxy purchases.

He again queried whether the applicant was registered with the ICO for CCTV.

 

Mr Altman repeated that this was not a licensing issue and therefore outside the scope of the hearing and not relevant.

 

Ms Harvey-Smith noted concerns about anti-social behaviour at the local schools.

 

Mr Altman responded that no issue had been raised with regards to this parade or the premises application by the SafeGuarding Board, the schools or the police.

5.

Closing Statements

Minutes:

Mr Gattas stated that his client, Mr P Patel, does not believe that the application should be granted until the applicant can provide evidence that the CCTV is registered with the ICO.

 

Mr Mark Altman on behalf of the Applicant believe that the application is fair and that the conditions they had proposed were adequate and that, having taken in to regards the issues raised they had already proposed a further four conditions.

In addition they had offered to reduce the Sunday opening hours to close by 22:30 if required, in line with the other licenced premises in the parade and to move from a Challenge 21 to a Challenge 25 policy.

They believed that the applicant had extensive experience both from small off licenses and larger retail locations and that this was more than satisfactory although it was not a requirement.

They noted that CCTV was not a licensing matter for consideration.

 

 

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.

They recognised the concerns about anti-social behaviour, litter and its proximity to the location of schools and that these have been addressed by the applicant through the amendment to the age policy.

They noted the concerns with regards to the registration of the CCTV system with the ICO, however the responsibility for enforcement rested with the ICO.

6.

Determination

Minutes:

At 11.22 am the Panel adjourned to deliberate.

 

At 11.45 am 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 were minded to grant the application for a premises licence subject to the imposition of conditions consistent with the operating schedule included in the application and subsequent additions with the reduction in morning trading hours.

That the further additional conditions raised by the applicant also be included:

1.    An age warning prompt included within the cash register.

2.    A proxy purchase policy (to prevent adults purchasing alcohol for children) shall be operated and maintained by the licensee at the premises.

3.    Signage shall be displayed at the entrance, on alcohol displays and at the point of sale warning customers against underage and proxy purchase sales.

4.    Every member of staff who deals with the sale of alcohol shall receive training in the age verification and proxy purchase policies.

 

In addition the following amendments having been proposed by the applicant also be imposed:

  • The Sunday licencing hours are amended to finish at 22:30.
  • The Challenge 21 Policy to be replaced with Challenge 25 Policy.

 

Informative

 

That the CCTV should be registered with the ICO before recording is undertaken.

 

 

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

 

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

 

There were no objections.

 

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 conditions set out above.

 

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 children from harm.

Appendix A: Decision Notice pdf icon PDF 66 KB