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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th December, 2011.

 

Present: Councillors J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker and J.W. Thomas.

 

Also present: Responsible Authorities - Trading Standards Officer, Licensing Officer and South Wales Police Authority. 

 

A copy of the procedure for the hearing had been attached to the agenda, and was available for those present at the meeting.

 

 

(a)       Appointment of Chairman -

 

Councillor J.W. Thomas was elected Chairman for the duration of the hearing.

 

 

(b)       Declarations of Interest -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

(c)        Licensing Act 2003 - Application to Vary a Premises Licence - Wenvoe Arms, 18 Old Port Road, Wenvoe, CF5 6AL -

 

Also present: Mr. N. Phipps, Ms. C. Laing and Mr. C. Teague, Applicants.

 

Interested parties: Ms. S. Owen, Mr. M. Cross and Mr. R. Morris.

 

The Licensing Officer outlined the application to the Sub-Committee and advised that the Applicants requested the variation of the layout and design of the premises to add an area to the beer garden.  There was no alteration to the hours or permissions for licensable activities.  The relevant parts of the application form could be found at Appendix B to the report. 

 

During the consultation period, a number of representations had been received from Interested Parties, and these representations were attached at Appendix E to the report. 

 

In presenting the application to the Sub-Committee, Mr. Phipps stated:

 

-                      The application was to vary the layout of the premises following a change of management. 

-                      A plan of the premises was attached at Appendix B to the application form.

-                      The public house was off-road, and included two external areas for the consumption of alcohol:

·                    hard standing area

·                    lawned area.

-                      To the rear of the premises was the car park.

-                      The new area was proposed to be on the right hand side of the premises on which would be placed tables and chairs.

-                      The application related only to this area.

-                      There had not been much investment in the premises recently, but with the arrival of a new landlord, Brains Brewery had new plans for the premises.

-                      The new landlord lived on the premises.  He was not the licence holder - this was SA Brain and Company Limited.

-                      The Applicants had come to an agreement with the Police, and had almost come to terms with Environmental Health.

 

Mr. Phipps spoke of the letters received from the interested parties which referred to complaints of noise.  Mr. Phipps stated that there may have been merit in these comments in the past, but the new landlord, Mr. Teague, had turned things around.  The essential premise of the Applicants was that with good management came good behaviour.

 

Mr. Teague could demonstrate high standards over the past few months, and Mr. Phipps stated that the residents had begun to use the premises as a community facility. 

 

Mr. Phipps stated that the Application had requested an 11.00pm finish whereas the Police had stated that 10.00pm was acceptable and Environmental Health had requested a 9.00pm finish.  Mr. Phipps stated that the Applicants accepted the suggested 10.00pm finish. 

 

In response to a request by the Police for a Management Plan, Mr. Phipps handed a copy to all present at the meeting. 

 

Mr. Phipps, by way of clarification, stated that the application related to an area that was predominantly the dining area.  This would be the outside feature for the new room and would not be an area for people to smoke.  A 9.00pm finish would not allow people to finish their meals.  10.00pm would be adequate. 

 

Mr. Phipps advised the Sub-Committee that everything proposed by the Applicants would promote the Council’s Licensing Objectives. 

 

Mr. Phipps referred to a wall which had been removed in the past and been replaced by a fence.  Both the Police and Environmental Health had proposed that the wall / fence be put back (this had been done) and that some planting take place. Mr. Phipps advised that the plants had been ordered and that planting could take place tomorrow. 

 

Mr. Phipps introduced Mr. Teague the new Landlord of the Wenvoe Arms.  Mr. Teague had been the Area Manager for a brewing Group, and had worked for 24 years in the licensed trade.  Feedback from the locality had been positive, and Brains could confirm the success of the Wenvoe Arms in that beer sales had increased.  Quiz nights were held regularly in an attempt to make the premises the heart and soul of the community. 

 

Mr. Phipps stated that it would be acceptable if the opening hours of the newly refurbished beer garden were limited to 10.00pm, if the number of tables was limited to those shown on the plan before the Committee, and confirmation of the Management Plan.  In Mr. Phipps’ view this was not an immodest application. 

 

Mr. Teague confirmed Mr. Phipps’ earlier comments. 

 

Mr. Teague had recently resigned from a well paid job working for Henry’s Café Bars.  Mr. Teague had been in the licensing trade all of his life and had also worked for Weatherspoons.

 

The Wenvoe Arms was the pub he wanted to manage.  It had the potential to become part of the Community, and as such Mr. Teague had been invited onto the Village Hall Committee. 

 

Mr. Teague had invested his own savings into the business and did not want to upset the local residents.  The feedback received from residents so far had been positive. 

 

In Mr. Teague’s view, the decked beer garden would compliment the lounge. 

 

The representative of the South Wales Police confirmed that the Applicants had agreed the recommendations of the Police Authority. 

 

The representative of Environmental Health advised that the closure time for the area in question was important as was the management of the area to prevent nuisance. 

 

Environmental Health were well aware that the area in question had been used, but not to the extent proposed in the application. 

 

The area was exposed, i.e. very open which gave concerns for the residents. 

 

Having read the Management Plan, the representative of Environmental Health expressed the view that the document was a bit “thin” but could be worked on.  As an example, Operating Plan No. 2 stated “the area is to be monitored by floor staff on a regular basis whilst the area is in use”.  The question was asked what does “regular basis” mean - we needed a definition. 

 

Should staff patrol the area, how would noisy / disruptive behaviour be dealt with, and would these people be asked to leave?

 

Ms. S. Owen, Interested Party, stated that she found that trouble occurred after closing times. 

 

In response, Mr. Teague stated that other residents had asked him what he had done as the area was much quieter these days.  Mr. Teague stated that there had been many managers at the Wenvoe Arms over the past 12 months whereas now it was his business to run the premises.  He worked long hours, and the last thing he wanted was trouble. 

 

The Chairman invited the Interested Parties to speak.

 

Mr. M. Cross stated that whilst the landlord had invested in the business, Mr. Cross had invested in his home.  Mr. Cross circulated photographs which demonstrated how things had been at the premises in that a substantial fence (solid) provided privacy to his house.  This fence was being replaced by a lower version which was not solid.

 

Furthermore,

 

-                      The Operating Plan only dealt with the procedure - it did not deal with people.

-                      How would the landlord control parents and children?

-                      Whilst Mr. Cross was in favour of the Wenvoe Arms being upgraded and becoming part of the community, there were already two public areas.  Mr. Cross’ concern was not so much with what would happen now, but what would happen during the spring and summer.  People would want to sit outside.

-                      A neighbour had complained in the past about noise.

-                      Mr. Cross would soon have to get out of bed at 5.00am on a regular basis.  This meant that he would want to go to bed earlier. 

 

Ms. Owen advised that her bedroom was at the front of the house and would be overlooked by the area in question.  Ms. Owen did not want to feel that she was in a position of having to draw blinds.

 

Ms. Owen was pleased at the upgrade of the pub, but felt that privacy was an issue.

 

Ms. Owen stated that she would welcome the restoration of the wall, together with some greenery.  She expressed the view that this would also increase child safety.

 

Mr. R. Morris stated that he had lived in the village for 10 years, and was pleased with the upgrade of the Wenvoe Arms. 

 

Difficulties would appear when the weather improved and he would be unable to vent the bedrooms.  Even with the windows shut, noise would still be heard.  Noise pollution was his main issue.

 

Regarding the Management Plan, Mr. Morris asked what would stop people coming back into the beer garden after it had been closed?

 

The Police representative agreed that the Management Plan needed fine tuning, in particular how to isolate the area. 

 

There being no further questions, the Chair asked the parties to sum up. 

 

Mr. Phipps, in referring to the privacy of residents, stated that the Applicants had a commitment to the residents’ privacy.  As such, the leylandi plants had been ordered.

 

Mr. Phipps did point out that despite the earlier comments of the Interested Parties, he gave an assurance that the current fence was the same height as the original fence.  However, the original fence was overgrown which made it seem higher. 

 

Furthermore,

 

-                      the Applicants were not in the business to be awkward

-                      the area in question was a fairly marginalised area

-                      regarding the comments concerning children running around - this was not a valid ground for refusal

-                      the management of the decked area would be for management to deal with

-                      with good management comes good conduct

-                      there was anecdotal evidence that the area was quieter now than it had been recently

-                      Mr. Phipps offered to install a lockable gate to the decked beer garden.  He stated that the Applicants could not give a cast iron guarantee that it would be locked every night, but the Applicants would do their best.

-                      Mr. Phipps stated that he knew the Operating Plan was not perfect, and offered to consult on its contents with the Police and residents.  Until this process was completed, the area in question would not be used.

-                      Mr. Phipps gave a commitment to do things properly.  The Applicants were not here today to haggle and whatever was wanted of them was what they would agree to do.

-                      the Applicants accepted the 10.00pm requirement for closing

-                      the Applicants accepted the conditions suggested by Environmental Health and the Police.

 

The Chair asked Mr. Phipps if he was happy to transpose the green areas (smoking areas) on the plan, and Mr. Phipps replied in the affirmative. 

 

There being no further questions, the Members of the Sub-Committee then retired to consider the matter in private.

 

Having considered the application for variation of the licence and the representations of the Police, Environmental health Officers and the Interested Parties, and having considered the DCMS Guidance, the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 and the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, particularly Sections 9.6 and 9.7, the Sub-Committee

 

RESOLVED - To grant the application with a terminal hour of 10.00pm with the following conditions applying:

 

(1)       The boundary with the road be suitably screened.

 

(2)       The number of tables be restricted to six as shown in the Applicants’ Plan.

 

(3)       Entry to the area when closed to the public will be restricted by a lockable gate.

 

(4)       Signage will be displayed within the terrace area to indicate clearly the closure time.  The signs will be worded as follows:

 

This area will close promptly at 10.00pm

 

The Sub-Committee felt that the day to day management was very important to the amenity of neighbouring residents but felt that this was a matter for management and should not be conditional.

 

The Sub-Committee wanted to point out to the Interested Parties that they had considered their representations and felt that with the conditions which had been attached and good management, their concerns should be adequately dealt with.

 

Additionally, the Sub-Committee wanted to point out that should this not be the case, the Interested Parties could call for a review of the Licence.

 

By allowing this application, it did mean that the area would be controlled by conditions which were enforceable.  If it were not licensed, there would be no control over this area by the Licensing Authority.