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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th April, 2013.

 

Present: Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, K.J. Geary and A.G. Powell.

 

Also present: Responsible Authorities – Licensing Officer and South Wales Police.

 

The procedure for the hearing was circulated to those present at the meeting.

 

 

(a)       Appointment of Chairman –

 

Councillor A.G. Powell was elected Chairman for the duration of the hearing.

 

 

(b)       Declarations of Interest –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

(c)        Licensing Act 2003 – Application for the Variation of a Premises Licence – Co-operative Petrol, Weycock Cross, Barry, CF62 7LT –

 

Also present:

Mr. T. Hayes, Counsel for the Co-operative Group Food Ltd.

Mr. D. Wilcock, Store Manager.

 

Following introductions all round, the Chairman welcomed all present to the meeting. 

 

The Licensing Officer then took Members through the application which requested the variation of the hours when the sale of alcohol was permitted from 06:00 to 23:00 Monday to Sunday to 24 hours Monday to Saturday with Sunday hours to be unchanged.  She referred to the representations received in respect of the proposed variation from South Wales Police and Interested Parties, both of which were appended to the report, and to the options available to Members in determining the application.

 

Mr. Hayes then made his submission on behalf of the Applicants.  He commenced by drawing attention to the fact that the Co-operative Group Food Ltd. was the 5th largest retailer within the U.K. and that the store in question was a local convenience store where the sale of alcohol accounted for some 15% of the turnover.  He stated that the Co-operative was acutely aware of their role in the community and would not do anything likely to damage that.  The Co-operative had invested in a number of sophisticated policies and procedures in that respect and Mr. Hayes drew specific attention at this juncture to the Welcome and Citrus Training Guide used by the Group.  In addition, he referred to the fact that each region appointed a Risk Manager to minimise risk and ensure staff were fully trained in the Co-operative’s rigorous policies and practices.  As regards crime prevention, Mr. Hayes stated that the measures in place included 9 internal CCTV cameras, 7 external cameras, 6 anti theft mirrors and 8 prompt tills.  The 24 hours of operation were covered by some 33 staff and that there 5 or 6 Personal Licence holders.  He indicated that he felt the application made commercial sense for local residents and reiterated that there was every incentive for the Co-operative to ensure a trouble-free environment in the locality.  He then referred to the conditions proposed by South Wales Police in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder as shown in Appendix C to the report, commenting that there was no evidence of crime and disorder in the Police’s submission, and that neither Trading Standards nor Environmental Health had raised any concerns.  He further stated that the Police submission contained no objection to the application and merely proposed various conditions, most of which were acceptable to the Applicant.  As regards the residents’ concerns, he commented that those concerns had emanated from 13 households in the area of Pontypridd Road nearest to the store and related rather to the principle of drinking than the extension of hours of sale.  He referred to the sole incident where an under age youth who had been refused alcohol damaging a fence in that area, adding that the Co-operative had apologised for the incident and had repaired the damage.  He indicated that there was nothing to suggest that the increased hours of the sale alcohol would result in wrong doing or criminal activity and suggested that if the residents were made aware of the policies and training ethos promoted by the Co-operative, they might feel reassured.  Mr. Hayes ended his submission by referring to the fact that no objections had been received from residents in Port Road who lived in equally close proximity to the premises as those in Pontypridd Road.

 

In response to a question from the Chairman as to whether the Co-operative subscribed to the Portman Code (a Code supported throughout the industry which sought to ensure that drinks were marketed in a socially responsible way and to an adult audience only), Mr. Hayes indicated in the affirmative.  When asked by an Interested Party as to whether all alcohol was kept behind the counter, Mr. Hayes stated that currently some 90% of unmixed spirits was kept behind the counter and that the Co-operative was more than prepared to keep all unmixed spirits behind the counter as proposed by the Police.

 

P.C. D.C. Barrett, prior to commencing his submission, asked whether he could table a list of crime statistics linked to the premises in question.  The aforementioned list was subsequently circulated to all parties.  The Chairman stated, however, that the statistics should have been available to the parties concerned in advance of the meeting in order that they could have received prior consideration.  P.C. Barrett indicated that the statistics did not form part of his submission and Mr. Hayes confirmed that he had no objection to their being tabled.  P.C. Barrett then commenced his submission by commenting that South Wales Police did not support the application for a variation of hours, adding that, if granted, the premises would be the first fully functioning 24 hour outlet for the sale of alcohol in the Vale of Glamorgan.  He referred Members to his written representations as shown in Appendix C to the report, stating that, following discussions with Mr. Hayes prior to the meeting, he would withdraw the proposed condition relating to the marking of all alcoholic products.  He asked Members however to consider the remainder of the conditions as written.

 

In response to questions from Mr. Hayes, P.C. Barrett confirmed that he had been the author of the letter that he believed his representations adequately addressed the Licensing Objectives.  In response to Councillor Probert, the only Interested Party present, who requested details as to the type of incident recorded in the crime statistics, P. C. Barrett replied that they related largely to fuel theft and other road related matters and that the only incident of violence referred to the incident of the youth refused the sale of alcohol (as previously mentioned).  The Chairman then questioned P.C. Barrett in relation to the conditions he had proposed be attached should the variation of hours be granted.  P.C. Barrett replied that he considered, under the overarching objective of preventing crime and disorder, that having a Personal Licence holder on the shop floor whenever retail sales of alcohol were made would mitigate against improper behaviour and that the storage of all unmixed spirits behind the counter would prevent shoplifting.  When asked why he felt it was necessary, under the objective of public safety, to require that there would be no alcohol consumption on the premises including the forecourt since the application related to off-sales only, P.C. Barrett responded that customers might, for example, be inclined to consume alcohol in their vehicles whilst parked in the forecourt.  In conclusion, the Chairman questioned why P.C. Barrett felt that there should be a minimum of two staff present on the shop floor when alcohol sales were made after 23:00.  P.C. Barrett replied that it could be more difficult for a sole member of staff to deal with a potential incident of public nuisance and that the support of a colleague in such circumstances would help ease the situation.

 

Councillor Rhona Probert, as a local ward Member, spoke as an Interested Party and referred to the two letters expressing concerns which had been attached to the report as Appendix D.  Whilst recognising that the store was an asset to the area, she indicated that local residents had reported increased noise and anti social behaviour since the licence had been granted.  She added that the residents had not reported all incidents to the Police.  She asked Members to have regard to the potential increase in harm to young people and crime and disorder were the variation to be granted and to the concerns of residents in respect of the increase in traffic and traffic noise after 11pm.  She indicated that there would likely be late-night customers who had already been drinking and the potential for an increase in anti social behaviour and referred to residents having commented on drink driving.  In response to a comment earlier in the meeting from Mr. Hayes when he had stated that representations had come only from 13 households in Pontypridd Road, Councillor Probert said that the notice had not initially attracted the attention of residents.  In conclusion, she urged that, were the variation to be granted, all the conditions put forward by South Wales Police be implanted and that the “Challenge 25” and “No ID/no sale” schemes be consistently applied where the age of a customer was in doubt.  When asked by Mr. Hayes, Councillor Probert confirmed that part of Port Road fell within her Ward and that residents had not spotted the notice advertising the application for a variation until a week or so before the deadline for the submission of representations.

 

In his closing statement, Mr. Hayes referred to P.C. Barrett’s stance appearing to have changed. The written submission had made no mention of any objections to the grant of the variation as applied for by the Co-operative and had put forward a series of conditions to be attached to the licence if the variation were successful.  He added that P.C. Barrett had confirmed at the meeting that he wished to see the conditions accepted as written.  As regards the issue of Personal Licence holders, Mr. Hayes reiterated that there were  5 or 6 and suggested that the conditions put forward by the Police requiring a Personal Licence holder to be present on the shop floor when alcohol was sold be amended to read “on the premises”.  Mr. Hayes referred to the need for staff to take natural breaks and to their having to leave the shop floor on occasions to undertake duties elsewhere on the premises.  He confirmed that there would always be 2 people on the premises and that, subject to that amendment being made, the Co-operative would be able to agree to both of those conditions.  As regards CCTV and the requirement from the Police that images should be retained for 31 days, he stated that the Co-operative’s current practice was to retain images for 11 days only but that, if Members deemed it necessary, the CCTV system would be replace/adapted to allow the retention of mages for 31 days.  P.C. Barrett indicated at this juncture that 31 days was recognised nationally as best practice.  Later in the proceedings, Mr. Hayes drew attention to the fact that it take some time in order for the CCTV to be changed and requested that the Co-operative be allowed a period of grace in implementing that particular condition.  Following consideration of the same, Members subsequently agreed that the new system should be operative from 1st June, 2013 and that the present system should be used until that date.

 

The Chairman questioned the condition put forward by the Police that there would be no consumption of alcohol on the premises including the forecourt.  He stated that, since the premises was licensed for off-sales only, there would be no consumption of alcohol on the premises and that, were there to be any such occurrence in the forecourt where, for example, a customer sat on the wall with the intention of consuming alcohol, the matter would be immediately addressed by management.  P.C. Barrett stated that customers could consume alcohol in their cars whilst parked on the forecourt and that staff should monitor both the sale of alcohol in the premises and what happened off the premises.  Further discussion then took place in relation to the Police condition relating to the prevention of public nuisance which stipulated that a minimum of 2 staff were required to be on the shop floor when alcohol sales were made after 11pm.  Mr. Hayes reiterated his view that 2 staff on the premises would be acceptable, as indicated above.  When asked how 1 member of staff would be able to address an issue such as the shoplifting of alcohol, the response given was that there were numerous CCTV cameras and anti-theft mirrors within the store, a panic button and external cameras in place.

 

There being no further submissions, all parties confirmed that they had been afforded adequate time to make their respective cases.  Members then withdrew to consider the matter in private.  Upon reconvening, the Chairman announced the Sub-Committee’s decision as shown below:

 

Having considered the application and representations by the Police and Interested Parties and having considered the Home Office Guidance, the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 and the Council’s Statement of the Licensing Policy, the Sub-Committee has

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)        T H A T the application as applied for be granted subject to the following conditions:

 

The hours granted are as follows:

 

1.         Sale of Alcohol – 24 hours a day Monday to Saturday and 06:00 to 23:00 on Sunday.

 

2.         The conditions set out in the Applicant’s operating schedule.

 

Mandatory conditions:

 

3.         That no supply of alcohol is to be made under the Premises Licence:

(a)       At a time when there is no Designated Premises Supervisor in respect of the Premises Licence, or

(b)       When the Designated Premises Supervisor does not hold a personal licence or his Personal Licence is suspended.

 

4.         Every supply of alcohol under the Premises Licence is to be made or authorised by a person who holds a Personal Licence.

 

5.         Prevention of Crime and Disorder:

 

A Personal Licence holder will be present on the premises at all times when retail sales of alcohol are made.

 

To maintain a refusals register that is to be audited on a weekly basis by the Designated Premises Supervisor, and for this to be made available for inspection by the Police and Trading Standards and allow it to be cross referenced with CCTV footage to ensure continuity.

 

Management must introduce and maintain a documented training scheme for all staff in respect of age restricted products.  These training records will be made available to the Police or Trading Standards upon demand.

 

A digital CCTV system is to operate at all times when the premises are open to the public.  The equipment should be to an agreed standard covering all areas to which the public has access.  Coverage should include all entrances and exits with coverage extending to the forecourt area to the front of the store.  Images must be retained for 31 days and produced on request of the Police as soon as practicable.  Recording equipment providing 31 days of recordings should be in place no later than 1st June, 2013 and the existing system is to operate in the interim. 

 

All unmixed spirits will be displayed behind the sales counter in a secure area and out of reach of customers.  These products must be served exclusively by a member of staff.

 

6.         Prevention of Public Nuisance:

 

A minimum of two staff must be present on the premises at all times when retail sales of alcohol are being made beyond 23:00 hours.

 

7.         The Protection of Children from Harm:

 

Strict compliance to and promotion of “Challenge 25” scheme, coupled with all staff adopting the “No ID / No Sale” ethic in relation to all restricted products.

 

(2)       T H A T it be noted that the Sub-Committee had not conditioned the licence as proposed by South Wales Police in respect of there being no consumption of alcohol on the premises  or the forecourt since, based on the evidence provided, such a condition was deemed to be unnecessary.

 

Reason for decisions

 

The Sub- Committee, having regard to the above conditions attached to the licence, is satisfied that the Licensing Objectives are met.  

 

 

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