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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 6th November, 2014.

 

Present:  Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, A.G. Powell and J.W. Thomas.

 

Also present: Licensing Team Leader and officers from the Licensing Department, Environmental Health and South Wales Police.

 

 

(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 FOR THE VARIATION OF A PREMISES LICENCE - TUDOR TAVERN, CHURCH STREET, LLANTWIT MAJOR, CF61 1SB -

 

The papers for consideration at the meeting contained a copy of the procedure to be followed at the Licensing Sub-Committee hearing and those present were advised of this by the Assistant Democratic Services Officer.  Further copies were also made available to those in attendance if required.

 

Also Present: Ms. K. Joseph, Mr. J. Jones and Mr. W. Rathore (Applicant’s Legal Representative), Mrs. George, Mr. and Mrs. Cook (Other Persons).

 

The Chairman welcomed those present to the Licensing Sub-Committee hearing and requested that all parties introduce themselves.  Following introductions, the Licensing Officer presented the report to the hearing.  In presenting the report the Licensing Officer advised that an application for a variation of the Premises Licence had been received as follows:

 

Opening hours:       Sunday to Thursday            10.00 to 00.30

                                Friday and Saturday           10.00 to 01.00

                                   

 

Sale of Alcohol         Sunday to Thursday            10.00 to midnight

                                Friday and Saturday            10.00 to 00.30

 

Live Music                Sunday to Thursday            10.00 to midnight

                                Friday and Saturday            10.00 to 00.30

 

 

 

Recorded Music       Sunday to Thursday             10.00 to midnight

                                Friday and Saturday            10.00 to 01.00

 

The application further requested:

 

The standard hours plus one extra hour for

  • All Bank Holidays
  • Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • From the start of Standard Timing on New Year’s Eve to the Start of Standard Timing on New Year’s Day.

A copy of the variation application was attached to the report at Appendix B.

 

Representations had been received from South Wales Police and the Environmental Health Department and copies of these representations were attached at Appendices C and D to the report. 

 

A total of 14 representations had been received from 'Other Persons’ during the consultation period and these representations were attached at Appendix E to the report. 

 

The Licensing Officer informed the hearing that additional information had been received from South Wales Police in the 24 hours prior to the meeting. 

 

Following the presentation of the report by the Licensing Officer, the Chairman provided the Applicant with the opportunity to present their representations. 

 

A discussion took place in regard to the additional information provided by the South Wales Police.  Mr. Rathore, the Applicant’s legal representative, stated that the additional information should not be considered at the hearing as it had been submitted late, therefore, the Applicant had not had a chance to fully consider the information and furthermore, their case had been prepared on the representations received prior to the hearing. 

 

In response, the legal representative for South Wales Police stated that the additional information had been served to all parties in good time and under Section 18 of the Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005 the information could be produced with the consent of all other parties at the hearing.  It was relevant to the proceedings as it pertained to a serious incident of assault which was linked to the premises and, furthermore, the incident had already been referred to within the representations submitted by South Wales Police, therefore, the additional evidence simply provided further information about this incident.

 

The Chairman informed those present that the Sub-Committee would adjourn to take legal advice in relation to the additional information.  The Sub-Committee retired to consider this issue in private.

 

Following consideration of the issue, the Sub-Committee returned and the Chairman asked when the additional information had been sent and South Wales Police confirmed that the information had been submitted on 5th November, 2014 at approximately 15:10 hours and Admiral Taverns had confirmed receipt of the information. 

 

The Chairman confirmed that the Sub-Committee would accept the additional evidence submitted by South Wales Police. 

 

Mr. Rathore, the Applicant’s legal representative, informed the hearing that the application for the variation of the Licence had been amended and the application was now for Friday and Saturday nights only with licenced activities finishing at 00:30 hours which he stated was in line with other premises in the area. 

 

Mr. Rathore advised that Admiral Taverns held the Premises Licence; however, they did not operate the business on the premises and employed Tenant Landlords to carry out the licensable activities. The tenants for the Tudor Tavern were Mr Jones (Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)) and Ms. Joesph, present at the meeting.

 

Mr. Rathore stated that four meetings had taken place which had involved South Wales Police and the Environmental Health Department in order to discuss any concerns and put in place measures to address these concerns.  The tenants had tried to arrange a further meeting with the Responsible Authorities to discuss this application; however, the Responsible Authorities stated that any further discussions should take place at a Licensing Committee hearing.  Mr. Rathore expressed the view that if the meeting had taken place they would have been able to advise the Responsible Authority that the application would be amended and the conditions could have been discussed further. 

 

Mr. Rathore informed the hearing that the tenants had written to local residents and had received letters of support and requested that these be circulated at the hearing.

 

The Chairman asked whether the Responsible Authorities would be willing for these letters to be considered at the hearing and in response, the legal representative for South Wales Police advised that they had not seen the amended variation application and requested it in writing.  Mr. Rathore advised that as the amended application was a reduced application, it was not necessary to complete a new application.

 

Mr. Rathore confirmed that the application was still for a start time of 10.00 a.m. on all days.  Mr. Rathore asked the Other Persons, present, at the meeting, whether they would be minded to withdraw their representations as the application had been amended, none of the Other Persons present withdrew their representations.

 

The hearing was adjourned for a short period in order for the Responsible Authorities to consider the amended application and to provide South Wales Police with an opportunity to liaise with their senior officer in relation to the amended application. 

 

After the adjournment the solicitor for South Wales Police stated that they had spoken with the Area Commander, and in view of the incidences that had occurred in relation to the premises South Wales Police would still be objecting to the application. 

 

The letters of support from the applications were circulated to the Other Persons present and the Responsible Authorities and as no objections were made to this evidence the Chairman confirmed it would be accepted by the Licensing Sub-Committee.

 

Mr. Rathore stated that the representations made by the Police did not take into account the measures put in place by the current tenants or how the current licence conditions would address issues and uphold the licensing objectives.  Furthermore, the position of the South Wales Police did not take into account the amended application. He further stated that there was no evidence of the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons on the premises and advised that the responsible attitude of the tenants should be taken into account. 

 

Mr. Rathore stated that the representations made by the Environmental Health Department provided no substantiated evidence that residents had suffered from noise nuisance.  He further advised that noise readings could have been taken from inside nearby properties in order to prove that a noise nuisance had occurred.  He advised that the amended application addressed concerns from local residents in relation to extended hours on weekdays and stated that it was very difficult to confirm which of the premises in the vicinity of the Tudor Tavern were causing the problems. 

 

Mr. Rathore questioned Ms. Joseph and Mr. Jones, the current tenants, with regard to the application.  Mr. Jones, the DPS, confirmed that they had taken over the premises on the 1st April, 2014 and advised that they did not want to turn the premises into a nightclub yet needed the income from the later licence as the building was in need of some refurbishment, he further advised that they had set up various teams, such as darts and pool, at the premises.

 

The tenants advised that they had written a letter to local residents to address their concerns with regards to the application and had also introduced certain measures since taking over, in order to address these concerns.  These measures included:

  • The introduction of plastic glasses
  • Black out curtains
  • Sound checks
  • Removal of handles from external door to prevent customers going out onto the street
  • Soundproofing panels for the windows
  • Implementation of the Challenge 25 proof of age scheme with the use of a unique stamp for customers and door supervisors on duty who checked the premises to ensure no one underage is in the premises after 9.00 p.m.
  • Signage put up to ask customers to leave quietly
  • No drinks to be taken outside the premises
  • Music calmed down in last 30 minutes
  • Bar staff check the premises and door staff check external area including fire exits and advise if the music is too loud
  • DJ has a decibel reader
  • Radios for DJ and tenant landlord

In addressing the police representations in relation to the supply of CCTV recordings, Ms. Joseph advised that the first time the police had requested CCTV footage was the first time they had used the system and they were unable to get the footage to burn onto a CD.  They tried to put the footage onto a memory stick, however it was encrypted, therefore they had supplied the footage to the Police the next day, on an unencrypted memory stick.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that one of their bar staff had reported one of the incidents, referred to within the Police representations and they had subsequently barred the main culprit. Ms Joseph stated that they had been unaware that the individual, referred to within one of incidents in the Police representations was underage, however, had subsequently introduced the Challenge 25 proof of age scheme to replace to current Challenge 21 scheme. Ms. Joseph further advised that they wanted the locals to return to the premises and confirmed that they had consulted with the Responsible Authorities in regard to the application and implemented their suggestions.

 

The Chairman provided the Responsible Authorities with an opportunity to ask questions in relation to these representations. South Wales Police asked if the tenants had met with an officer in regard to the use of plastic glasses.  Mr. Jones advised that the premises was their first pub and confirmed that they had met with an officer from South Wales Police who had recommended the use of plastic glasses from 9.00 p.m. and advised that all drinks were decanted into plastic after 9.00 p.m.

 

In response to a question from South Wales Police Mr. Jones confirmed that he became the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) from 23rd May, 2014.  In response to another question from South Wales Police, Mr. Jones confirmed that they had a 3 year tenancy agreement from June 2014.  The solicitor for South Wales Police expressed the view that Admiral Taverns could remove the tenants at any time therefore there was little security that the current tenants would be at the premises long-term.

 

In response to a question from the Environmental Health Officer Mr. Jones explained which door in the premises was now a fire door.  It was also confirmed that the soundproof shutters would be put in place very shortly and the black-out curtains had been put up recently. 

 

There being no questions from the Other Persons present, the Chairman provided the Responsible Authorities with an opportunity to present their representations.  The additional evidence from South Wales Police was circulated only to those present at the hearing.

 

The legal representative for South Wales Police informed the hearing that the representations made by South Wales Police pertained to supporting the licensing objectives particularly in respect of the prevention of crime and disorder.  They further stated that the variation of the Premises Licence should not be granted and the police were in full support of the residents’ representations.

 

In presenting the Police representations, the Police Officer informed the hearing that since the licence review in 2008 the issues pertaining to the premises had repeated themselves.  Several of the issues related to the breach of existing licence conditions, which included:

  • issues with obtaining CCTV footage
  • drinking outside the premises
  • issues with the rear entrance door
  • underage drinking.

The officer further stated that the Police representations referred to incidents that had occurred near to or in the premises and the current Premises Licence was not being adhered to or complied with.  Furthermore, the current crime and disorder associated with the premises were already an issue and if the hours were to be increased this would increase these levels.  The Police Officer made reference to assault incidents which had occurred prior to the current tenants taking over and advised that these types of incidents continued to occur since the current tenants had taken over and expressed the view that the extra hours should not be granted until the current Licence and Operating Schedule were complied with and crime and disorder relating to the premises was reduced. 

 

The Police Officer expressed the view that if the variation application was to be granted there would need to be a raft of conditions added to the Licence in order to uphold the four Licensing Objectives and expressed concern that these objectives were not currently being adhered to with the current licence conditions in place. 

 

There being no questions on these representations, the Chairman provided the Environmental Health Officer with the opportunity to address the hearing in regard to their representations. 

 

In presenting their representations the Environmental Health Officer confirmed that they had met with Mr. Jones and South Wales Police in relation to the application and had suggested measures such as blackout curtains.  The Environmental Health Officer stated that they were disappointed that the nothing had been listed on the variation application form in respect to additional steps that the Applicant would take in order to promote the prevention of public nuisance.  The Environmental Health Officer stated that the Tudor Tavern was a Grade II listed building in a Conservation Area which was unable to contain the noise of a disco and therefore created a public and statutory nuisance.  The officer further stated that recordings had been taken whilst Temporary Events Notices (TENS) had been in place which showed that noise levels had been exceeded and advised that the premises was not suitable for regulated entertainment late into the night.  Furthermore, the area was very quiet and therefore could not accommodate noise from music or customers, the noise created would prevent sleep and noise conditions on the licence had been breached as street noise readings showed that a noise nuisance had occurred.  The Environmental Health Officer confirmed that readings had been taken from inside residents’ properties; however, their representations pertained to noise readings taken on the street. 

 

The Chairman provided the other parties with the opportunity to question the Environmental Health Officer in relation to their representations, and in response, Mr. Rathore, the Applicants’ legal representative, stated that the noise readings taken from within nearby properties should not be admissible as it was new evidence.  There being no further questions, the Chairman provided the Other Persons, present at the meeting, with an opportunity to present their representations. 

 

Mrs. Cook, a local resident, expressed the view that there was a current problem with the premises and any extension would exacerbate the current situation.  Furthermore, the letters of support for the current tenants, submitted at the meeting, were from individuals who did not live near to the premises.  Mrs. Cook expressed the view that the residents needed clarity on the situation and their representations confirmed that they suffered from the impact of the premises, and residents were concerned about disturbance of sleep on weekends as well as week nights.  Mrs Cook further expressed the view that the representations from the Responsible Authorities had linked the reported incidents with the premises and that residents could see the premises from their properties and therefore could verify that the incidents were linked to the premises.  Mrs. Cook expressed the view that although she sympathised with the current tenants, and supported the measures taken by them so far, the issues were longstanding problems and they needed evidence that licensing objectives were being supported and that to date, the experience had not been a good one. 

 

In presenting her representations Mrs. George, a local resident, advised that the Vale of Glamorgan Licensing Policy stated that the local authority should have regard to Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Human Rights Act 1998, that everyone had the right to respect for his home and private life and that every person was entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his or her possessions. Mrs. George advised that she was concerned about the request for an extension to the hours for the premises as at present, clientele were taking some time to dissipate from the vicinity of the premises after the close of the business; at times it could take until after 01:00 hours for people to move away from the area. Mrs. George alluded to instances that had occurred with individuals coming out of the premises with drinks in their hand after 01:00 hours and stated that it was a designated public place, therefore drinks were not allowed in the street and advised that any extension to the hours of the premises would have an impact on her as she was unable to go to bed until the area had become quiet.  Mrs. George expressed the view that she appreciated the need for the tenants to make a living, however, the area needed to be comfortable for local residents.  Mrs. George further alluded to experiences of individuals littering, urinating and vomiting near to her property and stated that she was able to see where these individuals were coming from due to the proximity of her property to the premises.  Mrs. George also expressed concern about the number of incidents that had been reported to South Wales Police since the tenant had taken over the premises. 

 

In response to a question from South Wales Police, Mrs. George advised that in the music from the premises had been turned off at the required time of late, however, previously noise from music had emanated from the premises and increased as the night progressed, however her main concern was in relation to noise from clientele such as shouting, singing and arguing and expressed concern that as there was no public transport to take people away from the vicinity of the premises, the clientele lingered in the area. 

 

After the representations provided by the Other Persons, the Chairman provided the Other Persons with an opportunity to sum up with regard to their representations. 

 

In summing up, Mrs. Cook expressed the view that there were three pubs in vicinity to the Tudor Tavern and advised that as residents who live so close to the area, they knew that the evidence related to the Tudor Tavern, although that was not to say that there were not issues from the other pubs in the area.

 

In summing up the Environmental Health Officer advised that they knew the area well and had experienced the noise levels in the area and although they accepted the noise measures taken by the tenants, the effectiveness of these measures had not been tested, there was a noise nuisance at the premises.

 

In summing up South Wales Police advised that historically the premises was known for underage service and although they appreciated that the Applicant was attempting to improve the situation, expressed the view that it was an Admiral Taverns issues as it was the licence holder for the premises.  Ten incidents had been reported since April 2014 which were linked to the premises and stated they would be happy to work with the tenants to ensure compliance with the licence; however, this was not the right time for an extension of hours.  South Wales Police also expressed the view that a current condition on the licence stated that all reasonable steps should be taken to prevent noise; therefore no additional conditions would make any difference. 

 

In summing up, for the Applicant, Mr. Rathore advised that he had sympathy with the residents, however, there should be a stepped approach to the delivery of the licencing laws and that the current tenants were doing a good job.  He further stated that it was very difficult to confirm which premises the reported incidents were coming from and that since 2008 Admiral Taverns had not received any complaints in regard to the premises. 

 

Mr. Rathore advised that the Applicant had met with the police on four occasions to carry out consultation and advised that if the police had informed them that they did not support the application they would not have submitted the application. The tenants had taken the advice and assistance provided by the South Wales Police and queried why a review of the licence had not been requested to date if the incidents were so serious.  He advised that no issues had been raised in relation to the extra hours at the start of the day and confirmed that the application was still to include door supervisors on Friday and Saturdays from 9pm and the removal of the current licence condition (d) pertaining to maintaining a record of all instances where the external areas, entrances and exits, including the fire exit into Burial Lane, were checked to ensure compliance.  Residents’ concerns had been addressed with the reduction of the application to apply to Friday and Saturday nights only, which would bring the premises in line with other premises in the vicinity. 

 

Mr. Rathore expressed concern with regard to some of the representations provided by the Responsible Authorities in that they had not been substantiated and they did not take into account the measures put in place by the current tenants on the advice of the Responsible Authorities. 

 

Mr. Rathore stated that there had been no complaints to Admiral Taverns since 2008 and there were sufficient safeguards if there was an issue with the premises in the Licensing Act such as powers of closure and licence review, furthermore, it was very difficult to establish which premises were causing these problems and the current operators were fully committed and needed support. 

 

Following the summing up, the Chairman asked Members if there were any questions, there being no questions from the Members of the Licensing Sub-Committee, the Sub-Committee retired to deliberate the application in private.

 

On return, the Chairman advised that following consideration of the application and representations by the Police, Environmental Health Department and Other Persons and having considered the Home Office guidance, the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 and the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, the Sub-Committee had

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the application be granted as amended as detailed below:

Sale of Alcohol - on and off sales

 

Monday to Thursday                       10:00 to 23:30

Friday and Saturday                       10:00 to 00:30

Sunday                                           10:00 to 22:30.

 

Regulated Entertainment - live music

Monday to Thursday                       10:00 to 23:30

Friday and Saturday                       10:00 to 00:30

Sunday                                           10:00 to 22:30.

 

Regulated Entertaining - recorded music

Monday to Thursday                       10:00 to 23:30

Friday and Saturday                       10:00 to 00.30

Sunday                                           10:00 to 22:30.

 

Opening Hours

Monday to Thursday                       10:00 to 00:00

Friday and Saturday                       10:00 to 01:00

Sunday                                           10:00 to 23:00.

 

All non-standard timings were to remain as per the current Premises Licence. 

 

(2)       T H A T the application be subject to the mandatory conditions and the following conditions:

 

(i)         That the current Premises Licence condition (a), attached following the review hearing, be amended to state that copies of CCTV recordings can also be supplied on an unencrypted memory stick.

 

(ii)        That the current Premises Licence condition (d) attached following the review hearing that 'The DPS or responsible member of staff shall maintain a record of all instances where the external areas, entrances and exits, including the fire exit into Burial Lane, are checked to ensure compliance’ be removed

 

(iii)       That two door supervisors are to be employed from 21:00 hours until the close of the premises on a Friday and Saturday night.

 

(iv)       That the current Premises Licence condition (e) attached following the review, be amended from Challenge 21 Scheme to state that 'The management must operate a Challenge 25 Scheme to combat underage drinking and accept only photographic ID, such as passports, drivers licenses or any other approved scheme such as PASS approved.’

 

Reasons for decisions

 

In delivering the decision of the sub-committee the Chairman précised the representations given by all parties at the hearing.

 

The sub-committee heard from the tenants that they had taken over the premises in April 2014 and since that time had worked hard to improve the image of the premises following meetings with the Police and Environmental Health Department having taken their advice.

 

The Applicant’s legal representative stated that there was no evidence for an outright refusal of the amended application as the requested timings were in line with the other establishments in the vicinity.

 

The sub-committee was informed by the Applicant’s legal representative that the new evidence provided by the Police should carry little weight as it could not be tested at such a late stage. Furthermore, the Police had produced no evidence that alcohol had been served to intoxicated individuals and although the arguments had started on the premises the fights which ensued were not on the premises and not within the control of the Landlord. The Applicant’s legal representative also stated that no evidence had been produced by the Environmental Health Department to prove that residents were suffering from noise nuisance and that it was difficult to identify which premises the nuisance was arising from.

 

The sub-committee heard from the tenants that the vision they had for the premises was not that of a nightclub, although they understood that the Tenant’s needed the extra hours on Fridays and Saturdays to make the premises pay.

 

The Police stated that the granting of this application would not assist in promoting the Licensing objectives because the problems were so bad at present, any extension could only make matters worse. The Police outlined the incidents which had taken place since the new tenants had taken over and also some from before this time. They also stated that the current conditions were not being abided by as CCTV evidence could not be provided when requested. The sub-committee noted this and also the response from the tenants who said they had difficulty with the system as they were new but did everything possible to assist the Police.

 

The Police also mentioned a number of cases of underage drinking but none of these breaches were prosecuted.

 

The Environmental Health Department stated that the building would not be able to contain noise but also accepted that the applicants had taken their advice and installed mitigation. They also stated that noise readings had been taken from a local property but could not evidence this, so no weight was given to this statement. Noise readings were included in the report for the street but these could not necessarily be attributed to the Tudor Tavern.

 

The Other Persons stated that problems with noise and disorder were an issue on weekdays and weekends and felt that these could be attributed to the Tudor Tavern.  They felt that they supported the mitigating measures but felt that these should be proven before an extension is allowed. The Other Persons stated that there was a low level of ambient noise but could not accept anything more than this later into the evening.

 

The sub-committee felt that many of the issues raised by the Other Persons could not be directly attributed to the Tudor Tavern.

 

In summing up the Other Persons said they knew that the problems were caused by the Tudor Tavern as they lived so close.

 

The Environmental Health department stated that the mitigation measures were not proven.

 

The Police informed the sub-committee hearing that their information was reliable, that the premises was known as an underage establishment but acknowledged that the new Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) was working towards cutting this out. They concluded by saying that they were willing to work with the applicants but felt that this was not the right time to extend the hours.

 

In closing, the Applicant’s legal representative stated that since the premises were reviewed in 2008 no complaint had been received by Admiral Taverns and no further review of the licence had been sought. He stated that they had carried out consultation before applying and stated that if Admiral Taverns had thought the Police would have an outright objection they would not have applied for the variation. He further stated that he had not had the chance to test much of the Police evidence as it had been submitted late and that fresh evidence introduced by the Environmental Health Department was unreliable.

 

In closing he stated that he felt a small extension on a Friday and Saturday evening in line with the other premises in the area was a reasonable request.

 

The Chairman also took the opportunity to advise those present that the decision of the sub-committee could be appealed, and this must be made in writing, within 21 days of the decision, directly to the magistrates court and that a review of the licence could also be requested if there were concerns from the Responsible Authorities or local residents.

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