STATUTORY LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 2nd June , 2017.
Present: Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, J.W. Thomas and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.
Also present: Licensing Officer (Vale of Glamorgan Council); Responsible Authorities South Wales Police and Environmental Health Department.
The Scrutiny Support Officer explained the procedure to be used for the hearing and advised that copies were included within the agenda.
(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 a Variation of Premises Licence – Athena Takeaway, 7 Broad Street, Barry, CF62 7AA –
Also Present: Applicants Mr. and Mrs. Amin (Applicants), Responsible Authorities and Ms. R. Probert (who had submitted a representation).
The Chairman welcomed those present to the Sub-Committee hearing and invited each person to introduce themselves. He asked if all parties had made written representations to which all advised that they had.
The Chairman then invited the Licensing Officer to present the report, who informed the Committee that an application had been made under the Licensing Act 2003 for the Variation of a Premises Licence at 7 Broad Street, Barry now known as Athena Takeaway by Mr. and Mrs. Amin.
The Licensing Officer stated that on 10th October, 2005 a Premises Licence had been granted for 7 Board Street, Barry under the Licensing Act 2003 and a copy of the current Licence was attached to the report at Appendix A. On 6th April, 2017 an application to vary the Premises Licence was received by the Licensing Authority and a copy of that application was attached at Appendix B to the report.
The Variation Application sought to vary the Premises Licence for late night refreshments for Sunday to Thursday 23:00 to 01:00 hours, Friday and Saturday 23:00 to 03:30 hours and on a number of specified dates 23:00 to 04:00 hours.
The Sub-Committee was also informed that on 19th April, 2017 a representation had been received from South Wales Police, on 2nd ,May 2017 a representation had been received from the Environmental Health Department and on 3rd May, 2017 a representation had been received from a Ms. Rhona Probert. Copies of all the representations were attached to the report at Appendices C, D and E.
The Licensing Officer advised that each of the representations raised concerns regarding the licensing objectives and issues in the wider vicinity of the premises arising from the concentration of late night business in the area. Whilst there was no Cumulative Impact Policy in place for the area, the Licensing Act 2003 Guidance, point 14.33 stated:
“The absence of a special policy does not prevent any responsible authority or other person making a representation on an application for the grant or variation of a licence on the grounds that the premises will give rise to a negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.”
The Chairman then invited the Applicants Mr and Mrs Armin to present their representations in support of their application.
Mrs. Amin commenced by advising that the family had come to Barry in 2003 with the premises having been established as a takeaway since the late 1970s. It was the family’s sole source of income and when they arrived in 2003 the competition had been quite limited whereas now it was relatively high. In order for the business to be able to survive further, they considered that an extension to the hours to capture clients late at night was their only option. Mrs Amin stated that a number of premises in the area operated beyond their licensing hours and some operated delivery services. They however, adhered to their premises licence stating and wished to be law abiding citizens. They asked the Committee to consider even allowing the application to say 02:45 hours or 03:00 hours to give them the opportunity to try to boost their income in order that they could continue to survive. They advised that they had had an in-depth discussion with PC Young and were fully aware of the procedures, but they felt that the only option for them was to apply for extra hours.
Following a query from a Member seeking clarification, Mrs. Amin confirmed that Sunday to Thursday they currently closed at 00:00 (12 midnight) but were applying for 01:00 hours should they need it in the future and applying for an extension to 03:30 hours Friday to Saturday in order to compete with other businesses in the area. Mrs. Amin also advised that the business had been further affected by a number of parking problems within the street and that there were not enough car parking spaces for customers. Mrs. Amin advised that she had tried to work with the Council on every aspect and that, in order for them to survive further, they had decided to apply for an extension to their Licence.
PC Young confirmed that he had indeed had an in-depth conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Amin and that the South Wales Police were making their objections to the extension to the Licences under the Licensing Objectives Crime and Disorder, Public Safety and Public Nuisance. PC Young further advised that during the start of February 2017 a number of complaints had been received by South Wales Police as the takeaway venues on the Broad Street / High Street area of Barry were in breach of their licence conditions in respect of their opening times. Checks revealed that seven vendors in the area were supposed to be closed by 02:00 hours, with one closing by 01:30 hours. However, they had historically be opened until 04:00 hours and beyond. This had resulted in a high demand on police resources policing the Barry night time economy, predominantly after the late night venues closed at 03:00 hours. The reason for this being that persons were gathering / hanging around the takeaways until between 04:00 and 05:00 hours, causing regular disorder problems and committing crime. From the start of February 2017, warning letters had been sent out to all the takeaway venues concerned outlining that with immediate effect closure times would be as per their individual licence conditions. As a result of this, the crime and disorder problems had dropped significantly as well as the demand on Police resources, making the night time economy area a much safer place for the public. Persons were now leaving the clubs at 03:00 hours and were vacating the area almost immediately, lessening the demand on Police resources and noise and nuisance to persons living in the area. It was the view of South Wales Police that if the variation was granted, this would have a negative effect on the Barry night time economy and as such, requested that the closure times of the venues did not exceed the current licence condition closure time of 02:00 hours at the latest. He confirmed that three months prior to enforcing the 02:00 hours licensing conditions, statistics had showed a decrease in demand by over 40%.
Mr. Amin, in presenting his case to the Committee, advised that when the family had first opened the premises their licence was licensed to 02:00 hours but that a number of takeaways now operated after 02:00 hours and were not compliant with their licences. The double parking by taxis totally blocked the road and the Police did not do anything about it.
In referring to parking issues in the vicinity, the Police Officer advised that due to the stretched resources of the Force, the issue of taxis parking inappropriately was not on their priority list due to the number of calls they received in relation to crime and disorder issues elsewhere. The Officer advised that he had no criticism of the running of the Athena premises, it was just that an extension would exacerbate the problem that already existed.
The Environmental Health Officer the presented their case commencing by advising that the Department had received a number of noise complaints and that there were a number that they could not pin down to a particular premises. Due to a lack of planning restrictions and the ability to operate later due to separate licensing legislation, some premises in the street such as two night clubs, closed by 03:30 hours and this was obviously having a knock-on effect in terms of the opening times of takeaways in the vicinity leading to many opening illegally, which was both beyond both their permitted opening hours or licensing hours. The Environmental Health Officer further advised that she had also personally witnessed a number of takeaways to be operating beyond their permitted licensing hours of 02:00 hours to service the patrons leaving the night clubs at 03:30 hours. To further extend the opening hours would lead to noise and disruption on the street to well beyond 03:30 hours. The matter of noise on the street could also not be controlled via licensing or planning conditions as once patrons are on the pavement they are beyond the jurisdiction of any premises operator. The only way that the residents who lived on Board Street, High Street and Queen Street could have their community protected and public nuisance prevented was to continue to limit the opening hours of the takeaways, including Athena, in the area. The Officer therefore concurred with the representations made by South Wales Police and also referred to the recent proactive action by South Wales Police with regard to the matter of operating beyond permitted licensed hours, which had been raised with a number of takeaways with the consequence that some had been closing at 02:00 hours. As a result, this had led to a drop in the number of people staying on Broad Street and the adjoining streets and subsequently the level of noise disruption. From the Police’s view crime had also dropped.
Ms. Probert who had been a former Councillor of the Vale when she had made her representations on behalf of her constituents commenced by advising that her concerns about the application related to the fact that the takeaway was situated in a residential area and that residents had reported the antisocial and criminal behaviour that took place in the early hours of the morning as the pubs, clubs, restaurants and takeaways closed. Residents had also advised that they no longer reported incidents to 101 because their calls were never answered. They were generally also unaware that they could report to the Council directly. She stated that there was evidence that the accumulation of licensed premises in the area was causing the licensing objectives to be undermined.
In making the representations Ms Probert referred to the Licensing Objectives Crime and Disorder, Prevention of Public Nuisance and the Protection of Children from Harm. Antisocial behaviour issues arose from Broad Street, High Street, Queen Street and Princess Street and other streets leading from the area at night by people acting in a manner that caused harassment, alarm and distress to local residents. With regard to Public Nuisance, the level of disturbance varied from low level to major and included noise, threats to community safety and litter. She also took the opportunity to ask the Local Authority to police the area more in relation to cleansing of the streets. With regard to Protection of Children from Harm, she advised that children were exposed to strong language and sexual expletives from people leaving the late night economy area. The granting of the licence would mean that young people would be attracted to the takeaway at 03:30 hours, would eat their food and then walk through the surrounding residential streets from about 04:00 hours onwards. This would mean that the nuisance experienced by local residents would continue on to 04:30 or 05:00 hours which would be an extension to the hours and currently they were already subject to these problems with the current 02:00 hours licence. Her further concern was that a precedent would be set if the application was granted and other premises would no doubt then apply for extensions for their premises.
Mrs. Amin also stated that local residents also had their own personal issues with litter in the area but referred to the good work undertaken by one of the Vale litter operators who she stated was very thorough in his duties. Mrs. Amin also informed the Committee that as local residents and premises owners, they were fully aware of the issues within the locality, but urged the Committee to be lenient and to consider extending their application, even for a further 30 to 45 minutes, which they considered would assist their business.
In being provided with the opportunity to sum up, PC Young advised that South Wales Police would welcome the 02:00 hours closure to be upheld as any further extension would result in an impact on Police resources and the night time economy, with the potential increase in antisocial behaviour issues.
The Environmental Health Officer stated that if the hours were extended, every other takeaway operator would also wish to increase their hours. In her opinion, it was too much to ask of local residents for the premises to be allowed to be open till 03:30 hours in view of the issues and impacts that would come as a result. In her view, the statistics provided by the Police in relation to the reduction in crime and disorder following the issuing of warning letters in February 2017 was testament enough.
Mr. and Mrs. Amin, in summing up their case to the Committee asked for reassurance that should they not be granted an extension that all the businesses in the area would be advised to adhere to their licence conditions. They stated that they had always adhered to the terms of their licence and that if everybody had adhered to their conditions, they would not be in this situation. Mrs Amin urged the Licensing Sub-Committee to be lenient for their customers, for their wellbeing as a family and as a business and ended by advising that she respected all present and the representations they had made.
A Member of the Sub-Committee advised that it was important that all conditions were met and that the Police and the Local Authority ensured that these were being adhered to.
There being no further questions, the Licensing Sub-Committee retired to consider the application in private.
On return the Chairman, in delivering the decision of the Sub-Committee, advised that the application was for a variation for a premises licence for 7 Broad Street, Barry, by Mr. and Mrs. Amin for Athena Takeaway, and advised that written representations had been received from responsible authorities and from another person. Mr. and Mrs. Amin were present at the hearing as were the Licensing Officer, Environmental Health representative, the South Wales Police representative and Ms. R. Probert (Other Person).
The application for the variation was for the hours Sunday to Thursday 23:00 to 01:00, Friday and Saturday 23:00 to 03:30 hours and specified days 23:00 to 04:00 hours.
The Chairman summarised the representations presented by all the parties at the hearing as :-
The Licensing Authority had no further representations to make other than those contained within the officer’s report.
South Wales Police Authority
Since the enforcement of the 02:00 hours terms and conditions crime and disorder had reduced by 44%. The Police were struggling to cope with disorder before the enforcement had started although the Officer confirmed that they had no issues with the running of the premises Athena Takeaway.
The Officer supported the Police, stating that most complaints were for behaviour in the street rather than in the premises and confirmed that there had been a reduction in complaints since the enforcement of the 02:00 hours condition had been put in place.
Ms. Rhona Probert, who had been a previously elected Member for the Illtyd Ward within the Vale of Glamorgan, stated that she was of the opinion that if any extension was granted, all other premises would apply for the same. She stated that residents, including children, were subject to antisocial behaviour late into the evening.
The Applicants stated that the business had been getting difficult as other premises stayed open later. They also needed to do the same to keep their share of the market. They also advised that there were no issues within their premises but that if their application was not granted in full, this would affect the premises and they therefore requested the Committee to consider some leeway. They also asked for the Council to enforce the terminal hours in all the other premises in the area.
The Chairman advised that following consideration of the application, the representations of the Other Person, the Local Authority, Environmental Health and the Police, and having considered the Home Office Guidance along with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, and also taking into account the Licensing Act 2003 as amended, in particular the Licensing Objectives, the Licensing Sub-Committee had
(1) T H A T the application be granted for an extra 30 minutes extension to hours on a Friday and Saturday from 23:00 to 02:30 hours and that all other hours remain as per the current licence.
(2) T H A T the Council’s Licensing and Planning Departments be requested to be more pro-active in enforcing current licensing and planning conditions.
Reasons for decisions
(1) The Sub-Committee had heard all the Police evidence which indicated that the problems arose because the takeaway premises were open after the pubs and clubs closed and the patrons would hang around the area. The Committee therefore felt that by granting an extra 30 minutes on a Friday and Saturday this should not exacerbate the situation as the premises would still close before the terminal hour of the clubs.
(2) Although it was not within the remit of the Sub-Committee, it was considered that the Council’s Licensing and Planning Departments should be more pro-active in enforcing currently licensing and planning conditions.
(d) Exclusion of Press and Public –
RESOLVED – T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.
(e) Licensing Act 2003 0- Application for the Transfer of a Premises Licence – Play, 18 Windsor Road, Penarth (LA) (Exempt Information – Paragraphs 12, 13 and 14)
Having been advised by the Applicant that their legal representative was unable to be present at the meeting due to illness, the Licensing Sub-Committee
RESOLVED – T H A T the matter be deferred for consideration at a future Licensing Sub Committee on a date to be arranged.
Reason for decision
In view of the Applicants’ representation that their legal representative was unable to be present.