STATUTORY LICENSING-SUB COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th October, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, V.P. Driscoll and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

Also present: P.C. J. Young and Inspector A. Rice (South Wales Police), Licensing Officers (Vale of Glamorgan Council), Environmental Health Officers (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Legal Officer (Vale of Glamorgan Council).

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer explained the procedure to be used for the hearing and advised that a copy of the procedure was available within the agenda.  The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer also advised that, due to unforeseen circumstances, Councillor Mrs. P. Drake would be the third Committee Member in replacement of Councillor Mrs. J.M. Norman.

 

 

(a)       Appointment of Chairman

 

Councillor V.P. Driscoll 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 – Vale Sports Arena, Cambria House, Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF11 8TW

 

The Chairman welcomed those present to the Sub-Committee hearing and invited each person to introduce themselves. 

 

The Chairman invited the Licensing Officer to present the report, who advised that an application had been made under the Licensing Act 2003 for the variation of a Premises Licence at Vale Sports Arena, Cambria House, Penarth Road, Cardiff submitted by Mr. Peter Griffiths and Ms. Catherine Sharp, the joint Premises Licence holders.  The Officer advised Committee that this matter had been referred to a Sub-Committee for determination as officers did not have the delegated authority to determine applications where relevant representations had been received and not mitigated. 

 

The nature of the proposed variation was outlined in the application form, attached at Appendix C to the report, as follows:

 

 

Current Licence

Application

Plays

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 01:00

 

Films

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 01:00

 

Indoor   Sporting Events

Mon   – Wed 11:00 to 22:00

Thurs   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

Fri   & Sat 11:00 to 01:00

Sun   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 01:00

Boxing   and Wrestling Entertainments

Mon   – Wed 11:00 to 22:00

Thurs   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

Fri   & Sat 11:00 to 01:00

Sun   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

 

Mon   – Sun 11:00 to 01:00

Live   Music

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 03:00

 

Recorded   Music

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 03:00

 

Performance   of Dance

 

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 01:00

Anything   Similar to Music or Dance

 

 

Mon   – Sun 10:00 to 03:00

Late   Night Refreshment

 

 

Mon   – Sun 23:00 to 03:00

Sale   of Alcohol

Mon   – Wed 11:00 to 22:00

Thurs   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

Fri   & Sat 11:00 to 01:00

Sun   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

 

On   Sales only

 

Mon   – Sun 09:00 to 03:00

 

On   and Off Sales

Opening

Mon   – Wed 11:00 to 22:00

Thurs   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

Fri   & Sat 11:00 to 01:00

Sun   11:00 to 00:00 (Midnight)

 

Mon   – Sun 09:00 to 03:30

 

The Officer advised the Committee of the four licensing objectives within the Licensing Act 2003 which were:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder;
  • Public safety;
  • Prevention of public nuisance; and
  • The protection of children from harm. 

For context purposes, the Officer added that the current Premises Licence was originally issued in August 2016, within which, the premises was described as a multi-sports arena where a licence was required to host sports dinners and christenings.  Subsequently, on 21st August, 2018, an application for the Variation of the Premises Licence was received by the Licensing Authority which was attached at Appendix B to the report. 

 

The Officer highlighted that the nature of the proposed variation was to add a range of licensable activities including regulated entertainment and to extend the hours of operation of the premises.  It was important to note that the Applicants had not set out any additional measures to promote the licensing objectives within Section 16 of the application form. 

 

Under the Licensing Act 2003 (Premises and Club Premises Certificates) Regulations 2005 a responsible authority or any other person may make relevant representations at any time during the 28 day consultation period and at the time of the report being prepared, none of the representations had been withdrawn and therefore a full hearing of the Application was required.  The Authority had received a relevant representation from the Responsible Authority Shared Regulatory Services Environmental Health Team and this was attached at Appendix D to the Officer’s report as well as a relevant representation from South Wales Police, attached at Appendix E, and 11 representations from Other Persons attached at Appendix F. 

 

The Officer drew the Committee’s attention to Paragraph 15 of the Officer’s report which stated that a Premises Licence, once granted, would generally remain in force indefinitely and that the circumstances in which it would not do so were:

  • When the licence was revoked; or
  • The Applicant requested a licence for a limited time only; or
  • The licence was suspended; or
  • The licence had lapsed due to some incapacity on the part of the licence holder; or
  • The licence was surrendered. 

Following the Licensing Officer’s presentation of the report, the Chairman invited the Applicant, Mr. Peter Griffiths, to present his case. 

 

Mr. Griffiths advised that he had brought the following witnesses with him to support any questions the Committee had regarding his application:

  • Mr. Malcolm Webb (Rubicon Security);
  • Mr. David Corbett (Rubicon Security); and
  • Mr. Daniel Jefferys (Babaganoosh and Mundane). 

Mr. Griffiths advised that the Vale Sports Arena had developed into a popular place for sport; however, as an active business it had bills to pay and therefore required significant income to remain operational.  He also advised that he had engaged in a lot of communication with Cardiff Council as well as the Vale of Glamorgan Council as the business premises was on the border for Cardiff Council and he was pleased to advise that the venue had been running huge profile events including well known sports personalities.  Mr. Griffiths also wished to state that he had also liaised on several occasions with the South Wales Police persons present at the hearing and their colleagues in Bridgend.  With regards to the additional events alluded to within the application, Mr. Griffiths wished to state that he was not looking to run several events during the working week or a nightclub and over the past three and a half years, whilst running large scale boxing events, there had never been any incident requiring Police presence at the venue.  Mr. Griffiths acknowledged that there had been one noise complaint logged and that he had corresponded with the Environmental Health Department regarding this matter. 


With regard to local residents, Mr. Griffiths advised that he was himself classed as a local resident and fully respected the residents living in the local area, however he wished to highlight that the premises was not considered to be situated in a residential area and with regards to noise levels he had carried out his own recordings to monitor any noise pollution.

 

The majority of activities currently undertaken at the venue were sport related and to inspire a younger generation to remain active and therefore have a healthy lifestyle.  Mr. Griffiths confirmed that 110 events had already taken place throughout the year that had not resulted in Police call outs to the venue and he had recently entered into an agreement with an events company which would be looking to change the dynamics of the Arena to generate greater income.  Therefore, the application before the Committee was made to ensure that Mr. Griffiths was able to operate new events in line with a new business plan without having to submit Temporary Event Notice applications prior to each event.  Mr. Griffiths acknowledged that reference was made in the written representations regarding the quality of the Arena roof, however, he regarded this to be a moot point as the roof would be replaced in due course under the terms of the building’s lease.  This work was absolutely necessary as the lease and the rates depicted the investment in the infrastructure which had issues regarding asbestos.  The Vale Sports Arena was the only venue in the Vale of Glamorgan which currently operated facial recognition software and therefore operated under a high security specification.  Mr. Griffiths had recently entered into a contract with Rubicon Security who were respected for their work undertaken at other high profile venues in the South Wales area and a sound engineer had also been employed to prepare a sound report, however this had not been provided to the Committee. 

 

The Chairman thanked Mr. Griffiths for his representations and asked if any Other Parties had any questions to raise. 

 

In referring to Appendix C of the report, the Licensing Officer asked Mr. Griffiths to confirm whether his understanding of the timings contained within the table were the finish time for the activity or the time that the venue would close.  Mr. Griffiths confirmed that his understanding was that the timings contained within Appendix C were the end time for the licensable activities. 

 

The Licensing Officer also wished to confirm the person capacity for the venue during an event, to which, Mr. Griffiths advised that in line with fire regulations, the maximum capacity for the venue overall was 2,500 people however, it was anticipated that any future planned events would not hold more than 1,800 people as he deemed 2,500 customers an unsafe number for the venue.

 

The Licensing Officer advised that she had had sight of some of the marketing for events that had not yet taken place at the venue and therefore wished to seek clarification on the marketing style for the future business case.  On behalf of Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Jefferys advised that “Vale Warehouse” was a brand which was promoting the Arena as an event space rather than Sports Arena.  To ensure successful events in the future, the venue needed to create its own event identity which would primarily target customers within the 18-30 demographic age group.  It was also important to note that Vale Warehouse was a stepping stone marketing exercise in readiness to develop the business ethos of the venue. 

 

At this point, Mr. Griffiths also wished to add that it was important for the venue to operate two separate identities to ensure that the sports activities/football clubs for children were advertised separately from that of adult social events. 

 

Following the representations made by Mr. Jefferys, the Licensing Officer wished to clarify the legal agreement in place between Mr. Jefferys and Mr Griffiths and, in particular, where the responsibility for meeting the licensing objectives sat.  Mr. Jefferys advised that the responsibility for meeting the licensing objectives remained with Mr. Griffiths; however he would be providing his professional advice regarding events and facilitating decisions that would complement the licensing objectives whilst Rubicon Security would have responsibility for securing all events.  Mr. Griffiths wished to add that the only way that the business would be successful was by working in partnership with all the professional parties that had accompanied him to the hearing. 

 

Still on the matter of security at the venue, Mr Jefferys asked for clarification on the use of body cams for staff and whether it was the recommendation of the South Wales Police that each member of security wear a camera.  P.C Young confirmed that the recommendation was that every member of security staff wear a body camera during events.

 

The Environmental Health Officer wished to clarify if Mr. Jefferys was qualified to answer any queries regarding noise pollution and sound management, to which, Mr. Jefferys advised that he was not a qualified sound expert but could offer his professional opinion having run several music events historically. 

 

A Police Officer wished to clarify the number of events anticipated to be held in the next 12 months.  Mr. Griffiths advised that he hoped to hold an event every weekend of the year with the likelihood of a higher amount of events being held during December; however the majority of the events would be a continuation of the boxing events already held at the venue. 

 

As a supplementary question, the Police Officer wished to clarify what activities would be ongoing at the venue if a scheduled event was not run on a weekend.  Mr. Griffiths advised that activities at the Arena when an event was not taking place would be predominantly football based and that the gym would remain open to members of the public.  Mr. Griffiths also wished to stress at this point that he did not wish to run events every single day. 

 

The Police Officer wished to clarify what consultation had been undertaken to date with regards to a 04.00 hours event finish time and removing people away from the venue.  Mr. Griffiths advised that he did not wish to have customers remaining outside or in the near vicinity to the venue following an event so arrangements would be put in place, similar to those historically arranged, in collaboration with local bus companies and taxi companies with a temporary taxi rank being erected outside the venue that would be manned by event stewards. 

 

As a supplementary question, the Police Officer asked for further detail on the measures put in place to monitor customers outside the venue.  Mr. Griffiths advised that customer security would be the responsibility of Mr.Corbett during an event however, as the licence holder, he would be walking around the venue during the event to monitor customer behaviour and liaising with local transport companies to ensure that vehicles were outside the venue, prior to the end of an event, and that the amount of vehicles would be adequate to accommodate the amount of customers at the event. 

 

A Police Officer wished to clarify if the proposed events would be entry by ticket only and tickets bought in advance.  On behalf of Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Jefferys advised that the proposed music events must be ticketed and purchased in advance due to the nature of the event however, smaller events such as a Christmas market, relied more heavily on customer footfall and therefore was not strictly a ticket in advance event. 

 

The representative of Llandough Town and Community Council (Other Person) asked Mr. Griffiths how he would ensure public safety by preventing individuals walking away from the venue uphill towards Llandough without public footpaths in place.  Mr. Griffiths advised that he had not had any complaints to his company regarding the movement of customers from the venue historically and that he was not in a position to make any changes to bus links and / or pavements as this was under the jurisdiction of the Council. 

 

A Member wished to confirm when the proposed measures intimated by the Applicant would be put into practice at the venue and also as to whether additional lighting could be added to the exterior of the venue.  On behalf of Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Jefferys advised that all measures would be put into practice once it was confirmed that Mr. Griffiths had obtained the licence under discussion and that both himself and Rubicon Security were in line to initiate all measures as soon as possible. 

 

At this point, Mr. Griffiths also wished to add that lighting around the exterior of the venue had already been improved upon and that the pictures contained within the report were not taken recently so, the improvements were not visible from the photographs. 

 

Moving the proceedings on, the Chairman asked the Responsible Authorities to provide factual information about their involvement with the premises and to make reference to the comments in their report, providing any necessary updates after which they could be questioned by all Other Parties present.  The Chairman requested that representations be provided in the order of Licensing Authority followed by Environmental Health and finally South Wales Police. 

 

The Licensing Officer confirmed that she had no further representations to provide and referred the Committee to all points raised within the covering report. 

 

The Environmental Health Officer advised that the Shared Regulatory Environmental Health Section of the Council was in place to support and protect the licensing objectives and to prevent matters of public nuisance such as noise pollution.  All officers within the department were fully qualified to make representations at the hearing and they recognised that the application before the Committee was to approve variations to the existing licensable activities.  During a TEN boxing event on the 1st of June 2018, Environmental Health Officers conducted a site visit 28 minutes after midnight at residential properties approximately 150 meters away from the venue and music was clearly audible. Officers also conducted a visit close to the venue, which was poorly lit, on the same morning and a medic was seen attending to an individual on the floor wearing head bandages. The Officer went on to apprise the committee of a second site visit which was conducted on the 9-10th June and raised the same concerns regarding noise pollution.  Following the music event held on that day, the first of two noise complaints were received by the authority.  The final and most recent site visit, conducted during a music event taking place on the 18-19th August, also raised concerns over noise pollution as well as smells evident from mobile food facilities at the venue.  The roof was vibrating due to the levels of music being played during the event.  The Environmental Health Department was of the opinion that what was being proposed in the variation application was not in the public’s interest and could be operated under a Temporary Event Notice application up to the maximum of 500 persons.  The Officer was unable to comment on the activities undertaken within Cardiff venues, however it was important to note that the Cardiff venues referred to by Mr. Griffiths were very different to that of the Vale Sports Arena and that recent amendments to the infrastructure of the building were made under an Enforcement Notice issued by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.  The late timings proposed were of significant concern and would not prevent public nuisance and although the venue was not immediately surrounded by residential properties, there were residential properties in the near vicinity in the Llandough area and Cardiff Bay.  Previous events held at the venue had not taken place to the frequency of that proposed by Mr. Griffiths going forward and it was of great concern that the Environmental Health Department had not been provided with any technical reports to alleviate their concerns.  As already highlighted by the Licensing Officer, if the licence was approved, there would be no cap on the number of events being held at the venue which would be inconsiderate to local residents whose sleep would be disrupted due to noise pollution.  It was not the intention of the Environmental Health Department to obstruct business development, however the Department had a duty to protect the interests of local residents and the venue structure was not conducive to limiting noise. 

 

The South Wales Police advised that over the last three and a half years, under the current licence in place at the premises, the Police had received four calls regarding the venue which was negligible compared to other venues in the Vale of Glamorgan however, at the moment, the majority of activities that were undertaken at the venue were predominantly for young children and sport related.  Therefore, the variation submitted had the potential to entirely change the dynamics of the venue and it was concerning to observe via social media events being advertised as “raves” with much later finishing hours.  Events on such a large scale and with a significant increase in the number of patrons on site would be a massive resource issue for the Police force and that there was currently a huge commitment to the night time economy in the Barry area that was running on much smaller numbers than those proposed at any one time in the venue.  It was concerning that at a late hour customers would be exiting the venue onto a dimly lit Penarth Road and there had been no evidence provided to suggest that a contract was already in place for transporting customers away from the venue. 

 

On permission from the Chairman, the Applicant began the questioning of the Responsible Authorities by asking how many complaints had been received recently by the Environmental Health Department.  The Environmental Health Officer advised that all observations of the venue had been made in 2018 and that a letter was received by Mr. Griffiths setting out the complaints received. 

 

On behalf of Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Jefferys wished to clarify the acceptable decibel level for in and around a venue from the Environmental Health Officer, to which, the Environmental Health Officer expressed her great disappointment that the question had not been raised and answered within the original application as was the responsibility of the Applicant.  There was no set appropriate decibel reading as this depended upon the type of event, distance to residential properties and the level of base noise escaping the venue.  At this point, the Environmental Health Officer wished to add that Section 16, page 20, of the application repeatedly stated, “as original application” and therefore did not provide any reassurance to the Responsible Authorities at how future events would be managed.  Irrelevant of noise pollution the suggested end times for future events were antisocial and inappropriate. 

 

On behalf of Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Cobett asked the South Wales Police to clarify whether their primary concern was the sheer number of customers attending an event or the process for moving them away from the venue at the end of an event.  A Police Officer advised that it was not the amount of persons at the event but more the significant change of type of event at the venue.  Public disorder was unavoidable at large scale events but it was still unclear on the exact amount of people expected to attend the future events.  With limited Police resources currently available to accommodate the additional events at the venue it was of great concern and considering that many local transport companies may already be booked up on weekend evenings, the Applicant was unable to confirm how customers would be removed from a dimly lit venue and a significant crowd of around 1,800 people.  As a supplementary question, Mr. Cobett asked the South Wales Police whether they deemed the future proposed music events a greater public risk than the boxing events already held which were already of a significant size.  A Police Officer advised that it was not feasible to compare a boxing event with a student event as the clientele was significantly different and during his career, there had not been a drop in antisocial behaviour at large scale social events. 

 

The Chairman then invited the Llandough Town and Community Council representative (Other Person) to make their representations.

 

Dr. Misra began by advising that the concerns of local residents were validated following the strong objections made by the Council’s Environmental Health Department and the South Wales Police.  The primary concern of local residents was that if the variation licence was granted then the Applicant would be entitled to hold more events which would equal a larger and more frequent customer footfall at the venue.  He acknowledged that the Applicant was working towards reducing noise pollution from the venue however had been unable to demonstrate adequate consideration of this fact to the Environmental Health experts prior to the hearing. 

 

Following Dr. Misra’s statements, Mr. Griffiths wished to add that he saw no impact on local residents regarding the licence variation and that the proposed events would be deemed as small events and he would continue to work with the Town and Community Council and local residents to mitigate any of their concerns. 

 

The Chairman provided all parties with the opportunity to summarise their representations. 

 

The Licensing Officer advised that she had nothing further to add but wished to draw the Committee’s attention to the fact that the Applicant had also applied for 10 special events per year with a licensable activity ending time of 04.00 hours with the venue closing at 04.30 hours. 

 

The Environmental Health Officer summarised that the primary objections of the Department were the new proposed ending times for the licensable activities and the lack of sound plan produced to the Environmental Health Department in advance of the hearing. 

 

The Police Officer wished to reiterate that if the licence was granted, as proposed by the Applicant, it would significantly change the dynamics of the venue and the night time economy requiring Police resources. 

 

Dr. Misra confirmed that he had no further representations to add.

 

Mr. Griffiths summarised the points he had already raised during the hearing and wished to leave the Committee with the comment that the Vale Sports Arena was his personal work legacy and he wished to run an Arena which was a second home to young people and it was unfortunate that the current activities would not generate enough income to pay the business rates. 

 

During the final clarification point for Members, a Member asked if Mr Griffiths was agreeing with all of the conditions set out by South Wales Police at Appendix E of the report, to which, Mr. Griffiths confirmed that despite a significant financial impact resulting from the conditions, he was accepting them. 

 

There being no further discussions, all parties retired from the Chamber to allow the Committee to consider the Application in private.

 

On returning, the Chairman confirmed that the Application was for a variation of a Premises Licence at Vale Sports Arena, Penarth Road, in the Vale of Glamorgan and that the Application sought a variation of the Premises Licence as set out in Appendix C of the hearing papers. 

 

In delivering the decision of the Sub-Committee, the Chairman summarised the verbal and written representations received by all parties and comments received during the hearing as set out in the minutes above. 

 

The Chairman advised that following consideration of the Application, the representations from the Local Authority’s Licensing Department, the Local Authority’s Environmental Health Department, South Wales Police, and Other Persons, and having considered the Home Office Guidance along with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy also taking into account the Licensing Act 2003 (As Amended) and the Licensing Objectives, the Licensing Sub-Committee

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the variation application be granted with the addition of all conditions as outlined in the representations by South Wales Police at Appendix E in the report. 

 

(2)       T H A T the hours for all licensable activities be:

            Sunday – Thursday until 01:00 hours, with venue closure at 01:30 hours;

            Friday and Saturday until 02:00 hours, with venue closure at 02:30 hours.

           

(3)       T H A T extended hours for public holidays be granted until 03:00 hours with venue closure at 03:30 hours. 

 

(4)       T H A T in relation to the additional ten occasions, a condition be included that South Wales Police and the Licensing Authority be given 14 clear days’ notice of operation of these additional events with a licensable activity end time of 03:00 with venue closure at 03:30. 

 

Reason for decisions

 

As outlined above.  The Licensing Sub-Committee, in granting the Application, had considered the Application along with all written and oral submissions.  The Licensing Sub-Committee had taken into account the Licensing Act 2003 (As Amended), in particular the Licensing Objectives and the Home Office Guidance along with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy. 

 

It was recognised that the venue had been operating without major concern for a number of years from South Wales Police and that noise complaints were limited compared to the number of events undertaken to date.  Assurances as to noise management had been accepted; however, if these should not meet the Committee’s expectations, the matter would be referred back to Committee for review together with any concerns over the types of event which may materially alter the type of venue that was currently operated. 

 

The Licensing Sub-Committee advised that the Applicant had a right of appeal against the decision of the Sub-Committee and that this had to be made in writing within 21 days to the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Magistrates Court.  Should the Applicant be in any doubt as to their legal rights and social responsibilities they should take legal advice.