Report of the Head of Licensing attached.
The Panel met to consider an application for a variation of the Premises Licence relating to the Lime Bar, 42 Liverpool Road, Penwortham pursuant to the provisions of Section 34 of the Licensing Act 2003. In summary the application sought to:
1. remove live music and recorded music as licensable activities
2. alter the permitted opening times and the permitted timings for the sale of alcohol and Late Night Refreshment
3. remove conditions from the operating schedule
4. add alternative conditions to the operating schedule.
A number of representations from members of the public had been received in respect of the application. The council’s Environmental Health services team had also initially made representations in respect of the application; however, following discussions with the applicant agreement was reached as the conditions to be imposed on the licence. Accordingly they withdrew their representations.
Carol Rialas was in attendance at the hearing from the applicant’s company. The company was represented by Malcolm Ireland from Napthens LLP.
Mr Stephen Crookes – one of the people who had made representations to the application – was also in attendance.
Mark Marshall (the council’s Head of Licensing) took the Panel through the contents of the committee report. He explained the background to this application and the procedure that would be followed in the hearing.
Mr Ireland was invited to present the applicant’s case. Mr Ireland explained the thinking behind the application. He explained that some of the proposed changes to conditions were designed to tidy up the existing provisions.
Mr Ireland explained the difficulties with the condition that required a vestibule. He further explained that the intention behind the proposals for late night refreshment was to enable the premises to serve hot drinks after 11.00pm.
Mr Ireland explained that the premises was seeking an extra 15 minutes each night for “drinking up” time. At the moment only 15 minutes drinking up each night was permitted. This was considered to be somewhat unusual in the industry.
Mr Ireland explained that the existing conditions only allowed deliveries on a weekday. This was impractical.
Mr Ireland explained that the earlier opening (9.30 each day) was designed to allow the premises to provide breakfasts and hot drinks. Mr Ireland also explained the difficulties with the current condition dealing with the external area. He explained how this situation would be dealt with by the proposed new conditions.
He also made comment on a number of other conditions that it was proposed should be removed and in some cases replaced with new wording – they included conditions relating to the opening of doors and windows, deliveries, waste storage. He also explained the thinking behind why live and recorded music should be removed from the licence.
Mr Ireland then explained the relevance of the Daniel Thwaites vs Wirral Borough Magistrates court case to this application. Important points to be gleaned from this case included: the need for evidence to support any representations that are made and the importance and weight to be given to representations from responsible authorities such as the police.
Mr Ireland then at length went through the representations that had been made in this case and provided his comments on how relevant and/or valid such representations were in his opinion.
Mr Crookes then had his opportunity to speak to the Panel. He took the Panel through the history of the site, He also explained the geographical location. He explained how close the Lime Bar was to so some residential properties. He further explained that the police had objected to the planning application for the Lime Bar. He was very concerned with the proposed increase in hours for the premises. He was also concerned with the proposals for the external area. He considered that the increase in hours could lead to both an increase in crime and disorder and public nuisance. He was further concerned that if you granted longer hours for these premises then other premises in the vicinity would also seek to increase their hours.
Both parties were then given the opportunity to sum up.
Mr Whelan – the council’s Legal Services Manager – then gave some general legal advice. He explained that the decision had to be made in the context of the Licensing Act and the statutory guidance pertaining to it. He explained that the Panel needed to focus on what the proposed variations were and assess them against the licensing objectives and decide whether they should be permitted. He explained that it was imperative that the application should be considered solely with regard to licensing issues – some of the representations made were more directly relevant to planning, not licensing.
In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
1. Both Written and Oral Evidence presented in connection with the hearing
2. The Licensing Act 2003
3. S182 Guidance of the Licensing Act 2003
4. South Ribble Borough Council – Licensing Policy
The Panel considered the application in the context of the Licensing objectives – in this particular instance the objectives that were most directly relevant were impact on Public Nuisance and Crime and Disorder. Whilst the Panel were sympathetic to some of the concerns articulated by the residents nevertheless they noted that the proposed change of hours (for opening and consumption of alcohol) were relatively modest. They considered the most significant change was an extra hours drinking on a Friday night.
The Panel gave careful consideration to the removal of any requirement for a vestibule to the premises. With regard to this – and all other issues relating to public nuisance – the Panel noted that the council’s Environmental Health team had withdrawn their representations to the application on the basis of some agreed conditions being imposed. These conditions had clearly been designed to ameliorate the general situation.
The Panel also gave due weight to the email from the police to the solicitor for the applicant dated the 21st of August 2018. In particular it was stated: “Since the opening of the premise at the end of February 2017 I have not noted any patterns of crime and disorder at the premise and can assure you that if I had, I would have liaised with the owners of the bar. We have a good working relationship with Carol and her team and have found her to be a good operator.” It was further stated: “In my opinion, the level of crime and disorder at the premise is very low considering the high footfall of customers at the premise. I cover over 2400 licensed premises in my area and had the Lime Bar been a concern then I would have submitted a Police representation.”
Thus from the point of view of the Public Nuisance and Crime and Disorder objectives the relevant responsible authorities were both satisfied with what was proposed.
In the context of the above the Panel considered whether any members of the public had produced any evidence sufficient to persuade them to take a different line to these responsible authorities and refuse - either in full or in part – what was being applied for. The Panel concluded that there was no such persuasive evidence. Further the Panel considered that there were no other reasons (relating to the four Licensing objectives) why the variation should not be allowed.
Accordingly it was decided to grant the application in accordance with the application (as amended) and as set out below:
The Hours granted are as follows:
Permitted Opening Times
Sunday – Thursday 09:30 to 23:15
Friday to Saturday 09:30 to 00:15
Sales of Alcohol
Sunday – Thursday 11:00 to 22:45
Friday to Saturday 11:00 to 23:45
Late Night Refreshment
Sunday – Thursday 23:00 to 23:15
Friday to Saturday 23:00 to 00:15
Live Music and Recorded Music be removed as licensable activities
The following conditions in Annex 2 of the premises licence should be removed
Condition numbers 3, 4, 9, 13, 14, 19, and 20
For the sake of clarity all other conditions set out in Annex 2 of the premises licence shall continue to apply.
The following new conditions shall be imposed:
1. The number of customers who are permitted to consume food or drinks in the external area at any one time will be limited to sixty.
2. Customers will not be permitted to take drinks into any external areas after 22:00 each day.
3. Customers will not be permitted to use the garden area to the West of the premises at any time.
4. Signage will be erected in conspicuous positions in external areas of the premises advising customers that causing disturbance or disorder will result in removal from the premises.
5. The premises shall operate and maintain a CCTV system which shall be in use during all times licensable activities are taking place and comply with the following criteria:
· The system shall cover all entrances and exits of the premises, all external areas, and any areas of the premises used to store alcohol;
· The focus of the cameras shall be so as to enable clear identification of persons on the premises;
· The system will be capable of time and date stamping recordings and retaining said recordings for at least 28 days;
· The Data Controller shall make footage available to a Police officer or other authorised officer where such a request is made in accordance with the Data Protection Act or any subsequent or alternative legislation;
6.written policy on the management of public disorder will be submitted by the premises to the Licensing Authority for approval, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld.
7. Deliveries and waste collection shall only be permitted between 08:00 and 19:00 on weekdays and between 10:00 and 19:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.
8. With the exception of deliveries of beer, there shall be no deliveries made to the rear of the premises.
9. A soft floor surface will be installed on the path to the rear of the premises to ensure that disturbance caused by beer deliveries is minimal.
10. On delivery, beer kegs will be transported to the rear of the premises on a trolley or on a suitable alternative device as opposed to being rolled on the floor.
11. Windows and doors will be kept closed at all times (with the exception of access and egress) except for the windows and doors to the front of the property (adjacent to Liverpool Road),in respect of which the following will apply:
· The main public entrance doors are permitted to be open until 19:00 each day
· The bi-fold doors are permitted to be open until 17:00 each day
12. There shall be no hot food served after 23:00.
All parties at the hearing were advised that if they were aggrieved by the decision, they had a right to appeal the decision to the Magistrates Court within 21 days.