Agenda item - Ha, Ha Bar and Grill, 2-3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton : Application to Vary Existing Premises Licence
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Ha, Ha Bar and Grill, 2-3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton : Application to Vary Existing Premises Licence
- Meeting of Licensing Panel (Licensing Act 2003 Functions), Wednesday, 5th January, 2011 10.00am (Item 98.)
Report of the Head of Environmental Health and Licensing (copy attached)
98.1 The Panel were requested to determine an application for Variation of Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for Ha! Ha! Bar and Grill, 2 – 3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton.
98.2 Inspector Vicki Harris was present on behalf of the Police accompanied by Mr David Bateup. Ms Catriona Macbeth was in attendance on behalf of the Council’s Trading Standards Section. Mr Philip Prior was in attendance on behalf of the applicants and was accompanied by their legal representative, Mr Michael Palmer.
98.3 Sarah Cornell, Licensing Officer referred to the changes requested under the variation and referred to representations which had been received from Sussex Police and Trading Standards relating Prevention of Crime and Disorder and Protection of Children from Harm. The premises were situated within the Cumulative Impact Area (CIA). It was confirmed that the effect of the special policy in relation to the CIA would be for applications for new premises licences or for variations which it was considered would add to the existing cumulative impact would normally be refused following consideration of the relevant representations. This presumption could be rebutted by the applicant if they could show that their application would have no negative cumulative impact.
98.4 Before proceeding to formal consideration of the application Mr Palmer requested leave to address the Committee explaining that following further discussions with the Police all of their proposed conditions had been agreed to with the exception of the Challenge 25 Policy which remained the only issue of contention.
98.5 Inspector Harris confirmed that confirmed this was so referring to the letter from the Police dated 30 November 2010. The variation sought to increase the hours for the supply of alcohol on Sundays by one hour, starting at 11.00 instead of 12.00 as per the existing licence. Sussex Police had no objections to this minor increase in hours during the day time despite the fact that the premises were situated in the CIA. All of the other proposed conditions proposed by the Police had been agreed by the applicants including additional wording in relation to the provision of registered door supervisors and the proposals which would result in a tidying up and simplification of the existing licence were welcomed. The applicants had not however, agreed to imposition of a Challenge 25 Policy. The Police remained of the view that a Challenge 25 would be more appropriate than the company’s own Challenge 21 Policy as this would be consistent with that operating within the CIA.
98.6 Councillor Watkins sought clarification regarding operation of the Challenge 25 policy and whether it was that or a Challenge 21 Policy which was the most commonly used across the City. Inspector Harris stated that Challenge 25 was sought on all new premises licences and when variations were sought. The vast majority of premises operated a Challenge 25 Policy and there were indications that this requirement could become law.
98.7 Inspector Harris went on to explain that the Challenge 25 policy meant that any one attempting to buy alcohol who appeared to be under 25 would be asked for photographic ID to prove their age. The only forms of ID that would be accepted were passports, driving licences with a photograph or Portman Group, Citizen Card or Validate proof of age cards bearing the “Pass” mark hologram. The list of approved forms of ID could be amended or revised with the prior written agreement of Sussex Police and the Licensing Authority without the need to amend the licence or conditions attaching to it.
98.8 Notwithstanding that the applicants had agreed to implement all of their proposed conditions with the exception of a Challenge 25 policy, Inspector Harris re-iterated that the Police were still requesting that this was met, as this was consistent with the policy operating elsewhere in the City and especially within the CIA. It was some times difficult to assess the age of younger customers and adoption of a Challenge 25 Policy was considered to provide a suitably robust approach which also provided a measure of protection for staff too, rather than relying on their own judgement. Young people using the CIA were used to being requested to provide identification in line with Challenge 25 and for different to requirements to be met in different establishments created confusion.
98.9 Ms Macbeth then gave the representations on behalf of Trading Standards, stating that as the basis of their representations related purely to Challenge 25 their officers were in agreement with the Police that the premises should operate Challenge 25 rather than Challenge 21. In response to a question asked by Ms Macbeth it was confirmed that it was anticipated that the sale of food/ alcohol in the premises would be 60% food and 40% alcohol sales.
98.10 Mr Palmer spoke on behalf of the applicants in support of their application. He explained that the Mitchells and Butler Group who had recently purchased the Ha Ha bar had experience of running 2,000 premises across the uk including prominent locations in major cities and already owned and operated “Browns” in Brighton. The Ha Ha Bar had been purchased the previous August and would re-open as an “All Bar One” premises following refurbishment. The new premises would have a stronger emphasis towards food sales. The company had been at the forefront of supporting a Challenge 21 policy some 12 years previously.
98.11 Their “brand” was not especially youth orientated and a Challenge 21 policy was commensurate with policy and was integrated into the regular training staff received both at induction and on an-going basis. There was no history of failed test purchases, incidence of under age drinking or of other crime or nuisance in relation to this premises and it was considered that to implement such a change would create confusion for staff. The Challenge 21 policy currently in place was applied rigorously and had not given rise to problems and as such was considered to be proportionate and appropriate. The applicants were also proposing to increase and improve on existing signage within the premises.
98.12 Councillor Lepper, the Chairman sought asked why the applicants wished to maintain a Challenge 21 policy notwithstanding that both the Police and Trading Standards had indicated that their preference would be to operate a Challenge 25 policy. Mr Palmer responded that as this was at variance with the policy in operation across their premises portfolio and, given that there had been no problems relating to the operation of these premises in the past he considered it would cause confusion for staff. In answer to questions by Councillor Watkins, Mr Palmer confirmed that if there was a change in existing legislation or a condition to that effect was imposed, the applicants would operate a Challenge 25 policy.
98.13 The Licensing Officer, Ms Cornell then made her closing submissions on behalf of the Licensing Authority.
98.14 Inspector Harris made the closing submission on behalf of the Police re-iterating that the Police remained of the view that it would be appropriate for a Challenge 25 policy to be in operation at the premises. Although there was no history of trouble associated with the premises, a Challenge 25 policy would be consistent with that operating in other premises within the CIA in particular and which was clearly understood by premises staff, the Police, Officers in attendance on behalf of the Licensing authority and customers.
98.15 Ms Macbeth, Trading Standards concurred with the points made by the Police in relation this matter and stated that she had nothing further to add.
98.16 Mr Palmer made the closing submission on behalf of the applicants stressing the amendments proposed to the existing licence in order to rationalise and simplify it and the applicant’s willingness to accede to the requirements requested by the Police with the exception of implementation of a Challenge 25 policy. The applicants’ rationale for operating a Challenge 21 policy
98.17 The Chairman stated that the Panel had listened carefully to all the representations made. The Panel had no reason to think that this operation is not a responsible trader and had considered whether by increasing the licensable hours it would promote the Licensing Objectives bearing in mind that the premises was situated in the CIA. The proposed variations to the Licence agreed with the Police were welcomed and the Panel were also happy to grant the increase in hours requested. As the Panel shared the concerns of the Police and Trading Standards they would require the applicant to operate a Challenge 25 Policy.
98.18 RESOLVED – That Conditions of the premises licence of Ha Ha Bar and Grill, 2-3 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton attached to the Justices On Licence issued on 4 May 2005 (Pages 56 -60 of the circulated agenda papers) be varied in order to comply with the recommendations suggested by the Police and set out below :
The hours for the supply of alcohol on Sundays be increased by one hour, starting at 11.00 instead of 12.00 as per the existing licence.
Page 56: Condition 1(CCTV) - Revised in accordance with wording agreed with the Police;
Condition 2 – To be removed;
Conditions 3 – 6 To remain as existing;
Condition 7 – Revised in accordance with wording agreed with the Police;
Condition 8 – To be removed;
Condition – 9 to remain as existing;
Condition 10 – To be removed.
Thereafter, all existing conditions to be removed. Existing Annex 2 – Conditions Consistent with the Operating Schedule: to be replaced by the following:
The prevention of crime and disorder
Digital CCTV and appropriate recoding equipment to be installed, operated and maintained throughout the premises and externally and internally to cover all public areas with sufficient numbers of cameras as agreed with Sussex Police. CCTV footage will be stored for a minimum of 28 days, and the management will give full and immediate cooperation and technical assistance to the Police in the event that CCTV footage is required for the prevention and detection of suspected or alleged crime. The CCTV images will record ad display dates and times, and these times will be checked regularly to ensure their accuracy. The management of the premises will ensure that key staff are fully trained in the operation of the CCTV, and will be able to download selected footage onto a disk for the police without difficulty or delay.
The provision of SIA registered door supervisors will be on a documented risk assessment basis to be made available to the Police and Licensing Officers on request.
The provision of SIA registered door supervisors will be on a documented risk assessment basis to be made available to the Police and Council Licensing officers on request.
The manager will be an active member of the BCRP.
For the prevention of public nuisance
The licensee must ensure that people on or leaving the premises conduct themselves in an orderly manner at all times and do not in any way cause annoyance to residents and people passing by the premises. Appropriate signage to this effect to be displayed inside the premises.
The licensee shall ensure that noise or vibration does not emanate from the premises so as to cause a nuisance to nearby properties.
The protection of children from harm
The premises will operate a “Challenge 25” policy whereby any person attempting to buy alcohol who appears to be under 25 will be asked for photographic ID to prove their age. The only forms of ID that will be accepted are passports, driving licences with a photograph of Portman Group, Citizen Card or Validate proof of age cards bearing the “Pass” mark hologram. The list of approved forms of ID may be amended or revised with the prior written agreement of Sussex Police and the Licensing Authority without the need to amend the licence or conditions attaching to it.
Suitable and sufficient signage advertising the “Challenge 25” policy will be displayed in prominent locations in the premises.
The premises licence holder will ensure that all staff members engaged in selling alcohol on the premises shall receive induction training as the lawful selling of age restricted products prior to the selling of such products, and verbal reinforcement/refresher training thereafter at intervals of no les than 8 weeks, with the ate and time of the verbal reinforcement/refresher training documented.
All such training shall be fully documented and recorded. All training records shall be made available to Sussex police and Brighton and Hove Council’s Trading Standards Service upon request.
Note: The legal adviser to the Panel confirmed that the applicants would be notified of the decision in writing setting out details of their appeal rights.