Agenda item - Superchef, 116 St James' Street, Brighton

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Agenda item

Superchef, 116 St James' Street, Brighton

Report of the Assistant Director of Public Safety (copy attached).


124.1        The Panel considered a report of the Assistant Director of Public Safety regarding the application for a variation of a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for Superchef, 116 St James’ Road, Brighton.


124.2        Mr Hadian and Mr A Hadian attended the hearing to speak in favour of the application, and Mr Bateup from Sussex Police, Dr Thomas and Mrs Henderson both local residents, and Councillor Duncan on behalf of Mrs Bishop and Mrs Shiels attended the hearing to speak against the application.


124.3        The Senior Senior Environmental Health Officer began his representation by stating that the application was for an extension of hours and for application of Late Night Refreshment. Representations had been received from local residents and the police citing noise disturbance and that the application was sited in the Cumulative Impact Area.


124.4        The Senior Environmental Health Officer reminded the Panel that they must take into consideration the Cumulative Impact Policy when deciding the application, which needed to demonstrate no negative cumulative impact. The Senior Environmental Health Officer highlighted that there was no representation from Senior Environmental Health Officers regarding noise nuisance and they had not received a noise complaint since 2002.


There had been a complaint received in 2008 stating that the premises was open for trade after hours, and Licensing Officers had witnessed this. The Premise Licence had been transferred to a new owner and he had been reminded of the conditions on his licence by the Police. There had been further breaches of conditions however, and a letter of warning was sent in January 2009. It was noted that continued operation of out of hours trade would also breach Planning Regulations, but the Senior Environmental Health Officer stated that these to regimes should remain separate when making a decision on the application.


124.5        Mr Bateup from Sussex Police began his representation by stating that the premises remained a problem for the Police, and although a late night licence had been applied for several times, they had objected each time due to the nature of the premises and the sensitive area it was situated in. It was noted that St James Street was a high crime area and residents experienced problems of crime and disorder and public nuisance.


124.6        Mr Bateup noted that a recent Licensing Panel had rejected an application in this area by Tesco to sell alcohol, and a further problem premises, known as Jennifer’s was situated opposite. He stated that Jennifer’s was a useful barometer when considering any further applications for late night licences in this area. A recent Section 161 Notice had been issued in this area after a fatal stabbing had occurred. Sussex Police were very concerned that this application would only increase crime and disorder in this area due to the high frequency of clubbers who frequented St James Street and surrounding streets.


Mr Bateup stated that the applicant had made no reference to the Cumulative Impact Area in his application, which he was required to do. He also noted that although Planning and Licensing were separate regimes, it was important to note that this premises had not been given planning permission to open for late night trading. As such Mr Bateup requested that the Panel refuse the application of the grounds of Prevention of Crime & Disorder.


124.7        Councillor Lepper asked whether the Police had been called to the premises for incidents occurring after it was meant to be closed. Mr Bateup stated that there was no specific evidence that this premises was causing problems, but due to the general problems in the area he felt that granting the licence would lead to further problems.


124.8        The Chairman asked whether people were allowed to stay on the premises after midnight, and Mr Bateup explained that the premises had to stop trading at 00:00, but customers were allowed to finish consuming food for a short period of time.


124.9        Councillor Lepper noted there had been several previous applications for extension of the hours on the licence, and asked if there was a moratorium on applying, if an application had failed already. Mr Bateup replied that applicants could apply as many times as they liked, as often as they liked.


124.10      The Panel Solicitor stated that each application had to be treated as a new application and only on its merits.


124.11      Dr Thomas began her representation by stating that the application would not uphold the licensing objectives of Prevention of Public Nuisance and Prevention of Crime and Disorder. She stated that the premises was in the Cumulative Impact Area, where applications had to demonstrate they would have no negative cumulative impact, and she did not feel that this application had achieved this, and was already disregarding the conditions on its current licence.


She noted that her concerns were based on experience rather than belief and noted there had been a history of disregard of licensing policy at this establishment, and felt that a legalisation of the hours currently traded would be a dismal prospect for residents. Dr Thomas felt that if this premises was allowed to open late at night, it would attract noisy crowds who would be encouraged to linger in the area and the resulting low level crime and anti-social behaviour would significantly disturb local residents. She noted that there were already many problems in this area, caused by the high instance of licensed premises. She asked the Panel to reject the application on these grounds.


124.12      Mrs Henderson began her representation and requested that the Panel maintain the current closing hours for the establishment. She felt that this premises did not contribute to the local community and already noise from passers-by on the street was causing significant disturbance. She had been disturbed by a noisy extractor fan at the premises, and waste bins were not being emptied regularly, and Mrs Henderson felt that this was evidence of the poor management of the premises. If a licence application was granted it would exacerbate already existing problems.


124.13      Councillor Duncan began his representation by stating that he was speaking on behalf of local residents as Ward Councillor and on behalf of the Kingscliff Society. He noted that this premises had a long history of causing problems of public nuisance and noise and disorder. He noted that this was principally a residential area and the current restrictions on the licence were entirely appropriate. If the licensed hours were extended it would create further problems of nuisance because experience of these problems was already evident. He asked the Panel to refuse the licence application.


124.14      Councillor Marsh asked whether any change in the regime had been experienced since the new owner had taken over, and Councillor Duncan stated that there had been no different.


124.15      Mr Hadian began his representation and stated that he had attempted to negotiate with local residents to resolve the problems being experienced, and noted that problems with the extractor fan had already been resolved.


He noted that he had hired a Security Company that provided a Mobile Support Unit and had installed CCTV in the premises. He felt that all of the problems that the residents were experiencing were due to other premises on the street and did not think that his premise should be penalised due to its location. Mr Hadian stated that he needed the extra hours on the licence to remain competitive with other local businesses that were already open late at night. He offered to have door staff from 22:00 to ensure that there were no problems of crime and disorder from his premises, and noted he wanted to have a good relationship with his neighbours. He noted that if any problems ensued from his premises, the licence could be taken to review and the extended hours removed.


124.16      The Chairman asked whether Mr Hadian had known the hours of opening on the licence when he had taken the premises over, and he stated that he had not been open after hours, and there had only been one breach of the licence conditions.


124.17      Mr Bateup confirmed that officers had witnessed one incident of trading past opening hours, and a letter had been sent to Mr Hadian on 13 January 2009 reminding him of the licence conditions.


124.18      Councillor Lepper asked Mr Hadian to confirm he had abided by the hours on his licence since opening and stated that there had only been one incident of breach since he had been responsible for the premises. He noted that this breach had occurred in the first few weeks of opening and the Premise Licence had not arrived in his possession until after this.


124.19      Mr Bateup asked Mr Hadian if he was aware that he could not hold the dual roles of Premises Licence Holder and security door staff, and he confirmed that he was.


124.20      Councillor Duncan asked if Mr Hadian was not aware of the hours on the licence before he had taken over the premises, and he stated he was not.


124.21      Mr A Hadian, on behalf of Mr Hadian, stated that several Temporary Event Notices had been applied for at the premises and asked whether the residents had experienced and trouble on those nights where the premises had opened late. The residents confirmed that they had not experienced and further trouble on these nights, and the Senior Environmental Health Officer confirmed that the maximum amount allowed was fifteen per year.


124.22      The Senior Environmental Health Officer began his final statement and noted that the granting of the licence would not allow the premises to open late at night as it still needed to gain planning permission. He stated that if the application had shown that it did not have any negative cumulative impact then the licence should be granted. If further conditions needed to be placed on the licence to promote the licensing objectives, then that was the course of action that should be taken. If the Panel were minded to refuse the application, then they should state the reasons why conditions would not be effective in promoting the licensing objectives.


124.23      Mr Bateup began his final representation by stating that the premises needed to operate within the law before any thought could be given to extending the current hours. It was a sensitive premises in a sensitive area and the Cumulative Impact Policy needed to be given due consideration. He recognised there were no specific problems as yet, but comparisons could be drawn with Jennifer’s Shop, which had a history of problems and violence.


124.24      Dr Thomas began her final submission and referred to paragraph 4.1 of the Licensing Policy, which stated that any application had to have regard to its location. She felt this premises was too close to residential homes and the noise emanating from the premises would cause significant disturbance if allowed to open later. She stated that due regard needed to be given to the history of the premises and the problems of the area and asked for the Panel to refuse the licence.


124.25      RESOLVED – that the application for variation of the premises licence is refused.


The Panel felt that the granting of the variation of the licence would undermine the licensing objectives of Prevention of Public Nuisance and Prevention of Crime and Disorder. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the granting of this application would have no negative cumulative impact and would not add to the existing problems in the area.

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