Greenwich Council

Decision details

Expo International, 244 Plumstead High Street, SE18

Decision Maker: Licensing Sub-Committee C

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

In reaching its decision the Sub Committee considered the Council’s statement of Licensing Policy, the Licensing Act 2003, the Regulations made thereunder and the Guidance issued by the Secretary of State under S.182 of that Act. In discharging its functions the Sub Committee did so with a view to promoting the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

 

Having considered all the evidence put before it the Sub-Committee decided to refuse the Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003 in respect of the

 

Expo International Supermarket, 244 Plumstead High Street SE18 1JN

 

The Licensing Sub-Committee heard from the Applicant’s representative who referred to her written representations and petition from customers of the licensed premises. She stated that the Applicant had sought to extend the hours for the supply of alcohol for 24 hours daily because customers had consistently requested it. However, in view of the objections that had been received, the applicant asked the Sub-Committee to consider an extension of the licensing hours for an additional 2 hours as opposed to a variation of hours to allow alcohol to be sold 24 hours daily as initially requested.  It was noted by the Sub-Committee that this was the first time the applicant had indicated that he would be prepared to seek a reduction in hours and neither the Police nor other Responsible Authorities had been consulted to seek their views. 

 

The Sub Committee heard from the Police who referred to his written application and re-iterated his concerns that was based on public nuisance and crime and disorder licensing objectives. He told the Licensing Sub-Committee that the licensed premise was located on a busy high street in an area that was heavily residential with licensed premises close by, none of which, sold alcohol past midnight. The premises also fell within the cumulative impact zone. The Police stated that the area was already subject to anti-social behaviour with youth gathering in the street, that there were on-going alcohol related crimes (such as assaults), street drinking, drunkenness and that the behaviour was spread throughout the local high street until midnight and that an extension of the licensing hours to supply alcohol would result in the anti-social behaviour continuing for the duration of hours extended by the licence. In response to the question by the Licensing Sub-Committee regarding whether there were any conditions that would satisfy the Police and deal with their concerns. The Police replied ‘No’. The Licensing Sub Committee accepted the representations of the Police and placed significant weight on it.

 

The Public Health addressed the Licensing Sub-Committee making reference to their detailed written representations. They objected to the extension of the licensing hours on public safety and protection of children from harm licensing objectives. The Sub-Committee heard that the consumption of alcohol had a huge impact on the health and well- being and that six per cent of hospital admissions in Greenwich was attributable to alcohol. It was pointed out that within 300 metres of the licensed premises, that ‘both alcohol-related and under-26 alcohol-related ambulance call outs [fell] within the top 1%. Ambulance recorded assaults and head injuries [fell] within the top 30% for volume within Greenwich’. The Sub-Committee was again reminded that the licensed premises fell within the cumulative impact zone and was also one of the most deprived wards in the borough and had a ‘higher rate of ambulance call outs for alcohol related illness and a higher violence against the person rate than the Greenwich average’. The Sub-Committee placed considerable weight on the Public Health’s representations.

 

Councillor Cornforth whilst referring to her written representations informed the Sub-Committee that she had worked hard with other agencies in order that Plumstead High Street may be re-generated to become a vibrant and safe environment. She stated that there were 2 local schools in the area and that action was being taken to ensure that the High Street was a safe and healthy one. The Sub-Committee was told that residents were unhappy with the application for the extended hours and she urged the Sub-Committee to recognise the reasons a cumulative impact policy was put in place and uphold its intent. The Sub-Committee accepted the representations of Councillor Carnforth and placed considerable weight on it.

 

The Sub-Committee heard oral representations from one of the local residents who objected to the application and he referred to the petition he and other local residents had signed. He stated that there were concerns in connection with street littering, noise disturbance by people attending the premises and vehicles making deliveries He said that there were issues with youth congregating on all corners of the road and that the licensed premises (if given the extended hours) would act as a magnet for people both within and outside the locality which would add to the anti-social behaviour currently being witnessed. The resident referred to the petition produced by the Applicant in support his application and informed the Sub-Committee that the petition had been used in October 2016 to back his application to open the licensed premises for 24 hours. The Sub-Committee accepted the representations made and placed great weight on it.

 

The Sub-Committee listened to Councillor Morrow who objected to the application on all four licensing objectives. He re-iterated his objections as set out in his written representations. He stated that the Plumstead High Street was improved by the vibrant culture and commented that a well-run grocery store was better than the business that was there previously. However, he was concerned that the supporting statement on the petition (provided by the applicant) which stated that children would not be harmed by extended hours because there would have been parental consent suggested that the Applicant was not ‘clued up’ about concerns regarding harm to young people and there were questions as to whether he should have a 24 hour licence. The Sub-Committee accepted the representations of Councillor Morrow and placed considerable weight on it.

 

 

The Sub-Committee asked the Licensing Officer to explain the documents at Appendix D (a warning letter dated 24 January 2014) and the document at Appendix E (a Report written by the Licensing Officer following an Inspection on 11 January 2017). The Sub-Committee was told that the letter dated 29 July 2014, confirmed a visit to the licensed premises where breaches of the conditions of the licence had been found pertaining to the sale of beer, lager and cider with an ABV above 6%, the lack of staff training, and the inaccessibility of the Refusals Register. The inspection on 11 January 2017 identified three breaches of the licence, namely, the CCTV’s failure to record for 31 days, the retention of an up to date training record, and a properly maintained Refusals Register.

 

The Trading Standards asked the Sub-Committee to consider its written representations at Appendix H which opposed the application on grounds of the Protection of Children from Harm and Prevention of Crime and Disorder Licensing Objectives. The Sub-Committee noted the observations of the Trading Standards Officer that the extension of hours were ‘likely to make the premises highly attractive to persons who may indulge in crime and disorder late at night, including street drinkers….[and believed that the licensed premises ] …will become a focal point for under 18’s attempting to obtain alcohol directly themselves or through ‘proxy purchases’ by adults on their behalf’.

 

The Sub-Committee asked the Applicant’s representative why they considered that the licence should be varied when there had been two unsatisfactory licensing visits in which there had been failures to comply with licensing conditions and she was unable to give reasons.

 

In reaching their decision, the Sub-Committee considered all the written and verbal representations.

 

The Sub-Committee made the following findings:-

 

1.     That there had been three breaches of licensing conditions on 24 January 2014

2.     That there had been an extension of licensing hours for 23 hours under a Temporary Events Notice between 21 December 2016 and 26 December 2016 and on 11 January 2017 when an inspection was carried out there were three breaches of the licensing conditions identified.

3.     The petition submitted by the Applicant was dated October 2016 and was not current. A number of the signatories failed to insert a date when the petition was signed. The Sub-Committee also noted that pages 13-23 did not mention that a 24 hour alcohol licence was applied.  Consequently, no weight was placed on the petition.

 

The Sub-Committee noted that the application was for a variation of the existing premises licence for the supply of alcohol to extend the hours Monday to Sunday (daily) from 00:00 midnight until each following midnight i.e. 24 hours a day, daily. However, the Sub-Committee had now been asked by the Applicant to consider an application for a 2 hour extension of the licence for the supply of alcohol.

 

In considering the application for an extension of the licensing hours the Sub-Committee were mindful of paragraph 10.7 of the Licensing Policy which was relevant to the application as it fell within the Plumstead High Street  Cumulative Impact Zone. Paragraph 10.7 states that the effect of the Cumulative Impact Policy is that the Royal Borough ‘will refuse applications for ….material variation of an existing licence or certificate, whenever it receives relevant representations, unless an applicant can demonstrate why the ….. variation involved will not add to the cumulative impact experience’. The Applicant’s representative had not addressed the issue as to how they proposed to mitigate the impact of a 24 hour alcohol licence. Significantly, it was observed that the Applicant’s representative had not dealt with the steps the SIA would employ to promote the four licensing objectives and how they would manage the potential risks and concerns that had been comprehensively raised.

The Sub-Committee was mindful that it was for the Applicant to rebut the presumption that an extension of the licensable hours for the supply of alcohol would not add to the cumulative impact experience and they had failed to do so. The Sub-Committee was not persuaded that the Applicant had demonstrated that the conditions offered were appropriate to deal with the concerns undermining the four licensing objectives. Consequently, the Sub-Committee rejected the whole of the application for a variation of the existing premises licence on the basis that it was appropriate and proportionate for the promotion of the licensing objectives of the Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Prevention of Public Nuisance, Public Safety and the Protection of Children from Harm licensing objectives.

 

If the Applicant or those making representations are aggrieved by the Council’s decision, they have the right to appeal to the Magistrates Court.  Such an appeal must be submitted to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date from when the appeal period is deemed to have started, which will be stated in the cover email or letter to the Notice of Decision.

 

 

 

  

 

                                         

Publication date: 26/04/2017

Date of decision: 20/04/2017

Decided at meeting: 20/04/2017 - Licensing Sub-Committee C

Accompanying Documents: