Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

C’s Restaurant, 87 Blackheath Road, Greenwich, London SE3 8PD

Application to review the existing Premises Licence

Decision:

Review of Premises Licence for C’s Restaurant, 87 Blackheath Road, Greenwich, London, SE10

 

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 Statutory 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.

 

And having considered all written representations, evidence and submissions, including the written submissions and the indexed bundle of documents provided by the licence holder’s legal representative, the Sub-Committee:

 

1.    Revoked the Premises Licence held by Mr Vincent Phil-Ebosie  

 

The Sub-Committee’s decision was based on issues raised concerning crime and disorder, public safety, and prevention of public nuisance 

 

Basis for Decision

 

The Sub-Committee considered the application for a review of the Premises Licence by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, as the Licensing Authority, because of persistent failures of the premises licence holder to comply with the licence conditions and for carrying on licensable activities beyond the times permitted by the premises licence. 

 

For the Licensing Authority, the Sub-Committee were referred to the review application and supporting information and documents within the Agenda. The Sub-Committee were informed of the escalating enforcement policy approach of the Licensing Authority, and the infamous opening night upon the licence holder taking over the premises with the benefit of a Temporary Event Notice on 21st January 2018 which generated a number of complaints of noise and nuisance.  There then followed 43 complaints to the Noise Team between January – 3rd October 2018.  The Sub-Committee took into consideration the schedule of the 43 noise complaints at pages 62-63 of the Agenda.

 

The Sub-Committee heard how the licence holder failed to take heed of the advice provided to him by Council officers and the police and who tried to assist the licence holder by agreeing an Action Plan dated 17th May 2018. The licence holder was reminded of his responsibilities during an inspection visit on 27th March 2018 but 3 days later the premises were still open at 02:05 am.  On 20/21 April 20-18 a further inspection visit revealed a lock in, with the front shutters lowered.

 

Upon the Action Plan being signed, the complaints regarding the premises did go down for a short period. However, during August and September 2018, there were more complaints received and the hours for licensable activities being breached. As a consequence of the continuing complaints the defendant was sent 3 warning letters. On 30th October 2018 the premises were open beyond operating hours after the 3rd Warning letter. The Sub-Committee were referred to page 91 of the Agenda relating to an inspection visit on 10th November 2018, the premises were open at 01:03am when 6 male customers emerged and left the premises. During the visit, commencing at 00:50am the open sign of the premises was switched off, the doors were locked but Mr Phil-Ebosie could be seen inside, drinking from a bottle, but failed to open the door until the bottles inside the premises were cleared because he had recognised the officer outside the premises.

 

The Sub-Committee were informed that the Licensing Authority did not consider Mr Phil-Ebosie to be a reliable licence holder and it was doubtful that he would comply with stricter licence conditions if the licence was not revoked. Mr Phil-Ebosie had been provided with ample opportunity to improve but had chosen not to abide by the licence conditions.

 

The Licencing Authority representative, Mr Devine, submitted that there was an extreme risk of further breaches of the premises licence, crime, public nuisance and risks to public safety, including of patrons because of observed disrepair and smell of gas at the premises during one visit, that the premises licence should be revoked.   

 

In coming to its decision, the sub-committee gave due regard to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act enforcing authority’s written representations within the Agenda, pages 98-99, regarding disrepair and smell of gas and the risks to public safety.

 

The police representative submitted that the application to revoke the licence was supported and the police has lost all confidence in the licence holder to run a safe premises and not to cause any nuisance.    

 

The Sub-Committee took into consideration the submission by Councillor Aidan Smith on behalf of the Ashburn Triangle Association regarding noise and public nuisance.

 

Michael Doody submitted that he had to leave his home on 3 occasions late at night because of the noise and to be able to get some sleep. Mr Doody had also registered complaints with the noise team. 

 

The Sub-Committee received submissions from Mr Nelson, solicitor for the licence holder.

 

Mr Nelson referred the meeting to the written submissions and bundle of evidence provided earlier. Mr Nelson stated that the fire exit to the rear of the premises was being blocked by a car owner not connected to the premises and that steps had bene taken to alleviate issues regarding public safety. Mr Nelson further stated that there were 2 pubs to the left of the premises and it was difficult to know whose customers were causing a nuisance. Steps had been taken for patrons to use the car park across the road and not to gather outside the premises and that Mr Phil-Ebosie apologies unreservedly for any inconvenience. 

 

Mr Nelson stated that the gas leak was present when his client took over the premises but he had now obtained a new gas certificate and the leak had been remedied.

 

In response to questions, Mr Phil-Ebosie stated the shutters of the premises were lowered because it was a busy road and that he had been previously attacked. In response to further queries from the sub-committee, Mr Phil-Ebosie stated that the noise and public nuisance is being caused by patrons of the 2 nearby pubs and that he does not have “much people there” and that “we Africans are loud”, and that he had tried his possible best top reduce the noise. Mr Phil-Ebosie further stated that there is no music at his place, no fighting and no arguing. He further stated that he had made bookings and had been paid and that people had turned up late.

 

In response to a further query from the Chair, Mr Nelson unreservedly withdrew the last paragraph of his written submissions including that the complaints about the premises were vexatious, frivolous and a witch hunt.

 

The Sub-Committee concluded, inter alia, that it was not satisfied with the explanations and reasons for non-compliance with the premises licence, 3 warning letters had been ignored and the licence continued to be breached, there was a risk to the safety of the public that the licence holder had ignored from the gas leak, and it was not satisfied that the licence holder was a responsible person to hold a licence and nor had he demonstrated that he was capable of complying with a licence with stricter conditions.   

 

The Applicant for review, holder of the Premises Licence, or any other person who made relevant representations to the application may appeal against the Council’s decision to the Magistrates’ Court. Such an appeal must be submitted to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date stated in the covering email/letter accompany the Notice of Decision.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

In Attendance:

 

Applicant for Review                Chris Devine, Licensing Lead Officer, Licencing Section

 

Making Representation in support of Review

PC Giles Balestrini, Metropolitan Police; Ruta Svagzdiene, Environmental Health Team; Michael Doody; Councillor Aidan Smith (on behalf of Ashburnham Triangle Association).

 

Licence Holder                        Vincent Phil-Ebosie; David Nelson (legal representative)

 

The Chair welcomed all parties and ensured that introductions were made, all papers had been received, including the submission from the licence holder’s legal representative, and that all parties were aware of their right to be represented.

 

The Sub-Committee considered an application made by the Licensing Authority of the Royal Borough of Greenwich for a review of the premises licence for C’s Restaurant, 87 Blackheath Road, Greenwich, London SE10 8PD.

 

The Licensing Officer gave an illustrated introduction to the report.

 

The Sub-Committee was addressed by the applicant for review. He gave a full description of the incidents which had led to the review. He detailed the actions taken by the authority in relation to those incidents; the warnings that had been given were described. It was highlighted that the licence holder was at risk of the magistrate’s court for breaches of conditions. It was suggested that what the licence holder actually wanted was a late night bar rather than a restaurant. He concluded that the licence holder had not demonstrated that he was a reliable licence holder or a good neighbour. He had been given ample opportunities and he had been advised and action plans had been agreed but he had not abided by them. It was felt there was now an extreme risk that conditions would continue to be breached. He requested that the licence be revoked.

 

The representative of the Environmental Health Team indicated that she had no comments.

 

The representative of the Metropolitan Police stated that the Police fully supported the review, and that they had lost confidence in the premises operating in accordance with the licensing objectives.

 

The Sub-Committee was addressed by Ward Councillor Aidan Smith on behalf of the Ashburnham Triangle Association who had made representation. He highlighted the complaints that had been made. It was noted that the premises was operating as a bar and restaurant, when it was only licenced to be a restaurant.

 

The Sub-Committee was addressed by Michael Doody who had made representation. He lived next to the premises. He explained that the noise had been so bad that on three occasions that he had had to leave his apartment. He had made complaints to the Council’s noise team.

 

The Sub-Committee was addressed by the licence holder’s legal representative. He said the issue of the gas had been addressed, and it was expected that they would get a certificate soon. He stressed that the rear fire exit had being blocked by a car owned by a neighbour. Other matters relating to the state of the premises had also now been dealt with. The licence holder’s legal representative said it was difficult to know whose customers were causing the noise nuisance. The premises’ customers had been advised where they should park and told not to congregate outside the front of the premises. The licence holder was open to suggestions as what he needed to do to help neighbours. The licence holder apologised unreservedly for going beyond licensable hours and causing a nuisance but he was struggling to break even.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee the licence holder’s legal representative replied that the premises did previously have a gas safety certificate and they were getting a new one. The fire exit gate had been nailed shut from the outside, and a car parked there.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee the licence holder replied that the fire exit gate had been shut when he had moved in. He had had the shutters halfway down because it was a buy road, he had to let deliveries in, and he had been attacked in April. He suggested that the other premises nearby were the cause of some of the disturbance. He said his clientele had a tendency to be noisy. He had tried to keep the noise down. He noted that there had not been arguing and fighting, it was just general loudness. A reason why the premises had been operating late once was because pre-paid customers turned up late.

 

There was a discussion of the matter.

 

The licence holder said that since Officers had visited in November there had been no problems. He said the problems would never happen again. He just wanted to run the business to pay off his loan.

 

The Chair asked on what basis was the claim made that there had been a “witch hunt”. The licence holder’s legal representative said it was made on the basis of the complaints, prior to receiving the agenda. The licence holder’s legal representative withdrew the claim.

 

All parties, with the exception of the Legal Advisor and Corporate Governance Officer, withdrew to allow the Sub-Committee to deliberate at 7.14pm. All parties returned at 7.25pm.

 

The Chair informed those present of the decision of the Sub-Committee, and stated that the full details would be given in the formal decision notice.

 

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 Statutory 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.

 

And having considered all written representations, evidence and submissions, including the written submissions and the indexed bundle of documents provided by the licence holder’s legal representative, the Sub-Committee:

 

1.    Revoked the Premises Licence held by Mr Vincent Phil-Ebosie  

 

The Sub-Committee’s decision was based on issues raised concerning crime and disorder, public safety, and prevention of public nuisance 

 

Basis for Decision

 

The Sub-Committee considered the application for a review of the Premises Licence by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, as the Licensing Authority, because of persistent failures of the premises licence holder to comply with the licence conditions and for carrying on licensable activities beyond the times permitted by the premises licence. 

 

For the Licensing Authority, the Sub-Committee were referred to the review application and supporting information and documents within the Agenda. The Sub-Committee were informed of the escalating enforcement policy approach of the Licensing Authority, and the infamous opening night upon the licence holder taking over the premises with the benefit of a Temporary Event Notice on 21st January 2018 which generated a number of complaints of noise and nuisance.  There then followed 43 complaints to the Noise Team between January – 3rd October 2018.  The Sub-Committee took into consideration the schedule of the 43 noise complaints at pages 62-63 of the Agenda.

 

The Sub-Committee heard how the licence holder failed to take heed of the advice provided to him by Council officers and the police and who tried to assist the licence holder by agreeing an Action Plan dated 17th May 2018. The licence holder was reminded of his responsibilities during an inspection visit on 27th March 2018 but 3 days later the premises were still open at 02:05 am.  On 20/21 April 20-18 a further inspection visit revealed a lock in, with the front shutters lowered.

 

Upon the Action Plan being signed, the complaints regarding the premises did go down for a short period. However, during August and September 2018, there were more complaints received and the hours for licensable activities being breached. As a consequence of the continuing complaints the defendant was sent 3 warning letters. On 30th October 2018 the premises were open beyond operating hours after the 3rd Warning letter. The Sub-Committee were referred to page 91 of the Agenda relating to an inspection visit on 10th November 2018, the premises were open at 01:03am when 6 male customers emerged and left the premises. During the visit, commencing at 00:50am the open sign of the premises was switched off, the doors were locked but Mr Phil-Ebosie could be seen inside, drinking from a bottle, but failed to open the door until the bottles inside the premises were cleared because he had recognised the officer outside the premises.

 

The Sub-Committee were informed that the Licensing Authority did not consider Mr Phil-Ebosie to be a reliable licence holder and it was doubtful that he would comply with stricter licence conditions if the licence was not revoked. Mr Phil-Ebosie had been provided with ample opportunity to improve but had chosen not to abide by the licence conditions.

 

The Licencing Authority representative, Mr Devine, submitted that there was an extreme risk of further breaches of the premises licence, crime, public nuisance and risks to public safety, including of patrons because of observed disrepair and smell of gas at the premises during one visit, that the premises licence should be revoked.   

 

In coming to its decision, the sub-committee gave due regard to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act enforcing authority’s written representations within the Agenda, pages 98-99, regarding disrepair and smell of gas and the risks to public safety.

 

The police representative submitted that the application to revoke the licence was supported and the police has lost all confidence in the licence holder to run a safe premises and not to cause any nuisance.    

 

The Sub-Committee took into consideration the submission by Councillor Aidan Smith on behalf of the Ashburn Triangle Association regarding noise and public nuisance.

 

Michael Doody submitted that he had to leave his home on 3 occasions late at night because of the noise and to be able to get some sleep. Mr Doody had also registered complaints with the noise team. 

 

The Sub-Committee received submissions from Mr Nelson, solicitor for the licence holder.

 

Mr Nelson referred the meeting to the written submissions and bundle of evidence provided earlier. Mr Nelson stated that the fire exit to the rear of the premises was being blocked by a car owner not connected to the premises and that steps had bene taken to alleviate issues regarding public safety. Mr Nelson further stated that there were 2 pubs to the left of the premises and it was difficult to know whose customers were causing a nuisance. Steps had been taken for patrons to use the car park across the road and not to gather outside the premises and that Mr Phil-Ebosie apologies unreservedly for any inconvenience. 

 

Mr Nelson stated that the gas leak was present when his client took over the premises but he had now obtained a new gas certificate and the leak had been remedied.

 

In response to questions, Mr Phil-Ebosie stated the shutters of the premises were lowered because it was a busy road and that he had been previously attacked. In response to further queries from the sub-committee, Mr Phil-Ebosie stated that the noise and public nuisance is being caused by patrons of the 2 nearby pubs and that he does not have “much people there” and that “we Africans are loud”, and that he had tried his possible best top reduce the noise. Mr Phil-Ebosie further stated that there is no music at his place, no fighting and no arguing. He further stated that he had made bookings and had been paid and that people had turned up late.

 

In response to a further query from the Chair, Mr Nelson unreservedly withdrew the last paragraph of his written submissions including that the complaints about the premises were vexatious, frivolous and a witch hunt.

 

The Sub-Committee concluded, inter alia, that it was not satisfied with the explanations and reasons for non-compliance with the premises licence, 3 warning letters had been ignored and the licence continued to be breached, there was a risk to the safety of the public that the licence holder had ignored from the gas leak, and it was not satisfied that the licence holder was a responsible person to hold a licence and nor had he demonstrated that he was capable of complying with a licence with stricter conditions.   

 

The Applicant for review, holder of the Premises Licence, or any other person who made relevant representations to the application may appeal against the Council’s decision to the Magistrates’ Court. Such an appeal must be submitted to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date stated in the covering email/letter accompany the Notice of Decision.

 

 

Supporting documents: