Application for a variation of a premises licence in respect of: Mace City Services, Commercial Road, Hereford. HR1 2BG - Licensing Act 2003
To consider an application for a variation of a premises licence in respect of Mace City Services, Commercial Road, Hereford. HR1 2BG.
Members of the licensing sub committee of the council’s planning and regulatory committee considered the above application, full details of which appeared before the Members in their agenda and the background papers.
The principal licensing officer presented the report.
West Mercia Police outlined their representation to the request for a variation of the premises licence as follows:
· The premises were a medium sized convenience store attached to a garage within Hereford City Centre.
· The premises was within the special cumulative impact zone which forms part of the Herefordshire Council Licensing Policy 2015-2020.
· The policy provides for controls on licensed premises within the zone due to the number of premises and a disproportionate level of crime, disorder and nuisance.
· The policy provides for a rebuttable presumption that applications should be refused if objections are made against new or variations to premises licences. This is obviously not a blanket ban and would need to be considered on a case by case basis. It was for the applicant to set out why granting a licence or a variation to a licence would further promote the licensing objectives. The applicant had not mentioned the cumulative impact zone as part of their application.
· There was limited history with regard to the premises. However there were still a significant number of issues raised on the police systems within the cumulative impact zone.
· The number of incidents recorded by the police within the cumulative impact zone between 2016 to the current date had been published as a supplement to the papers.
· The garage already opened 24 hrs and is single staffed late at night through a window hatch. This would make it difficult for a member of staff to identify whether customers were fit to purchase alcohol or if they were purchasing it for others who may be drunk or under age.
· There is CCTV but no security staff at the premises during late hours, especially when customers were exiting pubs and clubs.
· The garage was on a main route in / out of the city.
· There was a possibility that queues could form and this could lead to flash points of disorder and there are no control measures on the licence to prevent or reduce this possibility.
· The police objection to the application was based on the belief that to grant the variation to the licence would undermine the licensing objectives and in particular the prevention of crime and disorder.
The representative from West Mercia Police confirmed that he did have the authority to speak on behalf of the police.
The sub-committee then heard from the applicant’s barrister who outlined:
· The applicant had run premises for 48 years.
· It was not agreed that the premises were within the cumulative impact zone.
· It was disappointing that the police’s supplement had only been provided to them the previous day. It was confirmed that no adjournment was being requested.
· The business was a family run business with experience of running garage forecourts.
· The business had at least five premises in different counties and all had a 24 hour licence so were well aware of the requirements of the Licensing Act 2013 and the need to uphold the licensing objectives.
· The operating schedule was replicated across all the businesses.
· Staff were retained for long periods of time and were experienced, well trained staff. The manager of the premises in Hereford had been employed for 19 years.
· Four members of staff held personal licences.
· No evidence had been provided to show that there had been issues with the current licence.
· With regard to the cumulative impact zone policy which was contained within the Licensing Policy 2015-2020, this policy would need to be reviewed next year.
· The council had adopted the zone based on the problems arising and had set a boundary. There was text within the policy with set out the boundary of the zone but the accompanying map was woolly and it was claimed that the premises were outside the zone. There was a legal requirement to have a map as applicants needed to know whether or not they were in or outside of the boundary.
· The age of the data contained within the policy was from 2010 to 2013 so there would need to be an assessment as to the quality of the evidence.
· Even with the rebuttal presumption, the sub committee should only refuse if the applicant would add to the cumulative effect and the only evidence provided was from 2010 to 2013.
· With regard to the supplemental information provided by the police, limited weight should be given to it as there was no detail provided and it did not prove the point that the applicant would add to the cumulative effect. The statistics were wide ranging and may have nothing to do with alcohol or licensable activities.
· The police’s data did not show evidence that the premises had drawn on police resources.
· The business operated a manned premises rather than a night hatch.
The sub committee’s decision is to grant the licence, subject to a modification to the condition that the refusal register should be available for inspection within 5 working days upon request from a responsible authority.
The sub committee had carefully considered the evidence presented by the police and the applicant. The sub committee considered that the evidence provided by the police was insufficient to show that there would be an undermining of the licensing objectives. The applicant’s barrister had provided evidence that the applicant was an experienced operator who had provided assurance that the premises would be manned during the late night opening hours and the staff would be suitably trained. Based on this evidence, the sub committee felt that the granting of the variation to the premises licence would not undermine the licensing objective, in particular the prevention of crime and disorder.
- Mace Committe Report 11.07.19, item 42. PDF 233 KB
- Appendix 1 - Application for a variation of a premises licence, item 42. PDF 8 MB
- Appendix 2 - Current Premises Licence, item 42. PDF 70 KB
- Appendix 3 - West Mercia Police Objection, item 42. PDF 7 KB
- Supplement 1 - Supporting Information from West Mercia Police in connection with Mace City Services, item 42. PDF 102 KB