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MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL
Licensing Act 2003 Sub Committee
Minutes of the meeting held on Friday 17 September 2021
Councillors Brindle, Mrs Grigg (Chair) and Naghi
There were no apologies.
There were no Substitute Members.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Grigg be elected as Chair for the duration of the meeting.
There were no disclosures by Members and Officers.
Councillor Brindle had been lobbied on Item 7 – Application to vary a premise licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for Tap 17, 17 High Street, Staplehurst, Kent, TN27 9NH.
RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.
The persons participating in the hearing were identified as follows:
Chairman – Councillor Grigg
Committee Member – Councillor Brindle
Committee Member – Councillor Naghi
Legal Advisor – Mr Robin Harris
Senior Licensing Officer – Lorraine Neale (in attendance virtually)
Democratic Services Officer – Miss Oliviya Parfitt
Applicant – Mrs Kelli Newman
All parties confirmed that they were aware of the Sub-Committee hearing procedure and had each received a copy of the hearing procedure document.
The Sub-Committee agreed to proceed in the absence of the objector and noted the additional comments received that had been distributed to the panel Members. The Sub-Committee confirmed that they had read the papers.
The Chair explained that:
· The Sub-Committee would allow all parties to put their case fully and make full submissions within a reasonable time frame.
· The procedure would take the form of a discussion led by the Sub-Committee and they would usually permit cross-examination conducted within a reasonable timeframe.
· Any person attending the hearing who behaved in a disruptive manner may be directed to leave the hearing by the Sub-Committee (including temporarily) after which, such person may submit to the Sub-Committee over the Instant messaging facilitating any information which that person would have been entitled to give orally had the person not been required to leave the meeting. If this is not possible, they may be permitted to speak at the Chair’s Invitation.
The Chair enquired whether any draft conditions had been agreed between the applicant and other parties; no draft conditions had been agreed.
The Senior Licensing Officer introduced the report and noted a correction to the premises’ address as shown, which was located in ‘Headcorn’ rather than ‘Staplehurst’. The variation application was outlined, with specific attention drawn to the objection received at Appendix 4 to the report and the further comments received via email.
The applicant was invited to make their opening statement and stated that it was not their intention to consistently keep the business open for the hours as applied for, but that the choice and flexibility to remain open was the primary aim.
The applicant had not received any complaints from any neighbours, the Parish Council or the Police in relation to the premises and felt that the business was run and managed well. There were two other premises locally that provided live music which could be heard from the applicant’s premises, with the applicant confirming that recorded music was played inside of the venue with any live music previously provided by either a solo pianist or guitarist.
The applicant intended to rearrange the outdoor seating to provide greater privacy along the shared access with the tenant living above the premises. The importance of social distancing between customers was highlighted.
The variety offered by the venue was reiterated alongside the clientele it attracted due to its small size. The growth of the surrounding village and general noise was referenced.
In response to questions from the panel, the applicant confirmed that they had live music indoors only and would likely open the premises until 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. on Sundays as the business still attracted customers close to its current closing time of 4 p.m.
Mr Harris clarified that the only licensable activity that the panel should consider was the additional hours requested for the supply of alcohol, due to the deregulation of regulated entertainment. This was supported by the Senior Licensing Officer.
The applicant was invited to make the closing speech, in which they referenced the objectors’ comments in relation to their tenant which they did not believe to be justified. The applicant stated that upon the objector informing them of their objection, they confirmed that they had not read the variation application submitted.
The Chair advised that the Sub-Committee would retire for deliberation with the legal advisor present.
The meeting was adjourned for deliberations between 10.23 a.m. to 10.40 a.m.
The Sub-Committee returned and the Chair stated that the decision had been made to grant the application in full.
It was confirmed that a written decision notice would be provided within five working days. Parties were reminded of the right of appeal to the Magistrates Court.
The meeting closed at 10.41 a.m.
RESOLVED: That the Sub-Committee’s decision and reasons be provided within the Notice of Determination attached as an Appendix to the Minutes.