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MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL
LICENSING ACT 2003 SUB COMMITTEE
Minutes of the meeting held on Friday 6 November 2020
Councillors Brindle, Garten (Chairman) and Joy
There were no apologies for absence.
There were no Substitute Members.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Garten be elected as Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.
There were no disclosures of lobbying.
RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.
The persons participating in the hearing were identified as follows:
Chairman – Councillor Garten
Committee Member – Councillor Brindle
Committee Member – Councillor Joy
Legal Advisor – Mr Robin Harris
Online Facilitator/Democratic Services Officer – Miss Oliviya Parfitt
Applicant – The Committee of Marden Cricket and Hockey Club, Jo Hayes
Witnesses to be called by the Applicant:
Charlotte Hope – Vice-Chairman of the Marden Cricket and Hockey Club
All parties confirmed that they were aware of the Sub-Committee hearing procedure and had received a copy of the hearing procedure document.
The Chairman 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 persons 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 facility 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 Chairman’s Invitation.
The Sub-Committee agreed to proceed in the absence of any other parties and confirmed that they had read the papers.
The Chairman enquired whether any draft conditions had been agreed between the applicant and other parties; no draft conditions had been agreed.
The applicant’s witness was invited to address the panel and referenced the significant growth in the club’s membership since 2018, with the variation application submitted to better suit the club’s business needs. The low membership cost was mentioned, with additional income generated through conducting sports-related events and renting the club room for low-key events. The showing of films would be to supplement the income generated, rather than to turn the venue into a night-time or entertainment venue. The change in opening hours was to provide refreshments to individuals whilst club matches were played prior to 11am.
Specific attention was drawn to the licensing objectives against which the objections had been received; public nuisance, crime and disorder and public safety. The witness argued that the variation application had been misunderstood, as earlier rather than later opening times had been requested and these were unlikely to negatively affect the licensing objectives.
The Legal Advisor highlighted that provided the necessary actions took place, variation from the order of proceedings was acceptable, in light of the witness having been called to speak first. Mr Harris summarised the variation application and noted that no objections had been received from responsible authorities but that several objections had been received from local residents.
The Council as the Licensing Authority, the applicant and numerous objectors had conversed on potential draft conditions prior to the hearing, from which the applicant was advised to clarify the exact hours requested within the variation application to be decided by the panel. Mr Harris confirmed that the Sub-Committee would assess the application with the view to the promotion of the licensing objectives.
In response to a question from the panel, Mr Harris confirmed that opening hours were not a licensable activity, unless specifically related to a licensable activity. The applicant confirmed that the variation application was sought as applied for, but that they were willing to include that would be shown indoors only. In discussing the application, Mr Harris confirmed that live and recorded music hours were no longer licensable activities due to the Live Music Act 2012 as amended by the Legislative Reform (Entertainment Licensing) Order and Deregulation Act 2015 and were not required to appear on the club’s licence. This was only applicable if the applicant were to have an audience greater than 500 people.
In response to questions from the panel, the applicant’s witness confirmed that several of the objectors had been and were current club members. The sliding doors in front of the club room balcony could be closed to prevent any sound travelling, with the trees planted as necessitated by the planning permission currently too immature to provide an adequate sound barrier. The witness confirmed that communication of events occurred mainly through the club’s members, but that they would be able to communicate this to the club’s local neighbours.
At Mr Harris’ request, the applicant re-confirmed that they amenable to accepting that films be shown between 12:00-23:00 hours daily, seven days a week, as a compromise with the local neighbours. In relation to live and recorded music, the witness confirmed that the venue had not had an audience of more than 500 people since the business’s opening event. The witness confirmed that as they believed the opening hours were a licensable activity, they had been included within the variation application, despite no licensable activity to take place before 11am between Sunday to Friday and 10am on a Saturday. The groundsman and cleaners entered the premises early to prepare the grounds and venue. It was their intention to address the planning restrictions which they believed were designed for the construction of the venue.
In response to a question from the panel, Mr Harris confirmed that references to live and recorded music could be removed from the premises licence as they were no longer required due to the operation of the law, namely the Live Music Act 2012 (as amended). The applicant and witness both confirmed that they were happy for this to be removed.
The applicant was invited to make their closing statement, in which they directed the witness to address the panel. The witness re-referenced the club’s intention to adapt to the growth in membership and that there was no desire to become a large events venue or cinema.
The Chairman advised that the Sub-Committee would retire for deliberation with the Legal advisor present.
The Sub-Committee returned and the Chairman outlined the decision. The licence was to be granted with film showings permitted between 12:00-23:00 hours, seven days a week. The live and recorded music conditions on the existing licence would be removed, as they had been superseded by statutory omission. The extension of licensing hours for the supply of alcohol, from 10am rather than 11am on Saturday was granted, subject to the advisory that they may not be compliant with the premises planning permission. The club was recommended to engage with its local neighbours when any of the 8 late events as included within the existing licence.
The written decision would be provided within 5 working days and parties were reminded of the right to review a premises licence and the right of appeal to the Magistrates Court.
The meeting closed at 11.32 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.