Agenda item

Application for a premise licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for Escape Kent Prison Island, 60-61 High Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1SR


The persons participating in the hearing were identified as follows:


Chairman – Councillor Garten

Committee Member – Councillor Mrs Grigg

Committee Member – Councillor Joy


Legal Advisor – Mrs Sarah Beasley, supported by Mr Robin Harris


Online Facilitator/Democratic Services Officer – Miss Oliviya Parfitt


Applicant – Mr Michael Knell


Objector – Mr Jamie Morgan (written representations only)


Chris (joint owner) was in attendance to observe the proceedings only.


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 confirmed that they had read the papers.


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 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 Chairman’s Invitation.

The Chairman enquired whether any draft conditions had been agreed between the applicant and other parties; no draft conditions had been agreed.


The legal advisor introduced the report, reiterating that the objections from Kent Police had been withdrawn as draft conditions had been agreed with the applicant. The additional objections received were outlined and shown in appendix 5 to the report.


The applicant was invited to make their opening remarks and reiterated the draft conditions agreed with Kent Police, with the premises well insulated due to its previous use as a night-time venue. The applicant had their own personal license. The businesses’ nature was described, which included multiple games rooms for players to solve a task in the room that they were assigned. A bar area would be opened, with a mini golf course to be created in the future.


In response to questions from the panel Members, the applicant confirmed that it was not intended for the premises to become a drinking venue, but that customers could consume a few drinks before and/or after completing the games exercise. No drinks would be permitted in the games’ rooms, with groups mixing in the premises lobby area only. The venue would be family friendly and it was preferred that customers pre-booked to ensure availability. 


In relation to the venue’s capacity, the applicant confirmed that the current maximum was 80 people rather than the 250 stated within the application, which would be monitored by three to four staff members. The additional capacity was to take account of future expansion, such as mini golf, at the premises. Kent Police had recommended suitable training courses for staff that would be serving alcohol, to be provided once hired. It was stated that personal licenses for staff members would be explored in the future.


The meeting adjourned between 10.20 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.


The applicant confirmed that children’s parties occurred on Saturdays up until 2 p.m. and on Sundays; outside of core drinking hours. A separate area was being created for the use of conferences and parties. Children were expected to be supervised by an attending adult within their group. The agreements reached with Kent Police, to include CCTV provision and recordings, were reiterated in response to questions. The premises staff would patrol the hallways to the rooms throughout the opening times, to ensure appropriate behaviour from customers. Any intoxicated individuals would be prohibited from entering the games rooms, but customers would be permitted to drink before and after their booked activities. 


The applicant confirmed that the premises had been open for one year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and that he and his business partner had five years’ experience in the industry with an Escape Room business in Canterbury. The location of the proposed mini-golf course was described, with tables at each hole to allow customers to consume drinks whilst playing.


The applicant was invited to make their closing statement, and in doing so reiterated that the sale and provision of alcohol at the premises was suitable.


The Chairman advised that the Sub-Committee would retire for deliberation with the legal advisor present.


The meeting was adjourned for deliberations between 10.52 a.m. to 11.40 a.m.


The Sub-Committee returned and the Chairman stated that the decision had been made to grant the application in full, subject to an additional condition whereby a personal license holder had to be on duty at all times that the premises was open for the sale of alcohol.


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 11.43 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.


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