Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting - Please see the agenda frontsheet for instructions on how to join this meeting.
Contact: Committee Services 01622 602899
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies.
Notification of Substitute Members
There were no Substitute Members.
Election of Chairman
RESOLVED: That Councillor Joy be elected as Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members and Officers.
Disclosures of Lobbying
There were no disclosures of lobbying.
RESOLVED: That all items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.
The persons participating in the hearing were identified as follows:
Chairman – Councillor Joy
Committee Member – Councillor Springett
Committee Member – Councillor J Sams
Legal Advisor – Mr Robin Harris
Online Facilitator – Mr Ryan O’Connell
Democratic Services Officer – Miss Oliviya Parfitt
Applicant – Mr Richard Balfour-Lynn and Mrs Lesley Balfour-Lynn,
For the Applicant:
Mr Richard Balfour-Lynn – Owner of Hush Heath Winery
Mrs Leslie Balfour-Lynn – Owner of Hush Heath Winery
Sarah Easton - Winery Manager at Hush Heath Winery
Witnesses to be called by the Applicant:
Councillor John Perry – Staplehurst Ward Councillor and Vice-Chairman of Staplehurst Parish Council
Councillor Patrick Riordan – Chairman of Staplehurst Parish Council.
For the Objectors:
Mr Philip Kolvin QC – Acting on behalf of Angus Codd and Andrea Hodgkiss, Kim and Sally Humphrey, Alison Clark, Richard and Natasha Davidson-Houston, Amanda and Bernard Tipples, Frank and Ann Tipples, Dawn Lye, David Taylor and Nicola Feakin.
Witness to be called by the Objectors – Mrs Natasha Davidson-Houston
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 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 confirmed that they had read all 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 Legal Advisor outlined the variation application that had been received from Hush Heath Winery, which included an extension of hours and an amendment to the conditions of the licence held by the applicant. It was noted that 13 objections were received.
The applicant was invited to make their opening remarks and referenced the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on his business which would lose approximately £925k this year. The reduction in sales to the tourist industry was of particular significance due to the businesses’ agricultural nature as a winery. The variation application had been submitted to allow for increased flexibility to enable the business to continue its operation. It was noted that prior to Covid-19, Mr Balfour-Lynn had previously informed local residents that there was no intention to amend the premises licence under which the business operated.
Mr Balfour-Lynn referenced the importance of the Winery for the local economy, which included employing local residents and ... view the full minutes text for item 27.