In attendance and speaking at the hearing:
Applicant: Mr P Parekh
Agent for the applicant: Mr R Jordan
Making representations: Mrs H Singh
Mrs J Day
Mrs C Shackleton
Mr C Deaven
Mr G Hillditch
The Sub Committee was requested to determine an application for a new premises licence at the above premises.
The report before the Sub Committee set out the details of the application and included details of the 23 representations received.
The Licensing Officer presented the report. He confirmed that the conditions attached at Annex 3 had been agreed by the applicant with Surrey Police and would be attached to the licence, should permission be granted.
It was noted that 23 representations had been received and that the Sub Committee should be considering these against the four licensing objectives.
Following the licensing officer’s introduction, the Chairman invited the applicant and his agent to present the application.
During the course of the presentation the following points were noted:
• The applicant had liaised with Surrey Police and agreed conditions to be attached to the licence.
• The applicant had lived locally for many years and he and his family had experience of running similar premises in the area.
• The applicant intended to ensure that all staff were fully trained and aware of the importance of not selling alcohol to anyone under-age.
• The Drug and Rehabilitation Centre opposite had been there for many years without posing any problems to people or children.
• The applicant had worked as a Special Constable for Surrey Police and was keen to work closely with both local residents and Surrey Police to ensure that the premises did not cause any nuisance.
The Chairman thanked the applicant and invited those who had made written representations to speak.
Mrs Singh, Mrs Pay, Mr Hillditch and Mr Deaven all made oral submissions and the following points were noted:
• Residents were concerned about the impact of having another shop selling alcohol in the area and its effects upon children and those living nearby.
• The premises was within a residential area and would be open until 10 pm. There was a seating area nearby and the fear was that this would draw people to sit and drink there until late into the night, causing noise and disturbance.
• There was likely to be more litter with bins already being in short supply in the area.
• Non-locals could be tempted to loiter in the area if they were able to buy alcohol.
• Traffic was an enormous problem in the area and this would only serve to exacerbate it. People already stopped on the yellow lines along the road, and there would also be additional deliveries to the store.
• One resident already made sure that he always took the dog out at night because he did not feel that it was safe for his partner. A shop selling alcohol until 10 pm each night would only make things worse.
• There were already problems from the nearby working men’s club, and residents had had people urinating in their gardens as well as leaving bottles and other rubbish in them.
• Several residents worked from home and were able to attest to the parking problems which were already horrendous with deliveries to local shops and people parking on yellow lines.
• When the previous off-licence had been open residents had experienced litter, noise and disturbance outside late at night, and the Police had even written to all residents about this. There had been enormous relief after the premises closed and it was of great concern that all these problems would start up again if another shop selling alcohol opened.
• Lesbourne Road served as a cut-through for people heading home from town on a Friday and Saturday night, and having a shop open until 10 pm and selling alcohol would lead to more noise and disturbance.
The Chairman thanked everyone for their oral submissions and opened the floor to questions, during the course of which the following points were noted:
« When asked about how he had dealt with any previous incidents, and how he would control sales to anyone appearing under the influence of alcohol:
Mr Parekh responded that he had lived and worked in the area for many years, without any real issues to deal with. He had implemented a number of effective systems over the years in his other premises and would be introducing them at this shop as well.
He considered himself to be part of the community and, like other residents, he cared about public safety and neither he nor his staff would serve anyone who was drunk.
Although opening hours of 6 am to 10 pm were being requested, it was not certain that he would actually be open during those hours every day.
In response to a question about how deliveries would be made:
Mr Parekh commented on the fact that all the local shops already had deliveries being made, and that he would have deliveries for other items, so that alcohol would not make that great a difference. He would not be receiving deliveries by lorry and they would be made by a small van.
« When asked where the working men’s club was in relation to his premises:
Mr Parekh indicated its location, which was closer to Mrs Singh’s shop rather than his own.
« The licensing officer confirmed that no representations had been received from either Surrey Police or the Highways Authority.
« It was noted that the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre closed at around 4 or 5 pm each day.
« When asked by a resident why he chose to sell alcohol:
Mr Parekh countered by asking why not. He would not just be selling alcohol. It was a local convenience store and he wished to offer customers a service where they could buy everything they needed from the same place.
The store would be closed before the pubs shut in the evenings and he would not serve street drinkers.
« When asked who would be working in the shop:
Mr Parekh responded that it would mainly be him and his wife, and that it was to be a family-run business.
« When asked about her shop’s opening hours and whether it sold alcohol:
Mrs Singh confirmed that her shop sold alcohol and that she was open from 7.30 am to 7 pm.
The concern of residents was the cumulative impact of another shop in the area selling alcohol until late into the evening.
The Chairman invited all parties to make any closing remarks and it was noted that none of the speakers had any further to add.
The Sub Committee adjourned to deliberate at 2.49 pm and resumed at 3.19 pm to give its decision.
RESOLVED that the application for a premises licence be GRANTED in the following terms:
Sale of alcohol to be: Monday to Sunday 6.30 am to 9.30 pm
Reasons for the decision
1. The Licensing & Regulatory Sub Committee has reviewed all the papers before it and has paid close attention to the oral submissions made by all parties at the hearing.
2. It notes that 23 representations were received from residents living in the local vicinity and that several of these residents have attended the hearing to represent their concerns.
3. It also notes that the applicant has followed the advice of the Police and the licensing officer, and agreed a schedule of conditions to be attached to the licence, should permission be granted.
4. The Licensing & Regulatory Committee has noted that there have been no representations from the responsible authorities, neither Surrey Police nor the Highways Authority.
5. The Sub Committee has had regard to the Licensing Objectives, and in particular Public Nuisance, Section 182 Licensing Act 2003 statutory guidance and its own Statement of Licensing Policy, in particular Section 8.
6. The Licensing Sub Committee has given due regard to the individual merits of this application, s149 Equality Act 2010, Human Rights/ECHR legislation in particular article 8 and article 1 First Protocol and the rules of natural justice.
7. The likely success or otherwise of the business is not a relevant issue and has not been taken into consideration.
8. The Licensing & Regulatory Sub Committee recognises the concerns raised and would encourage the applicant to liaise with residents if there are any ongoing issues.
9. It would remind residents that they maintain the right to request a review of the licence should there be any subsequent breach of the licensing conditions.