On behalf of the applicant (Surrey Police):
Murrae Hume, Licensing Officer
On behalf of the licence holder (Trust Inns):
Tim Shield, Solicitor
Trevor Homer, tenant and designated premises supervisor at the Fox & Hounds
Ged Mackin, Business Development Manager at Trust Inns
Other interested parties making representations:
Elizabeth Holliday, Licensing Officer, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
Councillor Rachel Turner, Ward Member for Tadworth and Walton
The Sub Committee considered an application made by Surrey Police, for a review of the licence held by the Fox and Hounds Public House.
The report before the Sub Committee set out the relevant facts, including copies of the representations made by all interested parties.
The representation by the licensing authority included redacted copies of complaints received from local residents, who had requested anonymity. Mrs Holliday, Licensing Officer, represented the licensing authority.
The report was presented by Mr Murray, the Licensing Officer. It was noted that the representation on behalf of the licence holder had been omitted from the report, but was subsequently circulated by email. The final page of the licensing authority's representation was also missing from the report and was circulated by email before the hearing.
The licensing officer reported that, subsequent to the publication of the agenda, an application had been made for Mr Trevor Homer to replace Mr Neil Pooley as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) with immediate effect. No objection had been received and Mr Homer was therefore present at the hearing to support Mr Shield, in his role as the DPS.
Mr Murrae Hume presented the case on behalf of Surrey Police and the following points were noted:
The premises were situated in a rural, village location. Between 2005 (when the current licence was granted) and 2011 there had been an average of only two incidents each year.
Following the change in tenancy in 2011, the number of incidents rose to 10 in 2012, and to 24 in 2013.
The premises were now ranked at number 6 on the police list of hotspots in the borough, alongside town centre pubs and nightclubs where a higher number of incidents might be expected.
Three serious incidents took place in November 2013, as highlighted in the report. In each case, the management had refused to assist the Police with their enquiries, being unwilling to make statements and unable to provide CCTV footage although the system had been in operation. Members of the bar staff had also refused to make statements, in all cases citing the fear of reprisals.
The Police were aware of the change in DPS and that Mr Homer had now taken on this role, but did not believe that this alone would resolve current issues, as he had always been involved with the running of the premises as the tenant.
Prior to the meeting a number of conditions had been proposed and accepted by the licenceholder, subject to minor amendments.
Subject to the attachment of these conditions to the licence the Police would not raise a further objection.
Mr Tim Shield responded on behalf of the licence holder and the following points were noted:
Trust Inns is a company owning around 500 licensed premises across the country, most of which are either leased or tenanted out at commercial rates. Supply of alcohol is also tied into the company.
Tenants are responsible for the day-to-day management, with the company maintaining an overview to ensure that premises are well-run and to provide support when needed, such as in the case of reviews.
Mr Homer had made a considerable investment in the premises, in the order of £250,000, and although he had no previous experience as a landlord he was an experienced businessman who had run his own company for many years.
It would be fair to say that it had been a steep learning curve for him, and it was accepted that there had been some recent issues.. However, he had already taken action in removing Mr Pooley and taking over himself as DPS.
Mr Homer was keen to expand and develop the services provided at the premises, in order to make it profitable, and to this end he was hosting functions and events, as well as running a restaurant/carvery and operating as a bed and breakfast. The majority of the clientele was, however, local and the services he provided were aimed at an older clientele rather than the under-21s.
Of the 22 incidents reported to the police, only one of these related to noise nuisance.
In respect of the three incidents in November 2013:
o The incident took place outside the premises after it had stopped serving for the night. A group of people who had been attending a funeral wake became involved with another group of patrons. Mr Homer was not present at the time, but he would have been happy to assist the police with their enquiries had he witnessed the events, and would always do so in his role as the DPS.
o The incident on 15 November was a domestic incident between a member of staff and her ex-partner who was subject to an exclusion order. This could have happened anywhere, and the lady had subsequently sent a letter of apology which was available to read should the Sub Committee wish.
o The incident on 7 November had again taken place outside the pub, and had involved two members of the same family. The licenceholder could not be held responsible for their behaviour.
Mr Homer operated a zero-tolerance drug policy and there were no recorded incidents of drug abuse.
No representation on the grounds of noise nuisance had been made by the responsible authority for environmental protection. When responding to a call on 23 March 2013 at 11.45 pm the Police had stated that there was no noise nuisance' and when they returned later that night they reported that the music had been turned off.
The majority of complaints in the bundle came from only four or five residents, some of whom had written in several times.
Notwithstanding this, Mr Homer recognised that residents had concerns and would be happy to accept the conditions suggested by the Police attached to the licence subject to minor amendment.
Mr Homer was also volunteering a condition for all regulated entertainment to end at 00h30 every day, with the last 30 minutes being used to reduce the volume and wind down, encouraging patrons to leave quietly.
The licensing authority clarified that there had been five written complaints and two representations, one being from Councillor Mrs Turner who was representing local residents.
Councillor Rachel Turner made representations on behalf of local residents and the following points were noted:
The reason that there had been so few representations was because local residents were afraid of reprisals. They had also refused to keep noise log sheets for the same reason.
The previous tenant of the pub had been very much involved in the life of the village forum and the Fox and Hounds had always been the centre of local activities with no problems.
That had changed when Mr Homer took over, however, and he had that day been reported in the local press as saying that he personally would not live near a pub because there was always trouble.
The Chairman invited questions and the following points were noted.
 Mr Pooley was no longer involved in the management of the premises and would soon be leaving the premises, taking no further role at the pub.
 Mr Homer would assist the Police with any enquiries in his role as DPS, and he had no fear of doing so.
 It was up to each individual to decide for themself whether or not to assist police with enquiries.
 The condition for a personal licence holder to be on the premises from 20h00 was only being proposed for a Friday and Saturday, or when a function was being held, as these were the busy times.
 Condition 9 relating to noise from music was very similar to the existing condition, except that the Police had asked that it should be from 21h00.
 The proposal was that all regulated entertainment should begin at 10h00 and end at 00h30. Recorded music could currently be played at any time every day of the week.
 The opening hours and hours for sale of alcohol and provision of refreshments would remain unchanged.
 Mr Homer had every intention of undertaking a risk assessment before each function to determine whether door staff should be employed, but he would not wish to see it imposed as a condition for all events as that would be onerous.
 Mr Homer's intention was to provide entertainment and events which would attract an older clientele, rather than young singles.
 The premises did not have a designated smoking area and patrons currently used the land at the rear. The licence holder would be happy to see the licence varied to designate this as a smoking area if the Sub Committee was so minded.
 The likely reason for the increase in the number of complaints was that the tenant was trying to expand the business to make it profitable, offering more promotional evening events and functions, as well as running the carvery and restaurant.
 Mr Pooley had been removed as DPS at the instigation of Mr Homer, and not Trust Inns.
 Mr Homer was keen to attract an older clientele by running events more designed towards couples.
 Mrs Holliday clarified that the residents' fear of reprisals were not expressed against Mr Homer, but against patrons of the pub.
 Whilst Trust Inns were keen to work with and support their tenants, their ultimate concern was to ensure that the premises were well run and without problem. They would therefore have no hesitation in removing a DPS who was found lacking and also had powers to break the tenant's lease if the licence was at risk.
 Trust Inns did not automatically support their tenants when a review was requested, but in this case they had been happy to do so.
The parties were invited to conclude and the following points were noted:
 Surrey Police had no further representations to make subject to the attachment of the proposed conditions, and were happy with the minor modifications suggested by the licenceholder.
 On behalf of the licenceholder, Mr Shield invited the Sub Committee to have due regard to his submissions, to the action that had already been taken in replacing the DPS, and to the conditions agreed with Surrey Police. He also referred to the legal guidance, and the need for any action to be appropriate and reasonable.
 Of particular relevance in this case was there had been only five complainants and that there was no representation from the responsible authority for environmental protection.
The Licensing Sub Committee adjourned to deliberate at 3.39 pm
and resumed at 4.39 pm