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Meeting of the Licensing Sub-Committee "B" held on 10/12/2007
MINUTES OF THE ADJOURNED MEETING OF THE LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE ‘B’
10TH DECEMBER 2007



Adjourned Licensing Sub-Committee ‘B’ 7
10.12.07
MINUTES OF THE ADJOURNED MEETING OF THE LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE ‘B’
10TH DECEMBER 2007

SUBMITTED TO THE LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE MEETING –
12TH FEBRUARY 2008
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
*Cllr Mrs E Cable*Cllr J M Savage (Chairman)
*Cllr N P Holder
* Present

10. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS (Agenda Item 2)

There were no interests raised under this heading.
PART I – RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COMMITTEE

There were no matters falling within this category.
PARTS II AND III – MATTERS OF REPORT

Background Papers

The background papers relating to the following report in Parts II and III are as specified in the Agenda for the meeting of the Adjourned Licensing Sub-Committee ‘B’.
PART II – Matters reported in detail for the information of the Committee

11. LICENSING ACT 2003 – APPLICATION FOR REVIEW OF A PREMISES LICENCE – CO-OP WELCOME, 40 GREEN LANE, FARNCOMBE
[Wards Affected: Godalming Binscombe]

11.1 The Chairman drew attention to the fact that this application had previously come before the Sub-Committee and had been adjourned to consider new information. However, the Sub-Committee would be considering all the information, including that presented at the previous hearings.

11.2 The Licensing Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the additional evidence submitted for the resumed hearing by Surrey Trading Standards and the licence-holder.

11.3 The Assistant Solicitor to the Council explained to the Sub-Committee the steps they might take in order to promote the Licensing Objectives, taking into account the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and Government Guidance. The Assistant Solicitor also advised on the right of appeal for either party.

11.4 The applicant (Surrey Trading Standards) presented their case and gave their reasons for initiating the review. The applicant informed the Sub-Committee that the store was situated in a predominantly residential area and was a focal point for youths gathering and causing nuisance. There had been three occasions of test purchases of alcohol by minors at that Co-Op store over a five-month period and the applicant gave details of each incident and the company procedures that they considered had not been followed by staff members. The applicant accepted that company procedures themselves were sound but that they were not translated into effective action at the store.

11.5 The applicant was of the view that the Co-Op (the licence holder) had responded very slowly to requests for measures to be put into place to prevent anti-social behaviour at the store, in particular the updating of CCTV and proposals for classical music to be played in the store to deter young people from congregating.

11.6 Surrey Police then gave their evidence in support of the applicant. They informed the Sub-Committee that youths of predominantly 12-17 years of age congregated outside the Co-Op store causing anti-social behaviour which, in their opinion, was fuelled by alcohol bought from the store and which prompted the test purchases of alcohol by Trading Standards. Surrey Police were of the view that the company had not worked with them to expedite ways of addressing these issues, despite a series of meetings and frequent contact by the local police.

11.7 The Barrister for the Licence Holder was then invited to present his case and informed the Sub-Committee that he wished to do so by calling on staff to answer questions on the issues raised by the applicant and Surrey Police. It was agreed that questions would only expand on written statements already received.

11.8 The applicant and Surrey Police disputed a statement from the Store Manager regarding the number of incidents at the store over the past couple of months and following advice from the Assistant Solicitor to Council on options for continuing the hearing, the meeting was ADJOURNED at 11.45 am to enable all parties to share their information.

11.9 At 12.21 pm the meeting RESUMED and discussion continued.

11.10 The Barrister for the Licence Holder drew attention to the Police printout of incidents at the Store since September 2007 and was of the view that the store staff had co-operated with Surrey Police and that no direct link could be made between these incidents and the sale of alcohol from the store.

11.11 The Co-Op representatives informed the Sub-Committee that CCTV installation had been delayed due to internal administration processing problems, but was now in place. Door staff/security guards worked at the premises, as had been referred to earlier in the meeting.

11.12 Following an adjournment for lunch, the meeting resumed at 2.05 p.m.

11.13 The Co-op representatives informed the Sub-Committee about how their due diligence procedures were managed, including the disciplinary process for failures by stores. The circumstances behind staff employment and failures of test purchases at this particular store were described. They referred to around 20 test purchases from which 3 failures to prevent under-age alcohol sales had occurred. Procedures were described in a folder provided for all participants prior to the meeting. The Co-op’s barrister informed the Sub-Committee that the procedures for due diligence were more than adequate, and sufficiently robust to counter and deal with problems. Actions taken by the Co-op to deal with staff who had failed test purchase were proportionate and included 2 dismissals. It was the Co-op barrister’s view that the problem at this store appeared to be of a social nature, rather than one associated with alcohol sales.

11.14 Surrey Trading Standards, the applicant, reaffirmed that they were still of the opinion that the licence should be revoked, and this view was supported by the Surrey Police representative. The applicant emphasised that the Co-op evidence had not changed their view, and that sales of alcohol to people who were under-age were at the heart of social disorder in the immediate area.

11.15 The Assistant Solicitor to the Council reminded the Sub-Committee of Section 11 of the Government Guidance on Reviews, attached as an annexe to the agenda.

11.16 The Sub-Committee then withdrew to deliberate. During this time and allowing for the lateness of the hour, it was informally agreed by all parties that the decision of the Sub-Committee should be given in writing, as provided for in hearing regulations.

11.17 The Sub-Committee completed its deliberations at 5.00 p.m. and it was

RESOLVED that, taking into account the representations presented by all parties, the Revised Guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the steps that are necessary to promote the Licensing Objectives, the licence be SUSPENDED for a period of two months. During this period, the Co-op was asked to ensure that further staff training takes place for staff at this store, on Co-op procedures for the sale of alcohol. At the end of this period, the Co-op would be asked to give evidence of the success of the training to the Licensing Authority.

11.18 By way of explanation, the Sub-Committee gave the following reasons for its decision:-
The meeting commenced at 10.11 am and concluded at 5.00 pm.



Chairman
comms\licensing\2007-08\076 adjourned sub b 101207.doc