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					LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009


MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE HELD IN
COMMITTEE ROOM 2/3, CIVIC OFFICES, ANGEL STREET, BRIDGEND ON FRIDAY,
23 JANUARY 2009 AT 10:00AM

                                       Present:-

                               CJ James - Chairperson

                                   Councillor

                                   M Butcher
                                   W B Morgan

Officers:

Y Witchell      -    Licensing and Registration Officer
R Morris        -    Senior Licensing Assistant
A Lee           -    Legal Officer
R Lewis         -    Legal Officer (Observer)
S Richards      -    Enforcement Officer
G P Jones       -    Principal Cabinet and Committee Officer

112    APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

       None

113    DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

       None.

114    LICENSING ACT 2003
       APPLICATION FOR VARIATION OF PREMISES LICENCE

       The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the Sub-
       Committee and the Officers to those present.

       The Applicants were represented by Mr R Thompson - Gosschalks Solicitors and
       Carol Rowles, from Asda.

       The Licensing and Registration Officer informed the meeting that before the
       application for the variation of the premises licence could be considered it was
       necessary to determine whether the advertisement period, which formed part of
       the requirement of the application, as detailed in Statutory Instrument 2005/42
       Regulation 25, had been complied with. She explained that notices regarding the
       proposed changes of the application were to be displayed for a 28 day period
       from 3 - 31 December 2008 on the premises of the Asda store.

       She advised the Sub-Committee that a notice had been found lying on the
       ground by a member of the public. The notice had appeared to have been
       placed on the perimeter of the Asda premises and had been forcibly removed
       and discarded. The notice was retained by the person finding it to see if the
       notice was replaced. When she realised that the notice was not being replaced
       she handed it into the Licensing Office and made a complaint. A letter from Asda
       stating the details of the notices was attached at Appendix G of the report.




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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009


      The legal representative of the applicant indicated that there were two
      requirements for the display of notices. The first were that notices were to be
      displayed on the perimeter of the premises at interval of approximately 50m.
      Checks of these notices were carried out as part of the security walk made
      regularly by Asda staff. These notices had also been checked by Council
      Officers in an unannounced visit and were found to be satisfactory.

      Secondly, there was a requirement to display the notices on the premises where
      they could be conveniently read. Notices were placed in the foyer when
      recommended by the Officers on their announced visit. He suggested that Asda
      had been compliant with regulations regarding the display of notices. The details
      of the comments made by the applicants legal representative were supported by
      an explanation from the Asda manager who stated that the notices had been
      inspected regularly.

      The Members queried whether a log was kept of the security walks and details of
      any problems with the display of the notices. The Asda representative informed
      the Members that a log was not kept.

      The Licensing and Registration Officer then informed the Members of the letter of
      objection that had been received. This letter had been summarised in the report
      but had not been included. The legal representative from Asda was shown a
      copy of the letter and confirmed that he had no objection that the complainant
      address the Members regarding her letter.

      Mrs J Lench of Jenkin Street addressed the meeting and explained the
      circumstances of her finding the notice, and that it had not been replaced. She
      requested that the Council in future delivered flyers to local residents, which
      would enable everyone to be aware of what was happening.

      The Licensing and Registration Officer informed her that the regulations
      governing applications provided no powers to post flyers and that the Local
      Authority had to follow the regulations. She added that public notification also
      included the publication of the notice in a local newspaper which in this case had
      been done in the Glamorgan Gazette on 11 December 2008.

      The legal representative of the applicant reminded the Sub-Committee that
      Council Officers had undertaken an unannounced check of the notices on 15
      December 2008 and found all notices in situ. Furthermore, the advice from those
      council officers had been taken and additional notices had been placed in the
      foyer of the premises. He added that the regulations for the publication of notices
      had been complied with.

      With no further comments or queries the Sub-Committee withdrew to consider
      the matter. On their return it was:-

      RESOLVED:             That the Sub-Committee determined that the applicant had
                            complied with SI 2005/42 Regulation 25, in that the
                            publication of notices had been properly carried out.

      The Licensing and Registration Officer informed the Sub-Committee that an
      application had been made by the Asda Store to extend the hours of the supply
      of alcohol from 0700-0000 hours on Mondays to Saturdays and from 1000-1600
      hours on Sundays. The application also included the provision of late night
      refreshment from 2300-0000 hours from Monday to Saturday. This application
      would enable the licensed hours to mirror the opening hours of the establishment.

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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009



      She informed the Sub-Committee that several representations had been received
      and had been included at Appendices D-F in the report. These representations
      had been copied to the applicant whose responses had been included at
      appendices G-I of the report.

      The Chairperson invited the objectors that had made representations to introduce
      themselves. The Objectors were:- Mrs Joan Lench, Councillor E M Hughes who
      was representing the daughters of Mrs Lench, and Mr Griffith.

      The Legal Representative of the applicant outlined the details of the variation of
      the premises license. He commented that if the licence was granted, the
      additional hours were only intended to be used during key trading periods such
      as Christmas and Easter in order to meet the requirements of the customers. It
      was explained that the planning application restricted the granting of a 24 hour
      licence and that this variation would provide Asda with the flexibility to provide
      appropriate service to their customers, when it was expected that alcohol be
      available for sale. The addition of the late night refreshment licence was to
      enable the store to continue to sell hot food such as rotisserie chicken during the
      hours that the stores was open. Currently, this type of hot food was not allowed
      to be sold after 2300 hours without the late night refreshment licence. He added
      that there we no plans to open a café or allow a burger van on the site.

      He then reviewed the representations that were made in the report. He explained
      that Mrs Lench had commented on the noise and nuisance in the area, and the
      dangers of bottles and other alcohol receptacles being strewn in gardens or
      placed on walls since the opening of the Asda store. He reminded the Sub-
      Committee that incidents that had been mentioned were at 11-11:30pm when the
      store closed at 10pm therefore the issue was not related to the sale of alcohol at
      the Asda store. He suggested that these issues were for trading standards and
      other organisations to deal with and was not a licensing matter.

      He then commented on the objections raised by Mr Griffith. The Legal
      representative stated that there was no confirmation that these incidents
      described by Mr Griffith related to the sale of alcohol at the Asda Store. He
      suggested that this was a Police matter and if they perceived this as an issue the
      Police would have made their own representations regarding this application.

      The legal representative informed the Sub-Committee that Asda had a restriction
      that only over 25 year olds were allowed to purchase alcohol rather than the
      standard 21 year old age restriction. He stated that Asda also ensured that all
      check-out operators were over 18 years old and that they all received training
      regarding the sale of alcohol. It was added that the underage sales had be
      tested by the Trading Standards department and no incidents of any underage
      sales of alcohol had been made. The Child Protection unit had not submitted any
      representations to the variation of the license.

      The Members queried the provision of CCTV at the premises and were informed
      that there was CCTV camera on the premises and that there was a good working
      relationship with the Police who would request the use their footage for incidents
      away from the store.

      Mr Griffiths questioned the applicants as to whether staff were appropriately
      trained to deal with incidents in the car park areas when identified by the CCTV
      cameras. It was explained that there were no SIA trained staff on the premises



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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009


      and that incidents in the car park were would be dealt with by the Police would
      not be for staff to deal with.

      Mrs Lench questioned the store closing times over the Christmas period and that
      the increased footfall would increase the potential for nuisance and inappropriate
      behaviour in the neighbourhood. The Asda Manager responded that the later
      hours of opening hours would only be for key business periods and would not be
      provided on a permanent basis.

      The Licensing and Registration Officer informed the meeting that Councillor E M
      Hughes had been nominated as a representative of the daughters of Mrs Lench
      and the legal representative of the applicant confirmed that he had no objection
      to Councillor E M Hughes asking questions or making representation on behalf of
      Mrs Lench’s daughters.

      Councillor E M Hughes requested clarification of Section L of the application in
      that it was requested that the late night refreshment referred to both indoor and
      outdoor activities. It was explained that this had been done as a matter of course
      and to prevent any issues arising from the sale of hot food that could be
      considered as “takeaway” meals. It was re-iterated that late night opening of the
      café or any outdoor catering facility was not planned to be introduced at the store.

      The members of the public that had submitted representations were then invited
      to make their representations to the Sub-Committee. Mrs Lench asked if she
      could show some photographs to the Sub-Committee. The applicant’s Solicitor
      viewed the photographs and confirmed they had no objections to them being
      introduced. Copies of the photographs were made and distributed to those in
      attendance at the meeting.

      Mrs Lench described the series of photographs and explained how each one
      represented an issue that affected her family and her neighbours but in particular
      those of her special needs daughter. She explained that vehicles often blocked
      her garage when the shop was open. Blocking her garage created issues for her
      daughter being taken to appointments in the hospital. This situation would be
      made worse if the hospital introduced charging for those patients that missed
      appointments. She confirmed that these were not Asda stores vehicles but these
      vehicles were parked in front of her garage when the store was open and this
      would be worsened by extending the licensed hours.

      She then indicated that empty alcohol bottles were either left on top of the wall or
      thrown into adjacent gardens. This caused a hazard from broken glass or from
      objects falling off the walls as people passed. She also stated that the general
      behaviour of people had worsened since the opening of the Asda store. There
      were cases of graffiti, people sitting and drinking in the lane behind her house
      and men urinating in the street or lane in the area. Incidents of this type would
      increase if the hours for Asda to sell alcohol increased.

      It was noted by the applicant that there were many takeaway establishments that
      contributed to the noise and aggravation caused in the local area. These
      incidents could not be attributed to the Asda store and it was not within the remit
      of this Sub-Committee to deal with these issues.

      Mrs Lench stated that her main priority was ensuring her right to a good nights
      sleep. It was vital that her daughter maintained a settled routine and the noise
      and aggravation until 10pm could be managed, but that after that time it had a
      considerably greater detrimental effect on her daughters and her own lives. She

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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009


      suggested that a gate could be erected on the Asda Store boundary line which
      could be closed at 10pm which may address some of the issues that she and her
      family were facing. The Adsa representatives suggested that the provision of a
      gate could be investigated but that the other issues were matter for the Police to
      deal with. She was asked if any of the incidents could be attributed to the Asda
      store. Mrs Lench replied that she was aware of only one incident where a man
      had taken a bottle of alcohol from an Asda bag and started to drink it outside her
      house.

      Mr Griffith was then given the opportunity to make his representation to the Sub-
      Committee. He offered to provide Members with photographs and videos clips
      on his computer that showed the Asda car park being used for a youth car rally
      and alcohol being consumed by youths. The legal representative of the applicant
      viewed the material and objected to the introduction of this material as it was
      taken after the store was closed on a Sunday when they are not asking for extra
      hours on a Monday and as it was not the responsibility of the store as to what
      took place on the car park when the shop was closed.

      The Members retired to consider and decided not to allow this additional
      information.

      Mr Griffith stated that the Asda store car park was inn the middle of a residential
      area. The car park was permanently illuminated at night and attracted many
      youths in their cars, late at night to the area. He suggested that these gatherings
      provided an opportunity for youths to drink alcohol and create a nuisance. The
      proximity of the residential area increased the impact of these events on the local
      inhabitants which would only be worsened if the licensing hours were extended.

      Councillor E M Hughes was invited to make her representations to the Sub-
      Committee. She questioned how the Licensing Objectives could be served by
      increasing the hours that alcohol could be sold in this area. She indicated that
      the current hours already had a detrimental impact on the residents of the area
      and that this could not be addressed by increasing the hours that Asda was
      licensed to sell alcohol. She commented on the efforts that the Council and other
      agencies were making to address the issues of antisocial behaviour and
      nuisance as a result of excessive drinking. She stated that she supported the
      Street Pastors and the Triage Scheme that had received praise from the
      Secretary of State for the work that they were doing to address the binge drinking
      culture in the town. This application would have a negative effect on those that
      were trying to improve the lives of residents from the blight of binge drinking.

      The Objectors were then offered the opportunity to sum up their objections, Mr
      Griffiths stated that there were many places within Bridgend that sold alcohol late
      at night and their was no need for any more to fuel drinking related nuisance
      particularly in a residential area. Mrs Lench suggested that if the licence was
      required why was it not applied for initially when the store opened. Her family’s
      right to a good night sleep would be jeopardised by the increase in licensing
      hours at Asda. Councillor E M Hughes indicated that the efforts to reduce binge
      drinking and the impact on communities would be for noting if stores were given
      the opportunity to extend the hours they were able to sell alcohol.

      The Legal Representative of the Applicant acknowledged the comments that had
      been made but suggested that the increase in hours only allowed the store to
      provide a full service to its customers for the duration of its opening hours. The
      increases were minimal and although if granted the store would be able to sell



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LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE - 23 JANUARY 2009


      alcohol in these extended periods it was not anticipated that this would be the
      case on a regular basis.

      He reminded the Sub-Committee that the statutory bodies such as the Police,
      Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Child Protection had made not
      representations and that reflected the awareness of Asda in trying to meet the
      Licensing Objectives. He added that Asda took their responsibilities seriously
      and this was shown by the over 25 restriction and that all checkout staff were
      over 18 and received training in the sale of alcohol.

      He commented on the representations that were made and indicated that no
      evidence was presented that linked the events that were described and the sale
      of alcohol from the Asda store. The vendor could not be held accountable or
      responsible for the actions of those people that had legally purchased alcohol.

      He added that the company were in discussions regarding the lighting of the car
      park area and the possibility of installing a gate that could be closed at 10pm
      would be discussed. He requested that members base their decision on the
      requirements of the licensing objectives which were the determining factors n
      allowing a license to be granted or varied.

      The Members withdrew to consider the matter and on their return it was:-

      RESOLVED:             The Sub-Committee have considered the applicants case
                            and the objectors case in detail. We were impressed that
                            Asda has in place a number of policies in relation to the
                            sale of alcohol and consider them to be a responsible
                            applicant. We have taken note that none of the
                            responsible authorities have made representations today.
                            We must be minded of the policy at Section 7.1. We
                            consider that there has been no evidence put forward
                            today that persuades us that by extending the licensing
                            hours, this will negatively impact on the four Licensing
                            objectives, or that the problems currently put forward by the
                            objectors will be exacerbated. We sympathise with the
                            resident’s plight. We strongly urge them to take up their
                            complaints with the appropriate bodies, but there is no
                            evidence that these matters can be linked to the licensing
                            hours of the Asda store. We grant the application as
                            applied for.

The meeting closed at 1.54pm.




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