Agenda item



The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management reported upon an application that had been received from Mr T Verma for the grant of a Premises Licence in respect of News 4 You, 264-266 Conway Street, Birkenhead, under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.


The premises previously held a Premises License. This was revoked on 20 October 2011 following an application made my Merseyside Police to review the licence.


The application for the grant of a Premises Licence was for the following hours:


Sale by Retail of Alcohol


Sunday to Saturday 07:00 to 23:00


Hours Open to the Public


Sunday to Saturday  07:00 to 23:00


Mr Verma had submitted an operating schedule setting out how the business would be conducted/managed in accordance with the four licensing objectives. A copy of the full application was available.


In respect of this application a representation had been made by Merseyside Police and the Licensing Sergeant advised that the granting of the application would undermine the licensing objectives due to the recent history of the premises and the number of relevant convictions the proposed Premises Licence Holder/Designated Premises Supervisor currently had recorded against him.


Representations had also been received from a local resident and Stronger Communities Initiative Assembly. The representations related to high levels of anti-social behaviour caused by youths within the immediate vicinity of the premises due to the previous availability of alcohol at the premises.


A representation had also been received from Birkenhead and Tranmere Ward Councillors which supported the concerns from local residents.


The applicant, Mr Verma attended the meeting together with his representative, Mr Douglas.


Sergant P Jenkins, Constable P Coley and Councillor Jean Stapleton were also in attendance.


The Licensing Manager confirmed that all documentation had been sent and received and that all parties had given consent that Councillor Stapleton may make representations at the hearing. The applicant requested permission to submit a petition in support of the application.  Sergeant Jenkins and Councillor Stapleton had no objections to this, therefore the petition was distributed to Members.


Mr Douglas addressed the Sub-Committee and asked Members to consider this application without reference to the history of the premises when under previous ownership. He also requested that Members disregard issues that had occurred in the premises situated in Liverpool as it had been confirmed by Trading Standards that Mr Verma had not been responsible. He advised Members that Mr Verma had no connections with previous owners and had been operating from the premises for two and a half months as a convenience store.


Mr Douglas addressed the points raised by Merseyside Police and local residents and felt that there were no grounds for objection to the application. With regards to previous convictions incurred by his client, he asked Members to consider that Mr Verma had not had his Personal Licence revoked in Court and believed he was therefore entitled to hold the position of Designated Premises Supervisor.  Mr Douglas referred to paragraphs 4.28 to 4.31 of the Statutory Guidance issued under the Licensing Act 2003 and pointed out that his client’s convictions did not go against any of the Licensing Objectives.  He referred to the petition submitted which contained 326 names in support of the application and reiterated that this was a new application, therefore his client had no connection with previous problems regarding the history of the premises.  Mr Douglas referred to the Thwaites case and submitted that there was no evidence to support refusal of the application.  He reminded all parties of the review procedure should any of the licensing objectives be undermined and asked that the application be granted.


The applicant and his legal representative responded to questions from Members of the Sub-Committee, Mr D K Abraham, Legal Adviser to the Sub- Committee and Sergeant Jenkins.


Sergeant Jenkins outlined his formal objections to the application for the grant of a Premises License. He accepted that Mr Verma had not been involved in the underage sale made at a premises in Liverpool where he had been Designated Premises Supervisor. He discussed objections in line with the Licensing Objectives He explained that given the criminality that had been associated with these premises, Merseyside Police would not sanction these premises to be licensed again unless they were run by trustworthy, responsible and competent people. He made clear that the well being of the local community must take precedence over enterprise and made reference to Mr Verma’s convictions and questioned his integrity.


Councillor Jean Stapleton then made representations on behalf of local residents. She confirmed that she was also speaking on behalf of her ward colleagues, Councillors Phil Davies and Brian Kenny. She reported on the improvement of the quality of life for local residents since the licence had been revoked at these premises in October 2011. Councillor Stapleton believed that anti social behaviour in the area would be exacerbated and asked Members to seriously consider the negative impact the premises would have on the local community should the application be granted.  Councillor Stapleton requested that the application be rejected.


Sergeant Jenkins and Councillor Stapleton responded to questions from Mr Douglas.


Mr Douglas and Mr Verma responded to further questions from Members of the Licensing Act Sub-Committee and Sergeant Jenkins


Members gave careful consideration to the application made by Mr Tajinder Verma for a Premises Licence in respect of the premises News 4 U, 264-266 Conway Street, Birkenhead.  Members read and listened carefully to the written and oral representations made by Mr Verma and Mr Douglas on his behalf.


Members also considered the representations made in writing and orally at the hearing by officers from Merseyside Police as well as representations from the Ward Councillor, Councillor Jean Stapleton who had spoken on behalf of the local community and the Stronger Communities Initiative Assembly and a local resident.


In determining the application Members had regard to the licensing objectives, the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and relevant guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.


Members heard evidence from Merseyside Police that they had serious concerns should a Premises Licence be granted to the applicant due to the fact that he had shown a disregard for the law in relation to alcohol related matters.  The applicant was asked to demonstrate what his responsibilities were under the Licensing Act 2003 and how the licensing objectives would be upheld by him should the Premises Licence be granted.  Members were not satisfied by his responses and considered that he was unable to demonstrate that he had the understanding or level of competency to deal with issues pertinent to this particular area as described by Merseyside Police and the Ward Councillor.


Members also heard evidence from the Ward Councillor in particular regarding anti-social behaviour within the vicinity of the premises and that there had been a dramatic reduction in such incidents since the previous Premises Licence had been revoked.


Sergeant Jenkins confirmed this and it was his professional opinion that if the licence was granted such incidents would increase and thus undermine the licensing objectives.


Resolved -


(1)  That in accordance with Regulation 14(2) of the Licensing Act 2003, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the application.


(2)  That the application for a Premises Licence in respect of News 4 You, 264-266 Conway Street, Birkenhead be refused.

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