APPLICATION TO VARY A PREMISES LICENCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE LICENSING ACT 2003 - FIT GRILL, 1a VILLAGE ROAD OXTON
The Director of Law and Governance reported upon an application that had been received from Fit Foods Wirral Limited to vary a Premises Licence in respect of Fit Grill, 1a Village Road, Oxton.
It was reported that the premises currently have a Premises Licence and the permitted hours were set out within the report. The hours applied for to vary the Premises Licence were also set out within the report. The application submitted was also to remove a condition from the Premises Licence that “the primary use of the premises shall be that of a café/restaurant and alcohol will only be sold as an ancillary to the provision of food.”
The applicant 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. Members were advised that the proposals set out in the operating schedule may become conditions of the licence should the application be granted.
In respect of the application eight representations had been received from local residents. The representations related to concerns of crime and disorder and public nuisance being caused to local residents should the application be granted. Copies of the representations were available.
The applicant, Mr Robinson attended the meeting. A number of local residents were also in attendance.
The Licensing Manager confirmed that all documentation had been sent and received.
The Licensing Manager outlined the report.
The applicant advised that the application had been made in order to seek flexibility to provide some customers with alcohol without the provision of food and to extend the times during which the business could operate. The applicant highlighted the fact that the premises had been closed for most of the year due to the pandemic which had resulted in a financial impact on him and the business. Mr Robinson emphasised the fact that he did not want the premises to operate as a bar and it would be first and foremost a restaurant with the provision for people being able to continue to drink after they had finished their meal and for a limited number of people to have a drink without having a meal. He informed Members that he would not allow large groups of people to enter the premises for a drink only and that he expected this offer to be primarily for couples.
Mr Robinson outlined the way in which his business operated which was to provide healthy food and drink to his customers. He advised that smoking and vaping would be discouraged outside the vicinity of the premises.
Mr Robinson responded to questions from Members of the Licensing Panel, local residents and Mr D K Abraham, Legal Advisor to the Panel.
Mr Robinson acknowledged the concerns expressed by residents and advised that he was very much aware of the issues relating to parking in the area. He advised the Panel that he did not want the operation of his business to be a cause for concern to local residents and that he was aware of his obligations to prevent public nuisance.
In response to questions from local residents, Mr Robinson advised that there would only be background music played at the premises and that he would operate table service only. He informed Members of the Panel that he would also be content for his contact number to be shared with local residents. He also referred to concerns expressed regarding a neon ‘bar open’ sign displayed at the premises and whilst he did not accept that this portrayed his business as a bar, he agreed that he would remove it.
The local residents in attendance expressed their serious concerns that the application to vary the Premises Licence would result in the premises operating as a bar. They reported that this would result in increased noise and disturbance late at night and exacerbate the difficulties related to parking in the area.
The residents who lived directly opposite the premises expressed concerns that they would suffer disturbance from customers standing on the pavement outside the premises and also leaving the premises late at night. In response to these concerns the applicant advised that he would discourage persons from standing outside of the premises and manage customers leaving the restaurant so that they do not cause a nuisance to local residents.
In determining the application the Licensing Panel had regard to the Licensing Objectives, the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the Statutory Guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.
The Licensing Panel had particular regard to the fact that the applicant advised that the removal of the condition that “the primary use of the premises shall be that of a cafe/restaurant and alcohol will only be sold as an ancillary to the provision of food” would not change the primary use of the premises as a restaurant and that the reason for seeking this variation was to allow flexibility to provide some customers with alcohol without the provision of food. The Panel took into account the fact that the current planning permission relating to these premises is that its primary use must be as a restaurant/café and not as a bar.
In coming to their decision Members of the Licensing Panel gave consideration to the assurances provided by the applicant that the premises would not operate as a bar and would be managed in such a way as to prevent any nuisance being caused to local residents.
Members of the Panel noted the willingness of the applicant to share his contact number in order to liaise with local residents in respect of any concerns that may arise.
In determining the matter, Members of the Licensing Panel had regard to Section 15 of their Licensing Policy which refers to premises situated in close proximity to residential accommodation.
Whilst the Members of the Licensing Panel noted the concerns of local residents in respect of parking, they considered that this was not a relevant matter for them to consider when determining an application for licensable activities at these premises which already had planning permission to operate as a restaurant.
In determining the application Members also had regard to the fact that there were no representations from any of the Responsible Authorities.
Members also took into account Section 11 of the Guidance in respect of the review mechanism provided by the Licensing Act 2003 when problems associated with the Licensing Objectives occur after the grant of a Premises Licence.
(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 to vary a Premises Licence in respect of Fit Grill, 1a Village Road, Oxton, be granted with the following hours:
Sale by Retail of Alcohol
Sunday to Saturday 08:00 to 22:30
Hours Open to the Public
Sunday to Saturday 08:00 to 23:00
And that the following condition be removed:
· The primary use of the premises shall be that of a cafe/restaurant and alcohol will only be sold as an ancillary to the provision of food be removed.
(3) That in addition to the conditions set out in the operating schedule, the following conditions be placed on the Premises Licence:
· The premises must not be referenced or promoted as a bar.
· The premises must operate table service only.
· The premises must implement a dispersal policy which includes customers remaining inside the premises whilst waiting for taxis.