Licensing Sub Committee (ceased to operate 10/04/2017) Minutes

Tuesday, 14th February, 2017
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1AU
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Cllr Paul Kirton (Chairman), Cllr Evaline Cunningham Cllr Bill Woodhead(MBE),
J Nertney (D of HRL&C), L Maloney (DCE),
In Attendance:
JD Wetherspoon Plc (Premises Licence Holder) represented by Nigel Connor (Solicitor) also in attendance Richard Buller, Area Manager and Josh Morrison, General Manager. Mr Thomas representing Norton Village Association.
Apologies for absence:
Item Description Decision

RESOLVED that the application for Variation of a Licence, The Highland Laddie, 59 High Street, Norton, Stockton on Tees be granted as detailed above.


RESOLVED that Councillor Kirton be appointed as Chairman for this meeting only.
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
There were no declarations of interest.
Members were required to determine an application for variation of a licence for the premise The Highland Laddie, 59 High Street, Norton, Stockton on Tees.

The application for variation had been received from J D Wetherspoon Plc, in relation to The Highland Laddie, 59 High Street, Norton, Stockton on Tees. The proposed variation was for the following:

•To extend the terminal hour on Friday and Saturday nights to 01:00 for the sale of alcohol and the provision of late night refreshment.

•To extend the commencement time to 09:00 every day for the sale of alcohol.

•To extend the terminal closing time on Friday and Saturday nights to 01:30.

The Chair introduced all persons who were present and explained the procedure to be followed during the hearing.

The Applicant JD Wetherspoon Plc (Premises Licence Holder) represented by Nigel Connor (Solicitor), Richard Buller, Area Manager and Josh Morrison, General Manager were all in attendance at the meeting.

Representations had been received from seven Interested Parties. The representations related to Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Public Nuisance and Public Safety objectives.
Only one interested party, Mr. Thomas was in attendance at the meeting, who was representing Norton Village Association.

There were no representations received from any of the Responsible Authorities.

It was noted that one of the representations raised an issue concerning the advertisement of the application at the premise and noted that the statutory process had not been correctly followed as the advertisement was not on light blue paper. The Committee dealt with that matter as a preliminary issue and were of the view that no prejudice had been caused and that in fact the person who had raised the issue had made a representation. The Committee had regard to relevant case law on procedural defects including the case commonly referred to as Funky Mojoe. The Committee were happy to proceed and gave consideration to the report, the application and the representations which had been received from the seven interested parties.

The Applicant informed the Committee that JD Wetherspoon Plc had acquired the premise in 2012 and that prior to their ownership it had a fairly chequered history. They opened the premise on 01.10.13 and it had proved very popular with local customers. The premise offered food between 08:00 and 23:00 hours and was a community pub as opposed to a vertical drinking establishment.

The Applicant asked the Committee to note that no representations had been received from responsible authorities, in particular Cleveland Police.

The Applicant summarised the due diligence procedures operated at the premise including Challenge 21 Policy.

The Applicant responded to some of the issues raised within the representations. The Applicant highlighted that some of the representations were from a commercial competitor and although they were entitled to make a representation the Committee should attach what weight they saw fit to those. The Applicant stated that the premise had attempted to arrange a residents meeting however it was not attended. It was indicated that the Applicant was more than willing to liaise with Norton Village Association. The Applicant informed the Committee that the premise had already traded at a later hour on bank holidays without complaint or issue and in his view the area could not be clearly described as residential as it was a busy high street with a Tesco Express and Pizza shop.

A number of the representations received from interested parties were commercial in nature as they were submitted from another licensed premise within Norton. It also appeared that two of the other representations received were from persons connected with that premise. They were not in attendance at the meeting however the Committee had regard to their written representations which were contained within the main report.

Mr Thomas was given the opportunity to make representation and spoke on behalf of Norton Village Association. Mr Thomas informed the Committee that he had lived in the village for 26 years. Norton was a conservation area with Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings.

Mr Thomas stated that residents were currently concerned at the nuisance caused by taxis queuing in the High Street to collect customers and it was felt that an extension may exacerbate the problem. The main concern was the level of noise from people leaving the premise at a later hour.

The Committee were mindful that any evidence to persuade the Committee to refuse or vary the application had to be linked to the licensing objectives.

The Committee noted that this was not a review of the licence but an application to permit additional hours for the supply of alcohol. Many of the issues raised by those who made representations, although genuine concerns for the local residents, were not evidence specifically linked to the premise and the application as sought.

The Committee attached little weight to the representations from the commercial competitor, as matters of “saturation” were not relevant considerations in relation to this application.

The Committee noted that representations had not been received from the responsible authorities. In particular there was no representation from Cleveland Police and therefore no statistical or other evidence concerning crime and disorder at the premise.

After giving consideration to all of the evidence and representations made both in writing and orally the Committee were of the view that on the evidence before them the licensing objectives would not be undermined and the application as detailed within the report was granted subject to the following conditions being attached to the licence:-

•On a Friday and Saturday evening a minimum of 2 SIA registered door supervisors shall be employed at the premise from 20.30 hours till closing time.

The Committee did wish to remind local residents that the Licensing Act 2003 does allow persons and bodies to seek a review of a premises licence. Review applications would need to be supported by evidence which showed that the premise was undermining the licensing objectives.

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