The licensing officer presented their report. Members had no questions for the licensing officer.
The applicant and their agent addressed the sub-committee. Members had questions for the applicant and their agent.
It was noted that the responsible authorities had conciliated with the applicant.
The licensing sub-committee heard from other persons (local residents) objecting to the application. Members had questions for the other persons objecting.
The licensing sub-committee also noted the written representations of other persons objecting to the application, who were not in attendance.
All parties were given up to five minutes for summing up.
The meeting adjourned at 11.43am for the sub-committee to consider its decision.
The meeting reconvened at 12.20pm and the chair advised everyone of the decision.
That the application made by Elim House Community Association Southwark to be granted under Section 17 of the Licensing Act 2003 in respect of the premises known as Elim House Community Association, 86 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London SE15 4RQ be refused.
This was an application for a premises licence made by Elim House Community Association Southwark in respect of the premises known as Elim House Community Association, 86 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London SE15 4RQ.
The licensing sub-committee heard from the applicant and the applicant’s representative who advised that the premises licence would be for social evenings that would attract an older demographic.
When asked, the applicant’s representative informed the sub-committee that the premises could not operate solely under temporary event notices (TENs). Under the TENs regime, 20 TENs could be the submitted which were insufficient to make the operation financially viable. The applicant’s representative stated that it was proposed to utilise the premises licence approximately two nights a week (on days not disclosed to the committee) and hold the occasional celebratory events throughout the year (examples that were given included Black History Month and wakes).
The applicant’s representative stated that the issues raised by residents were due to the Bradfield Domino Association who ran late night domino events, with their patrons leaving the centre late after competitions. The Bradfield Domino Association now, no longer had use of the Centre, and they had been informed of this.
The licensing sub-committee heard from other persons one, five, six and nine, who stated that they supported the daytime facilities of a centre for elderly people and they were keen to find a middle ground to support it further. However, the issues the local residents complained of dated back to 2014.
The residents had met with the applicant in March 2022 to discuss several of the issues. An agreement had been reached, but the applicant had failed to implement that agreement. For example, the applicant had put security in place during the late night events, which worked for a while, but they were dropped. The applicant had also given his telephone number to residents so they could raise any matters with him directly. However those residents found that the applicant had blocked their numbers. This was not denied by the applicant. Although well meaning, it was felt that the applicant was not able to manage the events. Until such time the Applicant could manage the centre effectively, the residents urged the sub-committee not to grant a licence.
The local residents were regularly disturbed by noise. On occasions, speakers had been placed outside blaring music and large numbers of people congregated around the centre after the wakes and other parties. The application only dealt with the licensing of the centre itself and did not address the issues being experienced as a result of the centre outside of the application curtilage.
In addition to people congregating, they allowed alcohol to be drunk on the street. If the premises had a maximum accommodation limit of 180, with a closing of 23:00, it would mean 180 people could be dispersing in a quiet residential area when people were trying to sleep. The noise disturbance the residents currently experienced would increase. When residents had tackled the issue with the centre’s patrons, they were met with aggression.
Elim House only had a parking facility for three vehicles. The photographs in the agenda papers demonstrated that the parking issues were severe. It was suggested by residents that the centre attracted people who lived a considerable distance away. The premises were located on Bellenden Road which is a narrow, one-way street. The manner in which patrons parked their vehicles was extreme.
Patrons would often park on the pavements, sometimes double parked, which meant not only residents having parking problems, but also, the emergency services would have difficulty accessing the road. The sub-committee noted that on occasions the emergency services and also other road users were required to mount the pavement in order to pass such parking. Residents and the applicant had contacted Southwark’s parking team but were told that they would not have officers enforce late at night due to fear.
The licensing sub-committee also noted the written representations from seven other persons who were not present at the meeting.
The licensing sub-committee also noted that the responsible authorities from the council’s environmental protection team (EPT), trading standards and licensing as a responsible authority had withdrawn their representations, having conciliated additional conditions.
The licensing sub-committee carefully considered the application. It acknowledged a need for a licensed premises specifically for the older persons demographic, but the need was outweighed by the negative impact on local residents.
The applicant was aware of the problems and matters causing concern to local residents, but the sub-committee felt that they had not gone far enough to address them. In particular, it was noted that although the representation from EPT, which included conditions obliging the applicant to install ventilation and sound insulation, had been conciliated prior to the hearing, the applicant seemed unaware of the obligations they had taken on. The applicant’s representative contended that these conciliated terms related to a different license application.
Whilst the Bradfield Domino Association no longer uses the centre, it was not until the applicant became aware of the former’s separate premises licence application, that sought hours until 02:00, thus, putting their own application at risk, that he chose no longer allow them to use the centre.
The sub-committee felt that the applicant could have evicted the domino association when they became aware of the residents being regularly disturbed, but failed to do so. Similarly, the applicant was aware of the acute parking issues, but failed to address these adequately, or at all.
During the discussion part of the meeting, it was the applicant’s position that they had done all that they could to address the parking issues by informing the Council’s parking team and directing patrons to nearby car parks. The applicant appeared to have failed to consider section 10 of Southwark’s statement of licensing policy regarding the third licensing objective, the prevention of public nuisance. Had the applicant had regard to this licensing objective, it would have assisted in dealing with a range of nuisances that could potentially impact on residents in the vicinity of the premises, which included noise nuisance and parking (paragraph 264).
Whilst the applicant may have limited control concerning matters beyond the premises curtilage, such as parking, They did not dispute the premises was the source of the problem. If this licence application were granted, the sub-committee are of the view that the promotion of public safety licensing objective would be undermined.
Under Southwark’s statement of licensing policy (SoLP) the premises are situated in a residential area. It is also situated in the Peckham cumulative impact area (CIA). The classes of premises to which the policy applies is defined as follows: night clubs; pubs and bars; off-licences, grocers, supermarkets, convenience stores; and similar premises
Under the CIA there is a rebuttable presumption that applications for new premises licenses that are likely to add to the existing cumulative impact will normally be refused. It is a matter for the applicant to demonstrate that if the application is granted, the premises would not contribute to the negative local cumulative impact on any one or more of the licensing objectives. In this case, the applicant failed to rebut the presumption to refuse this premises licence application.
The sub-committee were referred to R (on the application of Westminster City Council) -v- Middlesex Crown Court  EWHC 1104 in which HHJ Baker adjudicated “Notwithstanding the applicant being a fit and proper person and the premises would be well run a licence could be refused on the sole ground that the area was already saturated with licence premises….and the cumulative effect of the existing premises was impacting adversely on the area to an unacceptable level”.
The applicant is of course at liberty to submit a further application. However, in order for any premises licence application to be successful, the applicant is strongly encouraged to address cumulative impact and properly engage with residents so that there is no negative impact on them from the operation of the premises. It is suggested that the applicant utilises the TENs regime for the wakes and other events to properly demonstrate that they are a capable and effective manager to hold a premises licence.
In the circumstances and since the premises is located in the Peckham CIA this application is refused.
In reaching this decision the sub-committee had regard to all the relevant considerations and the four licensing objectives, the public sector equality duty and considered that this decision was appropriate and proportionate.
The applicant may appeal against any decision:
a. To impose conditions on the licence
b. To exclude a licensable activity or refuse to specify a person as premises supervisor.
Any person who made relevant representations in relation to the application who desire to contend that:
a. The licence ought not to be been granted; or
b. That on granting the licence, the licensing authority ought to have imposed different or additional conditions to the licence, or ought to have modified them in a different way
may appeal against the decision.
Any appeal must be made to the Magistrates’ Court for the area in which the premises are situated. Any appeal must be commenced by notice of appeal given by the appellant to the justices’ clerk for the Magistrates’ Court within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the appellant was notified by the licensing authority of the decision appealed against.