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Appointment of Chair
Councillor Vaughan proposed and Councillor Di Cara seconded that Councillor Maxted be appointed as Chair of this meeting.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Robin Maxted was appointed Chair for the meeting.
The minutes of the meetings of the Sub Licensing Committee held on 1 April 2019 were approved and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a correct record.
Apologies for absence / declaration of substitute members
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) by members as required under Section 31 of the Localism Act and of other interests as required by the Code of Conduct
There were none.
The Chair welcomed everyone. All parties present introduced themselves and the Chair detailed the procedure to be followed and asked if there were any representations to vary it. There were none.
Counsel for the Applicant, Mr James Rankin, declared he would be speaking on behalf of the Applicant, Mr Forte.
The Specialist Advisor presented a report which outlined the application and highlighted relevant policy considerations.
The Chair invited Members and then the Applicant and Mr Rankin, to ask questions of the Specialist Advisor. There were none.
Mr Rankin, Counsel, representing the applicant, addressed the Sub Committee.
Having noted that no objections to the application had been received, Mr Rankin focussed on addressing considerations pertaining to the Council’s own Policy.
Points put forward for consideration included:
· That Mr Forte’s history of owning the adjacent nightclub demonstrated a well run establishment.
· That the investment in the nightclub had led to an increase of investment and overall improvement to the area
· That the Police traditionally welcomed such establishments, as high levels of management help to ensure avoidance of public disorder.
· That the variations being requested were in line with national trends and customer expectations around full nudity and that the Council’s policy had become outdated in this area.
· That the current licence conditions had deterred national companies who would otherwise have been interested in operating the premises.
· That the club would be appealing to the same customer profile as identified in the Council’s Tourism Policy (those aged 35+ with disposable income).
· That historically the 1 metre distance rule between dancer and customer had been shown to be difficult to enforce and difficult to evidence. Mr Rankin suggested that nationally, the stipulation now was for ‘no physical contact’ and further argued that this ‘simpler’ version was in line with advice from the Home Office and that the current Licence already had this stipulation (Condition 8) in place.
In summary, Mr Rankin said that the request for variations to the Licence brought the conditions in line with current expectations and norms, as outlined earlier.
The Chair invited Members to ask questions of Mr Rankin.
Councillors asked a number of questions and Mr Rankin replied, referring and expanding on the points of argument laid out in his addressing remarks.
Regarding questions about the variation for full nudity, Mr Rankin explained that his client had been unable to open and create a ‘track record’ because potential operators were not interested if they were unable to meet market expectation for full nudity. To operate the premises himself, his client would be faced with the same barrier to business success.
Regarding questions about the loss of the 1 metre rule distance rule, Mr Rankin argued that any safeguarding rule needed to be practical and enforceable to have meaning and cited legal best practice and Home Office advice to argue that the ‘No Touching’ condition was an easier and clearer cut rule to enforce, which was why other Councils had removed this clause. It was still important to remove the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.