The licensing officer reported that additional information had been circulated. Photographs had been removed from the agenda as had been requested. The premises had been closed for two weeks for sound insulation works to be undertaken.
The licensing authority stated that the premises were in a cumulative impact area and it was expected that licensees would demonstrate high standards of management. The application would allow a pub style venue if granted. The temporary event notices had been used for the year. The licensee had put forward a detailed operating schedule. The licensing authority agreed that there was a need for a well-run pub in the area but considered that all works should be completed to ensure protection for residents. There was a fully functioning kitchen and food could be available at all times. A reduction in hours to framework hours could be considered. The Sub-Committee needed to be convinced that the licensee understood what is acceptable.
The interested party stated that this was the second variation application in just over a month. The applicant had not demonstrated a high standard of management. The noise team had witnessed contraventions. It was considered inconceivable that there would be no cumulative impact if food was not required with alcohol. Photos had been taken of customers outside with no food and it was stated that the licensee would not comply with his responsibilities. Drink promotions had been advertised and these would inevitably lead to drunkenness and anti-social behaviour issues. The interested party had received an abusive phone call and the police had stated that it had been linked to the premises. This raised serious concerns about the applicant. There had been an incident towards the end of April where the premises had been very noisy. The resident had been unable to contact the noise team and approached the bar. The designated premises supervisor (dps) had blamed the resident for having no carpet in his flat, which he did have. Rather than apologising, the dps had blamed the resident. It was considered that the licensee put profit before the licensing objectives. It was not considered there was a shortage of bars; there were 30 within one mile. It was in the public interest to have good responsible bars but the applicant was not able to abide by restrictions to the licence and it should be rejected.
The licencee’s representative stated that the management of the premises and the cumulative impact had been considered at the last application. The noise team was now satisfied. The licensing authority had highlighted the cumulative impact. At the last application, the management team were in transition. The designated premises supervisor had run bars for the last 20 years and he was unproven at the time. Following numerous visits by the police and licensing team there had been no complaints. The resident had taken photographs of customers without food but it was stated that you could go in any restaurant and take photographs similar to this between courses. The sales of food were greater than drink. The police had investigated the telephone call to the resident and no action had been taken. There was a proposed condition relating to football away fans. There were also noise insulation works currently being undertaken. There had been no instances of crime. £200 000 had been spent on the premises in addition to soundproofing works. A number of bars had been changed into coffee shops along Holloway Road and they did not consider they would add to the cumulative impact. The number of patrons dispersing from the premises was insignificant in relation to the number dispersing from the stadium and the tube station. There were no public safety issues and they had fulfilled all their obligations regarding CCTV.
The manager stated that both her and the designated premises supervisor had run pubs together previously. Staff training and procedures had been implemented and there were no new customers after 10pm. Most of what the police had requested was already in place. There had been a huge improvement. She stated that the resident had come down to the bar at the end of April but she had made apologies and he had agreed at the time.
An interested party in support stated that he had been in the pub on approximately a dozen occasions, four on match days. He had not seen any trouble and there had been no indication that there would be. He considered the pub to be well run and managed and noise had not been excessive. He considered them to be a very well run pub and would support the application. Another interested party in support stated that she had been attending since it had opened and felt that it was a very friendly and comfortable environment.
In response to questions it was stated that the premises had 12 staff, all sourced from previous sports bars which had experience of football crowds. A new security team had now been employed at the advice of the licensing team. In relation to the telephone call to the resident, it was initially considered to be a wrong number but personal details about him were detailed and police concluded it had been related to the premises. The resident had only just got back from holiday and had been working away during the week. The 5 July was the first day he could allow the noise team access to his property. The CCTV was looked after by a maintenance team and was remotely maintained. Challenge 25 was a daily issue and it was accepted by the manager that this could be included in the checklists. The temporary event notice that had not been applied for had been prior to the previous hearing. The licensing and police visits had shown general satisfactory compliance and it was considered that significant steps had been taken. It was noted that the premises did not have drink promotions and the website had not been updated.
In summary the interested party raised concerns about the drink promotions still being advertised and noted that there was no reference to any food in the twitter feed. He stated that this did raise concerns about the character of management. There were also comments about going to the ‘pub’ rather than the restaurant.
The licensee’s representative stated that there had been a significant improvement since the last hearing. This was a well-managed bar/restaurant. This was previously a public house and then had been converted to a chicken shop. This could only run as a well-managed sports bar.
1) That the application for a new premises licence, in respect of Islington Sports Bar and Grill, 274 Holloway Road, N7 7NE be granted to allow:-
a) The sale of alcohol, Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 am until 11:00 pm and Friday and Saturday 10am until midnight.
b) The provision of late night refreshment from 11pm until midnight Friday and Saturday.
c) The premises to be open to the public from 10:00 am until 11:30 on Sundays to Thursdays and until half past midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
2) That conditions detailed on pages 49-52 of the agenda shall be applied to the licence.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Sub-Committee listened to all the evidence and submissions and read all the material. The Sub-Committee reached the decision having given consideration to the Licensing Act 2003, as amended, and its regulations, the national guidance and the Council’s Licensing Policy.
The Sub-Committee noted that the premises were in the Holloway Road and Finsbury Park cumulative impact area and that therefore there was a presumption that a variation which would have an impact on the licensing objectives would be refused.
The Sub-Committee took into account licensing policy 2 regarding potential impact on residents, past compliance history of current management, the proposed hours of operation and whether the licence holder was able to demonstrate commitment to a high standard of management. Under licensing policy 3 the presumption can be rebutted if the applicant can demonstrate in the operating schedule that there will be no negative cumulative impact on any of the licensing objectives. The licensing authority also took into account that in the Holloway Road and Finsbury Park cumulative impact area the local authority is committed to working with existing licence holders to maintain a well-managed evening economy that meets residents and business needs whilst minimising any adverse impacts in terms of crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour.
The past compliance history of management prior to the previous hearing of an application to vary in March 2019 had been poor. However, there appeared to be a new management team and since the appointment of the new designated premises supervisor, there had been significant improvement. The management appeared conscious of their responsibilities and the effect of the cumulative impact policy and had operated successfully with TENs. Works to minimise nuisance from noise was being carried out and the premises would not operate until the works had been completed to the satisfaction of the responsible authorities. The Sub-Committee saw photographs taken by residents but also heard evidence from the applicant and the licensing authority that it was impossible to say with any certainty that people were consuming alcohol without food in breach of the current licence condition.
Under licensing policy 5 where representations were received, the local authority might restrict the hours of opening where it is appropriate to promote the licensing objectives. Home office guidance, April 2018, paragraph 9.42 states that licensing authorities are best placed to determine what actions are appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives in that area and all licensing determinations should be considered on a case by case basis.
The Sub-Committee concluded that with the amendment to the hours so that they were those specified in licensing policy 6 and the conditions agreed and put forward by the applicant and the responsible authorities there would be no adverse impact on the licensing objectives as a result of the variation. It was proportionate and appropriate to the licensing objectives and in the public interest to grant the variation with those conditions.