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Agenda item

Aldi, 681- 689 Holloway Road, N19 5SE - Premises licence variation

Minutes:

The licensing officer advised that the Community Safety representative was not able to attend the meeting however had stated that they maintained the objections detailed in their representation.

 

The licensing authority advised of a typographical error in their representation on page 104 of the agenda pack, and clarified that the premises is currently authorised for the sale by retail of alcohol, off supplies only, on Mondays to Sunday from 11:00 until 22:00. 

 

Public Health highlighted that there was a high level of alcohol related harm in the Junction ward and there was a significantly high level alcohol-related hospital admissions in the Junction ward. It was advised that the premises was close to the Whittington Hospital and, if the application was granted, it would increase the access to alcohol of vulnerable people leaving the hospital. 

 

A member queried how many licensed premises there were in the local area. In response, the licensing authority advised that there was a high concentration of licensed premises and the premises was located in the Archway cumulative impact area. It was also highlighted that there was a high level of problematic street drinking in the area.

 

Following a question, the licensing authority advised that they considered that the application did not sufficiently address cumulative impact issues. 

 

The applicant advised that a premises licence was granted in 2018 and therefore the applicant was well aware of cumulative impact issues in the local area. The applicant advised that they had engaged with the Police and additional conditions had been agreed to mitigate the impact on the cumulative impact area. The applicant advised that the purpose of the application was to provide morning customers with the choice and convenience of purchasing alcohol with their groceries. The application was part of an exercise to synchronise the licensable hours of all of their city centre stores and the premises was the only Aldi store in the country which was not allowed to sell alcohol until 11:00. The applicant contested that other competitor national supermarket chains operating in the local area were licensed to sell alcohol before 11:00. The applicant emphasised that the Police had not objected to the application and there were no crime or disorder issues associated with the premises.

 

The applicant had applied for Temporary Event Notices to test the proposed licensable hours; these were in place from 19 to 24 August and 26 to 30 August. During this period there were only three days when alcohol sales exceeded £100 before 11am, and these were around the Bank Holiday weekend. The average alcohol spend before 11am on all other days was between £28 and £66, which represented around 2.5% of sales. The applicant advised that they understood public health concerns, however they were a well-run national supermarket chain that sought to promote responsible alcohol consumption. It was advised that Aldi had an umblemished enforcement record and took their responsibilities around the sale of alcohol very seriously. It was commented that the existing licence was already heavily conditioned and the new conditions agreed with the Police would mitigate the impact of the increase in licensable hours. The applicant advised that they were willing to work closely with the Responsible Authorities.

 

The Sub-Committee noted that the Temporary Event Notices were in place over the summer holiday period and considered if footfall would be higher or lower than during other periods of the year.

 

The Sub-Committee queried why the applicant was applying for the sale of alcohol until 23:00 on Sundays. In response, the applicant advised the premises was bound by the Sunday Trading Act and was only open between 11:00 and 17:00 on Sundays. The applicant indicated that they would agree to terminating licensable activity at 17:00 on Sundays.

 

The Sub-Committee queried if they applicant fully understood concerns related to vulnerable people, such as hospital patients, having easier access to low cost alcohol in the mornings. In response, the applicant advised that they were a responsible operator and did not sell alcohol cheaper than independent retailers operating in the local area. It was advised that the relatively low volume of alcohol sales during the periods covered by the Temporary Event Notices indicated that there was a minimal impact associated with extending the licensable hours.

 

In summary, the licensing authority commented that their concerns had been somewhat allayed by the information provided verbally by the applicant and it was regrettable that this information was not provided in the original application.

 

The applicant said that the modest increase in licensable hours would provide customers with increased convenience and that they understood and respected concerns about protecting vulnerable people from alcohol related harm. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    To grant the application for a premises licence variation in respect of Aldi, 681- 689 Holloway Road, N19 5SE to allow the sale by retail of alcohol, off supplies only, Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 23:00; and Sunday and Bank Holidays 11:00 to 17:00.

b)    The conditions detailed at Appendix 4, page 111 of the agenda pack, agreed with the Metropolitan Police and consistent with operating schedule, 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 took into consideration Licensing Policies 2 & 3.  The premises fall within the Archwaycumulative impact area.  Licensing policy 3 creates a rebuttable presumption that applications for the grant or variation of premises licences which are likely to add to the existing cumulative impact will normally be refused following the receipt of representations, unless the applicant can demonstrate in the operation schedule that there will be no negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.

 

The Sub-Committee took into consideration Licensing Policy 4.  The Council has adopted a special policy relating to cumulative impact in relation to shops and other premises selling alcohol for consumption off the premises.  Licensing policy 4 creates a rebuttable presumption that applications for the grant or variation of premises licences which are likely to add to the existing cumulative impact will normally be refused or subject to certain limitations, following the receipt of representations, unless the applicant can demonstrate in the operation schedule that there will be no negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.

 

The Sub-Committee noted the representation from the interested party. The Sub-Committee also noted the representations from the Responsible Authorities. The applicant had agreed to the Police conditions and the applicant had demonstrated full engagement with the Police. 

 

The Sub-Committee noted that the application had not assessed the impact of the proposed variation on the Archway cumulative impact area, however the applicant did address these issues during the hearing and in summing up the Licensing Authority submitted that these issues had been satisfactorily addressed.

 

The Sub-Committee noted that the applicant had applied for Temporary Event Notices leading up to the hearing to provide the Sub-Committee with evidence regarding alcohol sales during morning hours. The applicant demonstrated high standards of management in accordance with Licensing Policy 8.

 

The applicant offered to amend the application in relation to Sundays and Bank Holidays so that licensed hours would be from 11:00 to 17:00.

 

The Sub-Committee referred to the Home Office Revised Guidance and noted that cumulative impact policies should be considered for each application and that applications that are unlikely to add to the cumulative impact should be granted. In line with this guidance, and the council’s Licensing Policy, the Sub-Committee was satisfied that the grant of the variation would not have a negative cumulative impact on the licensing objectives. The conditions were agreed with the Police and the Licensing Sub-Committee were satisfied that they were reasonable and proportionate to promote the licensing objectives.

 

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