See Minute No 98 above for details of discussion.
That the shadow premises licence, in respect of Club Aquarium, 256-260 Old Street, EC1V 9DD, be modified to the following licensing hours:-
· Sunday to Thursday 8am to 1am
· Friday and Saturday 8am to 2am.
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 listened to all the evidence and submissions and considered the material provided. 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 considered Home Office Guidance, paragraph 9.12 which sets out that the police should usually be the licensing authority’s main source of advice on matters relating to the promotion of the crime and disorder licensing objective. The Sub-Committee noted that the guidance sets out that it remains incumbent on all responsible authorities to ensure that their representations can withstand scrutiny.
The police stated that they were relying on all the same evidence that had been submitted for the review of the licence held by Club Aquarium. The police summarised their evidence under four headings:-
1) Too much crime
2) Problems since premises on notice of review
The Sub-Committee noted the submissions from the NTIA that the safe management of cultural events was a challenge across London. The remedy was not to take away a licence but to attempt to resolve issues with key stakeholders.
Club Aquarium presented the Shield report which scrutinised the police evidence and it was submitted that a number of crimes presented by the police could not be attributed to the premises. However, the Sub-Committee concluded that the incidents put forward by the police were linked to the premises. The Sub-Committee considered the Shield report and were not persuaded that crimes should be categorised as not attributable to the premises. The Sub-Committee considered that, in terms of the promotion of the crime objective, there should be no distinction of violence towards staff or anyone else. The Sub-Committee were of the view that, where a crime report was self-generated by the venue staff, this should be recorded as an incident at the premises.
The Sub-Committee noted the licensee’s representations as set out in their letter dated 23 January 2020. However, the level of crimes at the premises were a concern to the Sub-Committee and it considered that the licensee would have some powers over Club Aquarium in the context of their business relationship. Furthermore, as a premises licence holder, the licensee should demonstrate the promotion of the licensing objectives.
The Sub-Committee was particularly concerned about the timing of the offences and the level of intoxication associated with a large number of the reported offences. The Sub-Committee noted that the offences were generally occurring in the early hours of the morning and the earliest offence since the review occurred at 2.30am. The Sub-Committee also noted the statement of Chief Inspector Holyoak that the premises had placed a disproportionate burden on local police resources and posed a risk to the public.
In accordance with licensing policy 29, the Sub-Committee considered the options available and decided that it would be proportionate and appropriate to restrict the hours of operation. The Sub-Committee noted that there was a striking pattern of offences associated with the premises in the early hours of the morning. It was therefore reasonable and proportionate for the hours of operation to be reduced and brought within the Councils framework hours for a nightclub. This was in accordance with licensing policy 5 which states that a limitation on hours will be imposed where premises are shown to be the focus or cause of crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Sub-Committee considered the option of imposing further additional conditions but was satisfied that with the conditions in place the licensing objectives would be promoted. In particular, the Sub-Committee noted the condition already in place that provided that the licence shall have no effect until it is transferred to the operator approved by the police.
The Sub-Committee referred to paragraph 11.20 of the Home Office guidance and was satisfied that the appropriate and proportionate remedial action was for the reduction in hours and this would ensure the promotion of the licensing objectives.