The licensing officer reported that the application had been amended as follows:-
The extension of hours until 01:00 on Friday and Saturday.
The amendment of conditions as follows:-
Condition 1 to read:- No beers, lagers or ciders of above 6% abv shall be sold on the premises, save for premium bottled beers agreed in advance with the police or licensing authority.
Condition 2 to remain on the licence.
Condition 3 to be removed.
Following these amendments the police had withdrawn their representation however the resident had not engaged further with the licensing team.
The Licensing Authority stated that the licensee had been at the premises only for a short time, since November 2020. There had been no details given for mitigation in this area. She stated that the representation was maintained and the applicant could explain how the application would not add to the cumulative impact.
The applicant stated that he wished to provide local residents with a can of beer up until 1am. There were not many local stores that were open at this time due to the pandemic. They had received a positive resident representation.
In response to questions there would be three people in the store until 1am for staff safety. They wished to give residents an option to purchase food products or alcohol at that time of day. Some residents just required a single can of beer. They would not stock super strength alcohol that might appeal to street drinkers but wished to stock premium or beers from local brewers to give residents an option. They had got to know the local residents and what they want from their store. There was another local store nearby that closed at 11pm.
The Licensing Authority did not consider that the application had explained how they would not add to the problems that arose from selling alcohol at that time of day. They did not seem to understand the problems that were in a cumulative impact area and why the policy had been brought in.
The applicant stated that they had been in Islington for 15 years. They wished to serve local professional residents and did not think they would create more crime. They managed the premises well and received positive feedback from residents.
That the application for a new premises licence, in respect of Alternative Supermarket, 360 Essex Road, N1 be refused.
REASONS FOR DECISION
This meeting was facilitated by Zoom.
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 premises concerned is a shop with an off sales licence. The licence was granted in November 2020. The application was to vary the licence, merely six months after it had been granted. The variation, following amendments to increase the licensable hours by two hours to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition the licensee applied for the certain conditions applied to the licence in November 2020 to be removed or varied.
The applicant applied for Condition 1 to be varied to enable premium beers be sold above 6% abv, provided this had been agreed in advance with the Police and Licensing Authority. The applicant also applied for Condition 2, which in its original form prohibited spirit miniatures or other bottles at or below 33 cl being sold from the premises at any time, to be removed from the licence conditions, and thirdly he applied for Condition 3, which prohibited single cans of beers being sold from the premises, to also be removed from the conditions.
At the meeting, the Sub-Committee was informed that the Police agreed to Condition 1 being amended as applied for, and for Condition 3 to be removed. The applicant withdrew the request for Condition 2 to be removed.
The premises are not situated in a specifically designated Cumulative Impact Area. They are however covered under Licensing Policy number 4 which is an umbrella policy relating to off sales.
The Council has adopted this 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 found that the applicant did not satisfactorily address the cumulative impact issue, either in the application itself or at the hearing. There did not appear to be a cogent reason for the extension of the hours and the relaxation of the conditions, so soon after the licence had been granted, especially considering the lockdown effects that would have had on trading in the past 6 months.
The Sub-Committee noted that the hours sought were outside the hours permitted framework hours as set out in the Licensing Policy. The Sub-Committee concluded that the applicant did not rebut the presumption that the granting of the variation as amended, would negatively impact on the licensing objectives.
The Sub-Committee concluded that the refusal of the variation application was appropriate to promote the licensing objectives.