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Agenda item

Islington Sports Bar and Grill, 274 Holloway Road, N7 6NE - Premises licence review

Minutes:

The licensing officer reported that the public health submission was not in the report and had just been circulated to members.  The applicant had also not received this submission and the licensing officer invited the licensee’s representative to make comments regarding this.  Further submissions that were circulated were CCTV evidence from the police and policies from the licensee’s representative which included proposed licensing conditions.

 

The police officer stated that a number of incidents had occurred at the premises and two officer panel meetings had been held to discuss management of the premises.  It had been agreed that the licence holder submit a variation to add conditions to the licence but this had not been submitted.  The police representative reported that conditions had now been agreed with all parties except one relating to SIA door supervisors. The police were asking for at least one door supervisor on Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm until closing time and a risk assessment be carried out for more if required.  The premises were agreeing door supervisors for Saturday only. The police representative reported that there had been a series of incidents and there had been a loss of confidence that the premises could uphold the licensing objectives of crime and disorder, public safety and the prevention of public nuisance. These were detailed in the papers. Following the Covid lockdown there had been three visits to the premises on the 3, 7 and 9 April where there had been non-compliance with social distancing and the premises were asked to attend an officer panel on the 22 April 2020. The designated premises supervisor was not present on the 7 July. Following further incidents documented in the agenda there was a further panel meeting on the 29 April 2021 and on the 8 May the police met at the premises. On that same day a member of the public called the police to a large scale disturbance from customers outside the premises. On the 25 May staff called the police as customers were refusing to leave and staff could not deal with this issue. Body worn footage of this incident had been circulated and it had also shown the co-owner who appeared to be intoxicated.  There had been a large number of issues and some agreement had been reached. It was considered that these issues would not have occurred if there had been an SIA presence.

 

In response to questions, it was considered that despite multiple visits things had not improved. In relation to the incidents detailed on CCTV it appeared that drinks had been provided after hours.

 

The Licensing Authority stated that there was a long history of non-compliance with Covid contraventions. A s80 noise abatement notice had been served in 2019 despite noise conditions on the current licence. She fully supported the need for SIA door supervisors and the extra conditions proposed and fully supported the review by the police. The officer from public health stated that she was in support of the conditions indicated by the police.

 

In response to questions, the Licensing Authority stated that the premises could hold over forty people  and fire risk assessments would have the correct numbers involved. She considered that risk assessments on numbers should be carried out for match days or where there were any specific events. It was stated that conditions had been broken on a regular basis.  There had been two panel meetings and also meetings at the premises to try and help them.  There had been no improvement prior to the review but since the review had been submitted the premises had been quiet. The need for a door supervisor would be for Friday and Saturday evenings.

 

The resident in support of the review stated that the premises had broken the law in respect of Covid with illegal lock-ins whilst other people were staying in. The premises had been served multiple improvement notices. He was concerned that the premises was not capable of upholding the licensing objectives. The premises had been visited almost weekly, at a higher rate than other licensed premises. He did not believe that a single doorman would  change anything. He asked that the Sub-Committee consider revocation or suspension of the licence.

 

The resident stated that the licence holder had breached conditions numerous times and he could provide evidence of this if necessary.  The resident stated where he lived in the vicinity of the premises.

 

Three residents spoke against the review. One resident stated that he lived across the road and had never witnessed any issues or criminal activity.  He had found the premises very strict with regard to Covid compliance.  Temperatures had been taken, there had been table service.  On a Friday evening there may only be 5 or 6 customers and he did not see the point of having SIA door supervisors on those evenings. There were very few local pubs and this premises made you feel welcome and was a pleasant place to go. He could not make comments on issues that he had not seen. A second resident stated that he lived and worked opposite the venue.  He had been a police officer for 20 years and he saw the premises adhering to the licensing hours, running very well organised football events. He had seen this local business grow, had been refurbished and decorated and offered employment to local people. A young person would regard the premises as a place of safety. He could not understand why the review had been submitted. There had been no evidence. The place was a friendly clean venue. Covid rules were enforced rigorously. During Euro 2020 there had been no issues and there had been one night of problems when customers did not want to leave the premises.  A third resident stated that he was a health professional and considered that the Covid rules at the premises were second to none and he considered that they had addressed procedures very well.

 

In response to questions, one of the residents stated that he lived opposite and had no issues with the premises.  He kept his windows open and had no issues with noise. He found staff to be friendly and efficient.  It was accepted that none of the residents had been present on the days that the incidents described had taken place.

 

The licensee’s representative stated that the issues for agreement were narrow. The only condition in dispute was one condition relating to door staff. A whole range of conditions had been agreed.  On a normal non match day Thursday/Friday and Saturday they would do a risk assessment whilst the Police would like to see at least one SIA door supervisor on a Friday and Saturday evening. The independent witness had visited on two busy nights.  He stated there had been issues previously but moving forward with management, additional licensing holders, conditions and door staff on a Saturday night he considered that the premises would uphold the licensing objectives.

 

The designated premises supervisor stated that more management structures had been put in place, there was a dispersal policy, policy regarding the pavement licence, staff had been retrained in Challenge 25 with till recording, and there was a clear staffing structure. There were two other licensees and three other staff were working towards their licence. Friday was a traditionally quiet night and Mondays to Thursdays were busier.  There was a concern that had been raised on the 8th May regarding condition 18 currently on the licence. The issue was that people gathered outside the premises when matches were taking place and there had been discussion that blinds be installed and pulled down when live sport was taking place. There were two points that required consideration:- a) it was considered that there was no need for door supervision on a normal Friday but they agreed to risk assess in advance and agreed to a door supervisor on a Saturday b) an amendment to condition 18 to allow the installation of blinds. A further resident added in support of the premises that he agreed with the other residents against the review and said that the premises had no incidents and were very compliant with Covid regulations.

 

In response to questions, it was noted that there was now a refusals record on the till to make it easier to record refusals. When asked about what had happened previously, the designated premises supervisor stated that if the customer had no ID, service would be refused and it wasn’t recorded. They had been open for three years. When challenged, he stated that refusals had been recorded in a book.  He then stated that the premises had upgraded to record on the till and an easier structure had been put in place. New policies and restructured policies had been put in place.

 

In response to further questions, the independent witness stated that he had made recommendations following visits to the premises.  He usually attended unannounced. His report was independent.  He was paid for his report but his fee was not dependant on its contents.  It was noted that last orders were at 11.45pm and all patrons have left by 12.30. Glasses were collected. Door staff monitored dispersal. Regarding the incident shown on CCTV the door supervisor stated that no drinks had been passed over after midnight. Staff had tried to call Nightsafe but had no response and the issue had escalated.  He was not present on that particular evening.

 

In summary, the police stated that the bar had a lot of support from the community but a local resident had reservations and had invited the Sub-Committee to suspend the licence.  Following on-going dialogue it was considered proportionate to agree a tight package of conditions which had been offered and was supported by the Licensing Authority, with one issue outstanding regarding the SIA door staff.  The licensee had offered no material evidence regarding the Friday evening and the police considered that the SIA condition be for both Friday and Saturday evenings.

 

The licensing authority agreed with the stance on risk assessing provision for the weekends.  This should be based on numbers and special party and event days.  The concerns of neighbouring residents should be taking into account.

 

The resident in favour of the review stated that there had been a long time line.  Serving drinks after hours had been captured on video and the licensee had denied this.  The Sub-Committee had seen evidence that this was the case. The police knew that the premises were already poorly managed.

 

Residents in support of the premises stated that there was noise from McDonalds and the premises had recently made drastic improvements.  A second resident stated that incidents had not been witnessed, businesses should be given a chance and when he had been there the premises had been more than compliant. The residents were glad to have a local and hoped that they would continue to do so.

 

The licensee’s representative stated that the independent advisor had generated a number of updated policies.  He stated that a normal Thursday/ Friday and Saturday evening would always be risk assessed and would be covered by this. There was no evidence against the new condition to replace condition 18 and it was asked that this also be considered.  It was proportionate to impose conditions to limit door staff to a Saturday.

 

RESOLVED

1)           That the designated premises supervisor, Mr John Phelan be removed and the conditions modified in respect of Islington Sports Bar and Grill, 274-276 Holloway Road, N7 6NE.

2)           Conditions as circulated at the meeting from the licensee’s representative shall be applied to the licence with the following amendments and as detailed in full below:-

 

Proposed condition 2 to read.

 

On any Friday or Saturday and on any day where there is an Arsenal home or away match or Emirates Event/Screening, a minimum of 2 SIA registered door staff to be on duty at the venue from 1800 hours and to remain until half an hour after closing to assist with quiet dispersal of customers.  The licensee shall take into account any advice offered by Police concerning the provision of door supervisors.

 

Proposed condition 8b to commence.

A pre-match or event risk assessment shall be undertaken by the management and completed on each occasion to consider additional SIA provision and any other measures deemed relevant.

 

3)        Conditions detailed in full.

 

1.        There shall be a personal licence holder on the premises throughout the time that licensable activity is taking place. Mr Mick Doherty shall not be engaged in front of house management of the licensed premises whilst licensable activity is taking place, nor shall he be responsible for close-down procedures.

 

2.        On any Friday or Saturday and on any day where there is an Arsenal home or away match or Emirates Event/Screening, a minimum of 2 SIA registered door staff to be on duty at the venue from 1800 hours and to remain until half an hour after closing to assist with quiet dispersal of customers.  The licensee shall take into account any advice offered by Police concerning the provision of door supervisors.

 

3.        [*to replace/update current 2.7*] CCTV shall be installed, operated, and maintained, to function all times that the premises is open for licensable activities. Said CCTV will comply with the following criteria:

 

(a)       The licensee will ensure that the system is checked every two weeks to ensure that the system is working properly and that the date and time are correct.

 

(b)       A record of these checks, showing the date and name of the person checking, will be kept and made available to the police or other authorised officer on request;

 

(c)       The Police will be informed if the system will not be operating for longer than one day of business for any reason;

 

(d)       One camera will show a close-up of the entrance to the premises, to capture a clear, full length image of anyone entering;

 

(e)       The system will provide full coverage of the interior of the premises and any exterior part of the premises accessible to the public;

 

(f)        The system will record in real time and recordings will be date and time stamped;

 

(g)       At all times during operating hours, there will be at least 1 member of staff on the premises who can operate the system sufficiently to allow Police or authorised Council officers to view footage on request.

 

(h)       Recordings will be kept for a minimum of 31 days and downloaded footage will be provided free of charge to the police or other authorised officers on request (subject to the Data Protection Act 2018) within 24 hours of any request.

 

4.        [*to update current 2.14*] The premises will operate the 'Challenge 25' proof of age scheme.

 

(a)       All staff will be fully trained in its operation.

(b)       Only suitable forms of photographic identification, such as passport or UK driving licence, or a holographically marked PASS scheme cards, will be accepted.

                                                                                                    

5.        [*to update current 2.22*] The total number of persons on the premises, including customers and staff, shall not in any circumstances exceed the number determined on the current fire risk assessment.

 

6.        The premises shall no open before midday on the date of any Premier League, Football League, Football Association or FIFA designated football match played within the boundaries of the M25 unless otherwise agreed with Islington Police Licensing Team and the Local Authority.

This condition shall not be applied to the licence.

 

7.        [*to update current 2.19*] On days when Arsenal Football Club are playing at home at the Emirates Stadium:

 

(a)      The designated premises supervisor (or a personal licence holder who has been approved by the Police to deputise for the designated premises supervisor) will be present for the duration of the match day opening unless exceptional circumstances apply.

 

(b)      There shall be no alcohol sales in glass containers at any time. All sales will be supplied in plastic receptacles, and any bottled drinks will be decanted into a suitable receptacle.

 

(c)       A pre-match risk assessment shall be undertaken by the management and completed for every upcoming match day to consider the SIA provision cover and any other measure deemed relevant. Said assessment will take account of any advice offered by the Islington Licensing Police Team and Local Authority in relation to that particular game, as well as the licensee's own knowledge of the previous history of any fixture in past seasons and the profile of any persons likely to attend the venue during that matchday. Said assessment will be recorded in a suitable log and made available to the Police and Local Authority on request.

 

(d)      There shall be a minimum of 2 SIA licensed security staff on duty at the premises from 4 hrs before kick off until closure. Said members of SIA shall be clearly identifiable, in every case wearing suitable high visibility clothing and with SIA accreditation clearly and openly displayed.

 

(e)      The lead door supervisor shall wear a working body camera.

 

(f)       Themanagement will ensure security staff and other staff members assist police or local authority officers at all times with any enquiries they make in the execution of their duties.

 

(g)      On match days and any other days when the management anticipate attendance approaching capacity a suitable clicker or other monitoring system shall be employed to monitor and manage capacity.

 

8.        On days when Arsenal Football Club are playing away or at any neutral or foreign venue and the match is being screened at the premises or when other ticketed events or boxing/UFC or MMA events are shown or the Emirates Stadium is hosting major non-football events:

 

a) The premises will not open before midday unless otherwise agreed with the Islington Metropolitan Police Licensing Team and the Local Authority.

This condition shall not be applied to the licence.

 

(a)      A pre-match or event risk assessment shall be undertaken by the management and completed on each occasion to consider additional SIA provision and any other measures deemed relevant.  Said assessment will take account of any advice offered by the Islington Licensing Police Team and Local Authority in relation to that particular game, as well as the licensee's own knowledge of the previous similar events and the profile of any persons likely to attend the venue during the event or matchday. Said assessment will be recorded in a suitable log and made available to the Police and Local Authority on request.

 

(b)      When the management anticipate attendance approaching capacity a suitable clicker or other monitoring system shall be employed to monitor and manage capacity.

 

9.        Door Supervisors Register - A register, in a hardback book, shall be maintained recording all SIA door supervisors employed at the premises. Security personnel registered with the Security Industry Authority [SIA] and employed at the premises must enter their full name, valid phone contact details, SIA Badge Number in full, employing company, along with the time that they are working in the register upon commencement of their work at the premises. The Designated Premises Supervisor/manager at the time will be responsible for ensuring this is done, that working staff are in possession of their badge and for confirming the security staff details and permission to work. The book is to be endorsed by the management at the end of each night.

 

10.      [*to update current 2.23 ,15 ,16 ,17,23*] The licensee shall ensure that all staff are trained on relevant matters, including the conditions of the premises licence, age restricted products, the operation of the CCTV system and how to deal with visits from authorised officers.

 

The licensee shall keep written records of training and instructions given to each member of staff , detailing the areas covered to include the Licensing Objectives , identifying persons under 25, making a challenge, acceptable proof of age & checking it, making & recording a refusal, avoiding conflict & responsible alcohol retailing.

 

Staff shall sign to confirm that they have received and understood the training. 

 

All staff who work at the premises will be trained for their role on induction and be given refresher training every six months thereafter.

 

The written training records kept for each staff member will be retained on the premises and produced to police or any authorised officer upon reasonable request.

 

11.  Where the premises licence holder receives a request from a third party to hire out the whole of the premises, a risk assessment shall be undertaken and the booking shall be notified to the Police in advance of the event. Such notification to the Police shall be submitted where reasonably practicable, at least 7 days in advance of the event.

 

12.         The premises to operate a zero tolerance policy to drugs will be adopted and enforced and posters shall be prominently displayed to this effect. Toilet cisterns shall be provided with sloping lids or similar and toilet seats without seat covers to discourage drug and psychoactive substances use, however this requirement can be waived by the Police if suitable alternative drug use prevention measures are agreed.

 

13.      [*to update and replace 2.38 and 39*] The premises licence holder shall endeavour to eliminate or minimise any nuisance arising out of its licensable activities. In doing so the premises licence holder will work with enforcement authorities where any issues are identified. A complaints procedure will be maintained in order that local residents have a means of contact if necessary the contact telephone number for the premises licence holder/designated premises supervisor/duty manager shall be displayed at the premises such that it is clearly visible without the need to enter the premises.

 

11.      [* to update condition 18] 

 

The front windows of the premises shall be clear and transparent, without any form of concealing film or curtain, so as to allow an unobstructed view of the interior from the street. However, it is permitted for blinds to be installed and closed during standard hours for licensable activities when a sporting event is being shown 

This condition shall not be applied to the licence.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION

The meeting was facilitated by Zoom.

 

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 review was brought in relation to three of the licensing objectives:

1)   The prevention of crime and disorder

2)   Public Safety

3)   The prevention of public nuisance.

 

The review was brought following a number of incidents at the premises. There were various incidents in April 2021 when the premises was not complying with Covid regulations. On 8 May 2021 police received a call from a member of the public regarding a fight outside the premises. On 18 May 2021 there was an alarm call at the premises and on 25 May 2021 staff called police as there were 40 people in the bar refusing to leave. Police were concerned that alcohol had been served to intoxicated customers and that alcohol had been served outside licensed hours.  Police also expressed concern that the management of the premises did not take action to tackle incidents at the premises; it was a member of the public who called police on 8 May 2021 and CCTV footage of the incident shows management observing the fight and taking no action.  The Sub-Committee heard that the premises management had largely agreed conditions following the review, but that there was disagreement with regard to the use of SIA door supervisors, and the management had initially disagreed with the mandatory conditions attached to the licence.

 

The Sub-Committee heard that there had been two panel meetings with premises management and the police had proposed extra conditions to be added to the licence. The police were particularly concerned with the behaviour of the co-owner, who had been found on the premises clearly intoxicated.

 

The Sub-Committee heard from the Licensing Authority that there had been a long history of non-compliance at the premises including Covid contraventions and the service of a noise abatement notice in 2019. The Licensing Authority stated that residents are still suffering. The Sub-Committee heard from an interested party who lived above the premises that the premises were chronically mismanaged, that they had been given many chances to improve and that there were still huge failings.

 

The Sub-Committee heard from three neighbours speaking in support of the premises that the premises was a safe and pleasant place to go that served good food and made everyone feel welcome. The neighbours stated that they had never witnessed problems at the premises and that the premises had stringent Covid procedures in place.

 

The Sub-Committee heard from the licence holder’s representative that the premises had agreed a range of conditions with the police and that the only real issue remaining was the question of SIA door staff at the premises. The police were requesting that the premises employ SIA door staff on a Friday and Saturday as well as Arsenal match days. The licensee stated there was no need for SIA door staff on Fridays as this was not traditionally a busy day for the premises and the premises had agreed to conduct risk assessments to assess the need for further SIA cover. The licence holder’s representative also requested an amendment to existing condition 18 so that the premises could install blinds to cover the windows.

 

The Sub-Committee noted the report of Mr Studd, which confirmed details of his visits to the premises and his impression of the management of the premises and the structures that have been put in place moving forward.

 

Upon responding to questions, the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) stated that the premises now had a refusals logging system on the till at the premises.  The DPS stated that previously, ID would be requested and if it was not provided service would be refused but the refusal was not recorded. Upon further questioning the DPS stated that the premises did previously have a refusals book but this was now done on the till which was a better system. The DPS was asked whether any new policies had been put in place since the review, and confirmed that the policies were already in place but had been restructured e.g. the pavement licence management policy. There was also a dispersal policy, retraining on Challenge 25 and a clear staffing structure.

 

The Sub-Committee was concerned that there had been a history of issues at the premises and it appeared that new procedures had only recently been put in place. It appeared from the evidence that there had been multiple breaches of the licence before the review and the premises management had been given ample opportunity to rectify the problems and apply to have suggested conditions added to the licence. However, the premises management had not taken any of the recommended steps and breaches of the licence continued.

 

The Sub-Committee was concerned that the current standard of management at the premises was insufficient and that there was a real danger that the licensing objectives would not be promoted, particularly in respect of crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance, if the premises was allowed to continue under the current management. The Sub-Committee agreed with the Police that the co-owner, who had been found intoxicated on the premises, should not be allowed to have any ongoing involvement with management. The Sub-Committee also concluded that the current DPS, who had been responsible for the premises throughout the period of concern, should be removed as the Sub-Committee was not satisfied that the premises would comply with any extra conditions when it had not complied with previous conditions under his management.

 

In light of the evidence of incidents at the premises that required police attendance, the Sub-Committee concluded that SIA door staff should be present at the premises on Fridays and Saturdays as well as match and other event days. The presence of SIA door staff would also control any customers congregating outside and so there was no need to change existing condition 18.

 

The Sub-Committee concluded that the removal of the DPS together with the addition of further conditions, including preventing the co-owner from having further involvement with management, was the most appropriate course of action that would balance the amenity of those local residents who found the premises a valuable community resource, and the needs of the business and amenity of those resident living immediately around the premises.  The removal of the DPS and addition of conditions would promote the licensing objectives and was a reasonable and proportionate response to the Police review. 

 

Supporting documents: