Noodle Brat, 53a Clerkenwell Close, EC1R 0EA - New Premises licence
The Chair of the Sub-Committee opened by asking the licensing officer for any additional information that had become available since the publication of the agenda. In response, the Licensing Officer informed the Sub-Committee that additional material had been forwarded to the residents that members of the Sub-Committee also had sight of. In respect of representations, the Licensing Officer told the Sub-Committee that there was one on page 100 which didn’t disclose address so should be disregarded. Pg 113 withdrawn objection.
When asked by the Sub-Committee to outline their objection, the interested party - a resident who lived above the premises – responded, stating that the building was Grade II listed and dated from 1793, it was old, small, and fragile, and they were afraid if there were more activities within the building, its structural integrity might be compromised. The resident questioned the proposal that had been communicated to them that heat detection was to be integrated into the building alarm system, because it was only Noodle Brat that had the building alarm. The resident also wanted to know when the inspection referred to in the application / reports took place, as well as the fire mitigations. The resident stated that the answers they received from the applicant was not satisfactory.
In response, the Chair of the Committee advised the resident that these questions were mostly planning regulations were mostly concerning planning regulations and asked the resident to outline any queries in relation to the licence itself and how it would affect them. The resident responded in saying that Noodle Brat currently operated on weekdays and that they were afraid that if granted an alcohol licence, the premises would be sold onto another operator. The resident also stated that they didn’t believe Noodle Brat to take the rules seriously in relation to table licences. The Licensing Officer intervened to state that the resident’s detailed objections could be found at Page 107 of the report.
When asked by the Sub-Committee to present their case, the Legal Representative for the applicant stated that the licence would only be for the building itself, and only for the on sale of alcohol consumption. The Legal Representative stated that the applicant had tried to engage with the residents who had made representations, noting that two had since withdrawn – there was difficulty in contacting some due to the anonymity of some representations. The Legal Representative stated that it was appreciated that the premises was located within a cumulative impact zone and noted that the premises would be fully closed by 11pm. Conditions with the police and licensing authority had been agreed. There would be no vertical drinking. There were two additional conditions put forward; one was to have a notice for patrons to be respectful of residents and the other was to sweep the curtilage at the end of evening.
When invited by the Legal Representative to put forward his case, the applicant told the Sub-Committee that he managed an investment business property in Clerkenwell that had been trading for twenty years. They had identified a local operator called Katsuma and approached them regarding a lease on the property. After these discussions, the applicant decided to partner in the business, in which the aim was to create a high-quality Japanese restaurant that catered to a well-heeled audience. The applicant stated that currently, the premises enjoyed lots of repeat customers and has been successful since it opened.
Responding to the resident, the applicant stated that the Fire Risk Assessment happened once a month, and that there was a fully operational smoke detection system in place. The applicant stated that there continued to be discussions regarding ventilation in the property and open dialogue with planners about how the smell can be reduced through carbon mechanisms.
The Legal Representative stated that restricting hours to 9pm would have an impact on the delivery of service as there were currently two sittings in the evening which would need to be reorganised.
The Legal Representative noted that the restaurant begun operation in August 2022, but without the sale of alcohol. However, customers begun bringing their own into the premises, and that this application for a licence to sell alcohol was a way of the applicant being able to regulate the consumption of alcohol on the premises and enforce Challenge 25.
The applicant stated that regarding opening hours, going forward it would continue to be weekday-focused because their clientele was workers from businesses in the local area, who would come in at lunch and/or after work. It was reiterated that there were no plans to consume alcohol on the pavement, and vertical drinking had been removed on request from the Police – this had originally been planned for patrons who were waiting for a table.
In summing up, the resident noted that Noodle Brat currently opened and closed before and after what it was supposed to, that the business was noisy and that if the opening hours were extended it would negatively affect themselves and neighbours. The resident offered evidence of tables being put out before 10am, which the resident stated demonstrated that the operator wouldn’t adhere to rules. The resident stated that there had been no engagement from the landlord.
In summing up, the Legal Representative stated that the application was to provide some protection and regulation regarding alcohol use. It was agreed with the environmental health officer that noise should not emanate from the premises and highlighted the two additional conditions being offered tonight. The applicant was said to have understood the sensitivity of the area and wanted this restaurant to have buy in from residents. It was also anticipated that this branch could be the first of many.
1) That the application for a new premises licence, in respect of Noodle Brat, 53a Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0EA, be granted to allow:-
a) The on sales of alcohol from 11am until 10pm each day.
2) That conditions outlined in appendix 3 and detailed on page 116 to 119 of the agenda be applied to the licence: with the additional condition as follows: the restaurant will sweep the curtilage of the premises daily at the close of business.
REASONS FOR DECISION
Conditions had been agreed with the Police and the Noise Team and there were no representations from responsible authorities. Eight residents had objected, but only one resident attended. He lived above the premises and complained about cooking smells, the fragility of the building, and noise.
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 Clerkenwell cumulative impact area. Licensing 3.20 refers to Clerkenwell’s diverse and vibrant evening economy and the need to ensure that licensed premises were well-managed and any negative impacts in terms of crime, disorder, nuisance, and anti-social behaviour were minimised. 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 operating schedule that there will be no negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.
The Sub-Committee heard evidence that alcohol would be served with food. This was a restaurant specialising in high-quality food, such as buns, noodles, and ramen, and at the present time, customers were bringing their own alcohol. The second sitting in the restaurant took place at about 8.30pm. There would be no vertical drinking, as the applicant had agreed a condition with the Police that there would be no drinking at the bar prior customers to being shown to their tables.
The Sub-Committee noted that there were conditions prohibiting the emanation noise and vibrations from the premises and that a notice advising customers to leave quietly and consider local residents was also required. The applicant offered a further condition that the curtilage of the premises would be swept every night.
The application with its’ conditions fell within an exception to the cumulative impact policy listed in Licensing Policy 3.25. This application had a comprehensive operating schedule, was not alcohol-led, and supplied alcohol for consumption on the premises and was a fully seated venue. The Sub-Committee was satisfied that there would be no negative cumulative impact on any of the licensing objectives.
The Sub-Committee concluded that the granting of the licence with the agreed and additional conditions would promote the licensing objectives. The Sub-Committee was satisfied that the operating schedule demonstrated high standards of management and that the proposed use, meant that the premises would not add to the cumulative impact.
The Sub-Committee was satisfied that granting the premises licence was proportionate and appropriate to the promotion of the licensing objectives.