Recent news

The Rule of 6 Coronavirus Regulations

September 2020

Gary Grant's article on the new "Rule of 6" Coronavirus Regulations" was publised in Local Government Lawyer on 15.9.20 and can be read here.

Hackney Bridge granted 3 late licences in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

August 2020

Following a contested remote hearing before Hackney’s Licensing Sub-Committee on 20 August 2020, Make Shift, the makers of Pop Brixton and  Peckham Levels have successfully obtained three late night premises licences to enable their major new destination venue “Hackney Bridge” to open in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park later this year. Hackney Bridge is a brand new, canal-side public destination close to Hackney Wick featuring workspace, public facilities, events, markets, restaurants and bars “giving local enterprises the space they need to thrive together”. The space includes workspace and studios for artists, makers and small businesses; as well as space for food businesses, retailers, markets, events, community gardens and more. Make Shift state: “It continues to be our ambition to bring to life a cultural destination for local people to use and enjoy, together with workspaces for local businesses and creative workers”. The project aims to launch late in 2020. 


Gary Grant appeared at the hearing for Make Shift assisted by licensing consultant Andrew Newman. 
 

Story here

CBD and novel foods article in Journal of Licensing

July 2020

The Journal of Licensing (July 2020) has published an update article on the legal and regulatory issues surrounding CBD and novel foods co-authored by Gary Grant and Michael Brett.

Hard Rock Cafe's flagship store granted new bar licence

July 2020

 

Hard Rock Café’s international flagship store at Piccadilly Circus, London has been granted a new premises licence to include, for the first time, a stand-alone bar where all customers (both diners and non-diners) can enjoy a drink whilst absorbing the iconic surroundings.

The Hard Rock began in 1971 with the opening of their first branch in Old Park Lane in London. The original still operates.  It was the favourite haunt of a young musician who had his favourite seat at the bar. To secure his seat, he asked staff to hang his guitar on the wall above it. He was Eric Clapton. A friend, not to be outdone, did the same. He was Pete Townsend of The Who. Today, over 220 Hard Rock Cafés around the world, display some 80,000 pieces of rock memorabilia. They have sold over 125,000,000 of their famous branded T-Shirts and now employ nearly 40,000 staff. 

Their flagship store in Piccadilly Circus opened in July 2019 but their original licence had a full restaurant condition and the bar could only be used by diners.

A new premises licence application was made to permit the bar to be used by all-comers, diners and non-diners. The application had to overcome Westminster Council’s strict cumulative impact (or stress) policy that requires exceptional circumstances before permitting a restaurant licence to be relaxed to permit a bar operation. 
That application was granted, as an exception to policy, following a remote hearing before the licensing sub-committee held on 23 July 2020.

Gary Grant acted for the Hard Rock Café instructed by Niall McCann, Consultant Solicitor at Joelson JD LLP.

Hai di Lao granted 2am licence extension as exception to Westminster Stress Policy

August 2020

Hai di Lao, the global hot-pot restaurant group, have obtained an extension to their public operating hours to 2am for the European flagship site in London's Trocadero as an exception to Westminster's Stress Policy following a contested licensing hearing. Gary Grant acted for Hai Di Lao instructed by Andrew Wong and Marcus Lavell of Keystone Law

The Rules for Independence Day & Beyond - An article on the premises re-opening regulations

9 July 2020

This article, co-authored with my FTB colleagues Charles Holland and Leo Charalambides, is a comprehensive analysis of the premises re-opening provisions within the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (Engand) Regulations 2020 made on 3 July 2020

Duke of Edinburgh Pub, Brixton

November 2019

In a decision viewed as crucial for Brixton's night-time economy, Gary successfully acted for the Duke of Edinburgh pub in defending its famous beer garden against an organised residental campaign seeking to curtail its use. For more information see here: https://brixtonblog.com/2019/11/duke-of-edinburgh-licence-agreed-after-concessions/

 

Instructed by Rebecca Ingram, Kuits Solicitors.

Summary Dismissal of Licensing Appeals

November 2019

Gary presented a speech on the summary dismissal of licensing appeals for non-compliance with court directions at the Institute of Licensing's National Conference.

The Light Bar, Shoreditch

November 2019

Gary obtained a new premises licence for this iconic Shoreditch premises as an exception to Hackney's Special Policy. Instructed by Andrew Wong of Keystone Law.

The Future of Cannabis Licensing

November 2019

Gary presented a speech on the future of recreational cannabis licensing  at the Institute of Licensing's National Conference

Bermondsey Beer Mile Reviews

August 2019

Gary successfully defended two reviews brought by residents and a local councillor against Hawkes and Barrel Project, two micro-breweries/tap rooms on the controversial Bermondsey Beer Mile in Southwark.

New 3am licence for Live Music Venue - Peckham Cultural Quarter

July 2019

The Peckham Cultural Quarter in South London is emerging as an important hub for music, media, cinema, restaurants and small arts-based businesses. But what South London has lacked, until now, was a significant new small to mid-size live music venue focused on emerging grassroots Indie talent. 

 

Recent years have seen a decimation in the number of live music venues in a nation that gave the world The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Adele and Stormzy. None of these artists learnt their craft playing Wembley Stadium or the O2 Arena. They honed their performance skills in the type of small to mid-size live music venues that are now a diminishing breed. A recent Report on Live Music from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons (March 2019) observed:

 “In the past decade the UK has seen nationwide closures of music venues, and the sites that remain face a struggle to stay open given the rising costs and declining revenues. That poses an immediate threat to the development of the next generation of talent and fans.”

 

Between 2007-2016 London lost 35% of its grassroots music venues. There are a variety of reasons for this decline but one of them is the often insurmountable obstacle of obtaining a new premises licence in the most popular night-time economy destinations. These areas are frequently subject to tough “cumulative impact policies” that create a default position that applications for new licences will generally be refused by the local authority unless the applicant can demonstrate they are an exception that will not add to the existing negative impact caused by the number and type of licensed premises already operating in the area.

Even if a new licence can be obtained, the permitted operating hours are frequently so curtailed that operating a commercially viable live music venue is impossible. Given the change in the economics of the music industry in the digital age, increases in business rates, and customer preferences, live music venues can generally only survive today if they can also offer ancillary entertainment, including nightclub events after the live music ends at weekends. The income from these extra few hours can subsidise the live music throughout the rest of the week.

 

Unlike many artistic areas live music venues receive little or no government subsidies and many operate at a loss. The Arts Council gives just 0.06% of its budget to grassroots live music venues whilst opera receives 62%.

 

The experienced operators of two existing Southwark based venues, Four Quarters and Bermondsey Social Club, joined forces with an ambitious project to create a new 220 capacity live music venue in the Bussey Building within Peckham’s Cultural Quarter. Their licence application was submitted and progressed by Steve Burnett and Helen Ward of Poppleston Allen Solicitors. It attracted objections from all the responsible authorities, including the police, licensing, environmental health and public health. However some 26 local residents and musicians offered their support.  

 

At a contested hearing before Southwark’s Licensing Sub-Committee on 8 July 2019 the applicants, represented by the licensing barrister Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building, submitted that the significant cultural and economic benefits to the area that would flow from the grant of this licence justified the undoubted impact such a venue would have on the local area. Measures, including the employment of street marshals and robust licence conditions and operating policies, would help to mitigate that impact but ultimately this was a judgement call: The cultural and regeneration benefits outweighed the potential harm. The applicant’s barrister pointed to the support for the venue from those locals who had expressed a view. The responsible authorities’ objections were understandable but were based entirely on Policy grounds and, citing an earlier judicial observation: “Policy should be made for the man, not man for the Policy”. Further welcome support for the application was offered from Amy Lame, the Mayor of London’s Night Czar who stated

 

“...the Mayor of London has pledged to make safeguarding London’s night-time economy and culture a core priority. It attracts domestic and international visitors and is a key driver of the economic and cultural regeneration of town centres, worth more than £26 billion to our economy and employing a third of London’s workforce. Protecting and growing the capital’s live music scene is a key part of this work. Venues play a vital role in nurturing musical and creative talent and fostering community cohesion, keeping London’s talent pipeline flowing.”

 

The applicant also pointed to Southwark’s own Cultural Strategy 2013-2018 which actively encourages and promotes the performing arts including live music. The applicant submitted that licensing decisions - even one subject to a cumulative impact policy- can properly take into account such Cultural Strategies, particularly where these are referenced in the Council’s own Statement of Licensing Policy.

 

The Council determined to grant the new premises licence to 3am at weekends as an exception to their cumulative impact policy with “stringent conditions”. The cultural benefits of a new grassroots live music venue in South London, and the professionalism of the operators, justified the exception in this particular case.

 

Southwark Council’s supportive decision will be welcomed by live music venue operators, grassroots musicians and fans alike.

 

Gary Grant, barrister of Francis Taylor Building, appeared for the applicants at the licensing hearing instructed by Steve Burnett and Helen Ward of Poppleston Allen Solicitors.

 

 

National Pubwatch Conference - Cumulative Impact Policies

February 2019

Gary Grant will address the National Pubwatch Conference 2019 in Chester on the impact of recent reforms to Cumulative Impact Policies.

Habitats Directive and Licensing at Institute of Licensing Conference

November 2018

Gary Grant and Charles Streeten, both of FTB, have presented a paper on the interaction of the Habitats Directive, EU law and licensing to the Institute of Licensing's National Conference 2018.

Forestry expert prosecuted for massive dumping of waste

October 2018

Gary Grant successfully prosecuted a forestry expert in Lewes Crown Court following an investigation into the dumping of some 4,000 tonnes of rubbish in an Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty. The case was widely publicised in the national media

Modern Slavery Appeal Summarily Dismissed for Non-Compliance with Court Directions

September 2018

In a rare procedural step, Hastings Magistrates’ Court has summarily dismissed an appeal against the revocation of a premises licence following the failure by the Appellant to comply with Court directions requiring him to serve his evidence on the Respondent, Rother District Council. The case highlights a novel yet effective procedure open to licensing authorities faced with recalcitrant appellants abusing their statutory right to appeal licensing decisions in the magistrates’ courts. 

 

Facts

The Chilli Tree restaurant in Bexhill-on-Sea was twice inspected by Sussex Police and Home Office Immigration Officers in October 2017 and January 2018. In the first visit, three workers without the right to work in the UK were discovered. On the second visit, two illegal workers were found, including the same individual found working at the restaurant on the previous visit. Some staff were being paid little or no wages but instead had their visa application fees or other expenses paid by the restaurant owner. Additionally, a 15 year old girl was found working behind the bar without the necessary Child Employment Licence in place.

 

The review application

The licensing authority, acting as a responsible authority, applied to Rother District Council to review The Chilli Tree’s premises licence. The restaurant’s owner, Mr Saleh Uddin, turned up at the review hearing in May 2018 with a bundle of documents he had failed to disclose in line with the Council’s direction that he must do so at least 3 days before the review hearing. The licensing sub-committee considered the evidence to be irrelevant and, in any event, served too late to be fairly admitted. Mr Uddin made various complaints about the constitution of the licensing sub-committee and the lawfulness of the two immigration inspections.  His premises licence was revoked by the licensing sub-committee.

Mr Uddin then appealed this decision to the magistrates’ court and continued operating in the meantime as he was entitled to do.

Mr Uddin also thought it appropriate to lodge formal complaints to various professional bodies about the role played by the Council’s legal officers and Members (complaints that were later dismissed as entirely baseless).

 

The appeal proceedings

The appeal was first listed in Hastings Magistrates’ Court for a Case Management Hearing on 1 August 2018. Although Mr Uddin later claimed to have been present in the Court building, he failed to attend court when called by the usher. The Case Management Hearing was re-listed for 15 August 2018 when Mr Uddin attended unrepresented. The two-day appeal hearing itself was fixed for the end of November 2018. Directions were given by the Court to enable the appeal to be prepared efficiently. These included a Direction that Mr Uddin serve a document summarising the legal and factual issues in the appeal by 29 August and serve all his evidence on the Council by 12 September. Despite warning letters sent by the Council to Mr Uddin clearly warning him of the potential consequences of non-compliance with these directions, the Appellant failed to serve either the summary of issues or any of his evidence by the deadlines set down or, indeed, at all. Instead he sent the Council a long-list of largely irrelevant disclosure requests.

 

The application to dismiss

Rother District Council had the matter listed before District Judge Teresa Szagun sitting at Hasting Magistrates’ Court on 26 September 2018. They applied to the District Judge to summarily dismiss the appeal and proposed the following procedure, which the Court followed, to ensure procedural fairness and compliance with the principles approved by the Court of Appeal on the conduct of licensing appeals in Hope and Glory [2011] EWCA Civ 31:

The Court considers the Council’s written evidence, but limited to the original application for review and Rother District Council’s (comprehensive and well-reasoned) Decision Notice.

Since Mr Uddin had produced no evidence, he had nothing to place before the Court.

The original applicant for the Review, Rother District Council’s licensing officer Mrs Melanie Robson, was in court and swore on oath as to the truth of the contents of the original review application.

Mr Uddin could question the licensing officer.

Both parties were permitted to make oral submissions to the Court on issues of fact and law, although the burden of demonstrating the Council’s decision “is wrong” lay on Mr Uddin as the Appellant.

The Council pointed out that in other civil cases, the County Court and High Court had a power to strike out claims if a party failed to comply with court directions (see CPR 3.4). Although the Civil Procedure Rules did not apply to licensing appeals in the magistrates’ court they could provide a “good guide” to appropriate and fair procedures in some circumstances (see Cleary [2006] EWHC 1869 (Admin) at paragraph 34). It was right that the magistrates’ court also effectively managed its own processes in the interests of justice.

 

The District Judge’s Ruling

Having followed the summary procedure proposed by the Council, District Judge Szagun dismissed the appeal and so the revocation of The Chilli Tree’s premises licence took immediate effect. She also ordered Mr Uddin to pay the Council’s costs to date in full.

In the course of her oral judgment, and during argument, DJ Szagun noted that Mr Uddin had a track record of failing to comply with Directions made in the interests of justice and designed to ensure an efficient hearing of the appeal. He appeared to be using the statutory appeal process primarily as a stratagem to permit his restaurant to continue to sell alcohol in the interim period until the full appeal was heard. He had conspicuously failed to demonstrate his intention to properly pursue his appeal through to the final hearing scheduled for November 2018. The Council had properly put Mr Uddin on clear notice that if he did not comply with the Court’s Directions they would apply to summarily dismiss the appeal on this occasion. Mr Uddin should have instructed lawyers to assist him prepare for the appeal (as both the Court and Council had previously recommended) and he could not simply rely on his self-representation or claims of impecuniosity as an excuse to ignore Court Directions.

Conclusion

Many local authorities are faced with appellants who appeal adverse licensing decisions without any real intention of pursuing that appeal through to a final hearing in the magistrates’ court. They often do so for the commercial gain that will flow from being able to operate in the lengthy interim period between the council’s decision and the full appeal hearing being determined. However, where appeals are pursued with a flagrant disregard to Court Directions, this case demonstrates that local authorities can take a robust and pro-active stance in bringing those proceedings to a swift and successful end. This in turn ensures the Council’s original decision will take effect sooner rather than later and the costs of preparing for a full appeal hearing avoided. Local authorities should be prepared to fight fire with fire when faced with difficult Appellants abusing the appeal system and ignoring Court Directions at the expense of the wider public interest.

Gary Grant, Barrister of Francis Taylor Building, acted for Rother District Council instructed by Andy Eaton (FIOL), Deputy Legal Services Manager for Wealden and Rother District Councils.

Appeal Court Upholds Revocation of Premises Licence Following “Modern Slavery” Review

July 2018

District Judge Julie Cooper, sitting at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court, has upheld the decision of the London Borough of Southwark to revoke a convenience store’s premises licence following allegations of illegal workers being employed in conditions akin to “modern slavery”. Peckham Food and Wine had been found, on six separate occasions, to be employing illegal immigrant workers. A broom cupboard was being used as sleeping quarters for two workers who slept on a filthy mattress with only a small electric fan for ventilation. They were being paid a salary well below the minimum wage.

Super strength Polish lager was being sold at a price so low it must have been smuggled alcohol where duty had been evaded. Numerous breaches of the licence conditions were found.

A review application was made by Bill Masini on behalf of Southwark Trading Standards. Prior to the review hearing, an application to transfer the licence was received by the council and objected to by police. The transferee was a Mr Safeer Shah who claimed to be untainted by the past behaviour and pledged to turn around the operation. Following questioning it turned out Mr Shah was the estranged husband of the premises licence holder and related to the other directors of the operating company. The licensing sub-committee refused the transfer and revoked the premises licence.

On appeal Mr Shah argued that it was wrong to judge him by his family relationships. He was his own “autonomous” individual and had demonstrated his commitment to promote the licensing objectives. Under cross-examination it became apparent that Mr Shah had been involved in the running of the business prior to the review application. It was also revealed that two of his current employees had worked at the venue when the litany of transgressions had taken place. One was, and continued to be, an illegal worker. On inspection visits prior to the appeal hearing further breaches of the licence had been found and, under Mr Shah’s stewardship, the premises had failed a test purchase exercise by selling alcohol to a 17 year old.

The Council submitted that not only was Mr Shah properly to be tainted by the previous operation, but he had failed to demonstrate the promised turn-around of the operation since he took over. The judge found him to be a discredited witness.

The Council also argued, in reliance on Griffiths LJ’s observations in R v Knightsbridge Crown Court ex p International Sporting Club (London) Ltd [1982] 1 QB 304, that it risks bringing the licensing regime into disrepute if reckless licence holders can avoid the consequences of their behaviour by simply transferring the licence into someone else’s name or selling the business when they got caught and so, effectively, get away with it. The deterrent effect of licensing enforcement would be lost and licensing authorities are right to take a robust stance against such transfers, particularly those which appeared to be a ruse.

In refusing the appeals on 28 June 2018, DJ Cooper awarded the Council its costs of over £11,000.

Gary Grant acted for the London Borough of Southwark instructed by Debra Allday of Southwark’s Legal Department.

Defendants acquitted of attempted murder of two police officers

June 2018

Gary Grant secured the acquittal of Bernard Baldwin on charges of attempted murder of two police officers and firearms offences following a shooting in Leighton Buzzard. The defendant asserted he had mistaken the officers for burglars and had used only reasonable force to effect a citizen's arrest. The jury at Luton Crown Court unanmously acquitted the defendant. The case was widely reported in the national press

Calderdale Council Fight off Crown Court Challenge to Hackney Carriage Cap

April 2018

In a relatively rare Crown Court appeal, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council has successfully defended their policy of capping the number of hackney carriage licences permitted to operate in Halifax at 37. A challenge to the Council’s policy was brought by Mr Geoffrey Fielden, a former Deputy Mayor of the Council, who wished to operate a fleet of 8-seat “taxi-buses” into and around Halifax town centre. The buses would follow an established route of stops but could deviate from it and accept passengers who hailed the taxi-bus.

Significant Unmet Demand

Mr Fielden’s original application was considered by the Council’s Licensing & Regulatory Committee in January 2017. However, on that occasion they adjourned the application in order to commission an up to date report to establish whether there was any “significant unmet demand” (or “SUD”) for hackney carriage licences in Halifax. (The last survey dated back to 2010 and had not been updated within the recommended 3 years because the Council, in line with others, were awaiting the Law Commission’s report on taxi licensing before reviewing their policy).

Nationally, caps on the number of hackney carriage licences are now the exception rather than the rule. The Department of Transport’s “Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: Best Practice Guidance”, re-issued in March 2010, provides a heavy steer to licensing authorities to eschew such caps, viewing them as anti-competitive and unlikely to benefit the public. However, they remain lawful so long as they can be justified.

The law provides that a council may refuse the grant of a hackney carriage licence for the purpose of limiting the numbers of licensed taxis if, but only if, the council is satisfied that there is no “significant unmet demand” : see s.37 Town Police Clauses Act 1847 read together with s.16 Transport Act 1985.

To this end, the Council commissioned a new independent survey. Mr Ian Millership of LVSA carried out a comprehensive study of the current position in Halifax, which included some 156 hours of taxi rank observations and over 200 interviews with members of the public, trade representatives, and stakeholders (including supermarkets, hotels, pubs and nightclubs). He concluded that although there was some negligible evidence of unmet demand it was very far from being “significant” by the generally accepted industry index. He advised that the existing cap of 37 hackney carriage licences was “defensible”.

Council’s decisions

In possession of this new report the licensing committee re-convened in August 2017 and adopted its recommendations. The cap on hackney carriage licences would remain at 37 and all of those 37 licences were already in use. The Council moved on to consider Mr Fielden’s specific application for five more hackney carriage licences to enable his taxi-bus scheme to operate. The committee was advised that they were entitled to depart from their policy and grant the additional licences to Mr Fielden if they provided reasons for doing so.

Following a somewhat heated committee hearing, which included regrettable accusations of bad faith directed at council officers and Members, Mr Fielden’s application was refused.

Crown Court Appeal

He appealed directly to the Crown Court at Bradford arguing that the SUD report was flawed and biased, the council’s policy of capping licences was unsound and supported an anti-competitive taxi cartel in Halifax and, in any event, his specific application for licences to operate taxi-buses should have been granted as an exception to the policy cap.

Mr Recorder Jamie Hill QC, sitting with two justices considered the appeal on 5 April 2018.

Council submissions and “public benefit”

The Council submitted that the SUD report was sound and the policy cap justified. Indeed, given the particular circumstances in Halifax town centre, the cap served to benefit the public because:

 

  • The cap, and inevitable premium on the licences, incentivised operators to utilise the 37 hackney carriages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to justify their value. This meant passengers could expect a full service at all times of the day.

  • The value of the plates encouraged operators to invest significantly in their vehicles  and this meant that all could comply with the Council’s requirement that they are wheelchair accessible and maintained to the highest standards.

  • Given the geography of Halifax town centre, additional licences would lead to more congestion and problematic contests for the very limited number of rank spaces.

  • Evidence established that there was currently healthy competition between taxi operators in Halifax and the cap had not proved to be anti-competitive in effect.

Appeal determination and Hope & Glory test

Mr Fielden’s appeal was dismissed. In the course of the judgment, the Court accepted that the proper approach to taxi licensing appeals was that set out by the Court of Appeal in Hope and Glory [2011] EWCA Civ 31. The test, familiar to all those involved in appeals under the Licensing Act 2003, places the burden firmly on the appellant to establish that the decision being appealed against “is wrong” at the time of the appeal hearing in light of the evidence before the Court.

Having considered the evidence, the Court found that Mr Fielden had, on the balance of probabilities, failed to establish that: (1) the SUD report was unsound in its methodology or conclusions; (2) the Council’s decision to introduce a cap of 37 licences in reliance on the report was unjustified, or (3) the refusal of Mr Fielden’s application for additional hackney carriage licences to operate a taxi-bus scheme was wrong.

The Court ordered Mr Fielden to pay the Council’s costs of £14,000 in full.

Conclusion

This case demonstrates that the dwindling number of taxi licensing policies that place a cap on the number of hackney carriage licences can be robustly defended in the appeal courts, providing the evidence to justify the cap is sound and the potential benefit to the public can be identified.

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building acted for Calderdale MBC instructed by Elina Eady (Legal Services Department), Sarah Richardson (Acting Assistant Director of Customer Services) and Fiona Goldsmith (Principal Licensing Enforcement Officer)

Southwark Wins Rock Island Appeal

November 2017

The London Borough of Southwark has successfully fought off a challenge by the operator of Rock Island Bar and Grill who sought to extend its operating hours and remove the “restaurant condition” from its premises licence just six months after it was granted. The appeal, heard before District Judge Karim Ezz at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court, also raised an interesting legal issue on the jurisdiction of the appeal court to consider a licence variation that was previously withdrawn before the licensing sub-committee.

The iconic corner building on the Old Kent Road had previously operated as the “Thomas a Beckett” pub, famous in its heyday for hosting a boxing gym on the first floor at which Muhammed Ali, Sir Henry Cooper, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard all trained or sparred. The South London venue also played a role in Britain’s musical heritage: its second floor was used as a rehearsal space for David Bowie’s seminal 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

After a series of incremental licence variations the Thomas a Beckett had morphed into a 500 capacity nightclub. Serious violence and public nuisance issues blighted the neighbourhood and led to its licence being revoked at summary review proceedings in 2015.

After two vacant years the current operator of Rock Island took over the lease. He lodged a new premises licence application describing the upcoming venue as a “restaurant”. Moreover, a full restaurant condition was offered in the operating schedule providing that alcohol could only be sold to customers ancillary to their table meals.

On that basis, and despite concerns from residents, in January 2017 Southwark Council granted a premises licence to the operators of Rock Island on the strict understanding that the venue would be run as a restaurant and only as a restaurant (albeit with a small “holding-bar”).  There was clearly a political will to enable this famous old building to be put into proper use once again. However, within months, Rock Island lodged a series of Temporary Event Notices and began marketing itself as a late night alcohol-led “party-venue”. They applied to vary the freshly granted premises licence by: (i) extending the operating hours to 02:30hrs at weekends and to 01:00hrs midweek; (ii) removing the restaurant condition; and (iii) increasing their customer capacity limit by nearly 50%. The operator asserted that this “flexibility” was essential to sustain the business model.

The variation application was refused by Southwark’s licensing sub-committee in June 2017, save that an additional hour was permitted at weekends. In the course of the sub-committee hearing the operator, represented by experienced Counsel, withdrew that part of the variation application seeking to increase the maximum capacity of the venue (a step later re-visited in the appeal court).

At the magistrates’ court appeal heard over two days, Southwark was able to call evidence from licensing and environmental protection officers, the police, public health and residents all attesting to the disproportionate adverse impact that a late night alcohol-led premises would have on the locality when compared to the existing food-led venue. Indeed, the carefully crafted premises licence was only granted on the basis that the venue was to be food-led and could not morph into a late night bar.

The Council submitted, and the District Judge accepted, that the problems of the past, albeit under different operators, were relevant to the issues on appeal. The previous operation of the Thomas a Beckett showed that the premises was in a noise-sensitive location and had the potential to disturb residents unless very strictly controlled by appropriate conditions. The licensing objectives looked to the prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance and past events could be a guide to what may happen in the future if the restraints on the current licence were removed. This is not the same as simply “visiting the sins of the father upon the son”.

Despite his attempts, the operator was not entitled to portray itself as an exemplary operator with an “outstanding compliance record”. Not least because he had been found to be operating in breach of conditions on his premises licence on no fewer than five separate occasions over the first five months of Rock Island’s operation.

The District Judge accepted that the Council had to carry out a balancing exercise between the commercial interests of the operator and the wider public interest of not exposing local residents to undue disturbance in the early hours of the morning. The operator had failed to satisfy the burden upon him to demonstrate that the decision of the Council was wrong at the time it was made or at the time of the appeal in light of the evidence adduced before the Court. In fact, it was clear the Council had already carried out that balancing exercise in an appropriate and proportionate manner.

At the outset of the appeal the operator invited the Court to consider the increase in capacity as well the extension of hours and removal of the restaurant condition. However, when it became clear that this part of the variation application had been withdrawn at the sub-committee stage, the Court took the view that it had no jurisdiction to consider this issue on appeal.

The powers of the appeal court are constrained by section 181(2) of the Licensing Act 2003. A magistrates' court may—

(a) dismiss the appeal,

(b) substitute for the decision appealed against any other decision which could have been made by the licensing authority, or

(c) remit the case to the licensing authority to dispose of it in accordance with the direction of the court,

and may make such order as to costs as it thinks fit.

However, since the variation to the capacity condition had been withdrawn from the consideration of the sub-committee at the hearing back in June, it would not have been open to the Council to grant the capacity variation. It follows that the magistrates’ court on appeal had no power to do so either. After some consideration, the point was conceded by Counsel acting for the operator.

Whilst the Court’s approach to this point remains informative rather than binding, it does highlight the potential consequences on a future appeal if important concessions are made by an applicant before the licensing sub-committee.

The appeal was therefore dismissed on 21 November 2017 and the operator was ordered to pay £10,000 towards the Council’s costs.

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building acted for the London Borough of Southwark instructed by Debra Allday of Southwark’s Legal Services and Andrew Heron, a Principal Licensing Officer.

FTB Licensing Barristers Author New “Clubs” Volume of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents

September 2017

The “Clubs” volume of The Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents has just been re-issued by Lexis Nexis (volume 7, 2017). The updated work covers the law on members and proprietary clubs, club constitutions and rules, club property and employee issues and the impact of licensing and gambling laws.

A series of Forms and Precedents are set out for use by clubs and their advisors.

The work is authored by Gary Grant and Charles Streeten of FTB’s licensing team with the Rt Hon Lord Millett PC as Editor in Chief.

Stoke’s Last Lap-dancing Club Loses Its Licences

June 2017

“ST1 Platinum”, in Stoke on Trent, was the last remaining lap-dancing venue in Staffordshire. In that sense it was arguably justified in marketing itself as Stoke’s “premier lap-dancing club”, since there were no others. The club’s website promoted its dedication to bringing gentleman visitors “the finest late night entertainment in the most luxurious atmosphere, surrounded by some of the UK’s most beautiful ladies”. What the marketing blurb left out was the darker activities carried out at the venue under the auspices of its Premises Licence and Sexual Entertainment Venue licence. A robust and detailed police investigation revealed a number of highly disturbing incidents at the club where  vulnerable customers were targeted and criminally exploited under the watchful eye of the owner/operator.

For example, in July 2016 a Spanish lorry driver who attended the club and had a disagreement with dancers over money was, the police evidence suggested, taken to an area just out of sight of the CCTV and given a beating by staff and security at ST1 that left him hospitalised. The victim was seen hobbling and then crawling on all fours out of the club after the tendon on his knee was severed. His expensive watch had been taken from his wrist. In an unconnected incident on the very same night another very drunk customer was allowed into the venue where he drank some more and ended up soiling himself. He was dragged out of the club by the ankles and left to lie in a paralytic state on the pavement outside. Passers-by later called an ambulance. The next day he discovered that the club had charged his credit card nearly £3,000, money his family could ill-afford to lose. The victim later claimed that his drinks must have been spiked in the club. Toxicology reports later found ketamine in his hair follicles consistent with his claims.

The police alleged that this incident fitted a pattern of customers complaining of having their drinks spiked by the staff and dancers of ST1 and waking up with credit-card charges in the thousands of pounds which they had no memory of authorising. Some of these customers were particularly vulnerable. One was a young man with learning difficulties another a profoundly deaf teenager.

Examination of the CCTV system showed wholesale and flagrant breaches of the “no contact” and “no sexual simulation” conditions on the SEV licence. Fully nude dancers were seen riding customers and performing lesbian sex shows in front of them (including one particularly flexible artiste who performed a hand-stand routine). At times the owner/operator was seen watching over them. (He later claimed that he viewed the “no contact” condition as similar to that regulating basketball games, nice in theory but breaches were inevitable). Customers reported being taken into an off-camera “VIP” room where oral sex and hand-relief was performed by the dancers, for an extra fee. For the especially solvent customer, dancers were alleged to have decamped across the road to a nearby hotel for additional personal attention, so long as they paid the owner a commission before leaving the venue.

There were frequent allegations of drug dealing and drug taking among the customers and staff and cocaine-swab readings were always found to be very high. There were a number of incidents of violent disorder or assault associated with the club and its customers, more than would normally be expected of a lap-dancing venue.

Staffordshire police’s licensing officers, PS Karen Cooke and Lisa Roberts, carried out an exhaustive and detailed investigation. Statements were taken from wronged customers, corroborating evidence sought, and hundreds of hours of CCTV was viewed and the licence breaches catalogued.

Police applied to review the Premises Licence and after a lengthy contested hearing the licence was revoked by the licensing sub-committee of Stoke on Trent City Council in March 2017 who accepted the police allegations were made out. An appeal against that revocation was lodged to the magistrates’ court permitting the venue to continue trading. In addition, the police prosecuted the owner/operator in the criminal courts for breaching the conditions of his licences. Finally, the Police also objected to the annual renewal of ST1’s SEV licence on the unsurprising ground that the operator was “unsuitable” to hold such a licence. On the eve of the renewal hearing the owner offered to “surrender” his SEV licence. Nevertheless a hearing was held on 13 June 2017 when the Council determined to “cancel” the licence under paragraph 16 of Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. There is no right to appeal a “cancelled” licence (whereas a right of appeal to the magistrates’ court would have existed if a renewal is refused on the “suitability” ground). The club has now withdrawn its ongoing appeal against the revocation of its premises licence and has now ceased trading. The last of Stoke’s lap dancing venues is now no more, although it is understood that other operators have been looking into opportunities to fill the vacuum.

The case is a good example of what tenacious and well-organised police licensing officers can achieve by using the many enforcement options available in the licensing and criminal jurisdictions to close a problematic lap-dancing venue and safeguard the public.

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building advised and represented Staffordshire Police throughout proceedings before the Council, instructed by Nicola Bell of Staffordshire Police’s Legal Services Department.

No Sex Please, This is Jermyn Street

March 2017

The controversial application for a sexual entertainment venue licence in London's historic Jermyn Street has been refused by Westminster City Council following a heavily contested hearing before their licensing sub-committee on 2 March 2017. The new SEV licence was applied for on the basis that sexual entertainment would form only a "small and ancillary" element to the entertainment to be provided at an upmarket private members club being developed at 91 Jermyn Street in the St James’s area of the capital. The applicant indicated: “there would also be the ability to pay for nude dances in the meeting rooms if members so wished”. The application, and resident backlash, was prominently reported in the Evening Standard:

Residents, led by the St James’s Conservation Trust, together with the responsible authorities, opposed the application on the principal grounds that the character of the locality and the uses to which other venues in the vicinity were put made the granting of an SEV licence in Jermyn Street inappropriate. This was despite the fact that of the 25 SEV licences deemed to be the maximum number appropriate in Westminster, only 21 had so far been granted.

However residents emphasised that Jermyn Street was a prestigious street of national importance and international renown. It acted as the shop-window for the highest-quality British craftsmanship and hosted a higher number of Royal Warrant holders than any other street in the UK. Fortnum & Mason and the Royal Academy were within a one-minute walk of the proposed venue and attracted families and children both day and night. Right opposite 91 Jermyn Street was Sir Christopher Wren’s historic St James’s Church where William Pitt the Elder and William Blake had both been baptised (it was commented on at the hearing that the two Williams may well have had violently differing opinions of the merits of a sex entertainment venue opening in the area). The church still acted as a modern-day focal point for the community of St James’s. There were some 61 residential addresses within a 75m circumference around the proposed venue.

Residents also submitted that with Gaslight Gentleman’s Club so close by there was an unacceptable risk of “clustering” should a further SEV licence be granted in this location. A similar application for an SEV in this location had previously been refused in 2014.

The licensing sub-committee refused the application on the basis of the character of the locality and the uses to which other venues in the vicinity were put. Cllr Melvyn Caplan, who chaired the hearing, observed that it was an “inescapable fact that the SEV licence applied for was in historic Jermyn Street and this was always likely to be an inappropriate location”.

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building represented the St James’s Conservation Trust at the hearing, instructed by the Trustees.

Gary Grant addresses National Pubwatch Conference 2017

February 2017

On 28 February 2017, Gary Grant addressed the National Pubwatch Annual Conference 2017 on recent and proposed legal reforms relating to licensing law and practice.

 

Lambeth Licence New LGBTQ Nightclub in the Vauxhall Triangle

February 2017

In a decision described by Time Out as “a landmark ruling...unprecedented”, in February 2017 Lambeth Council granted a rare new nightclub licence permitting “Bloc South” to open in London’s famed Vauxhall Triangle until 05:00hrs over the weekends. The new venue will be operated by Wayne Shires, a leading contributor to London’s night-time economy and one of the principal organisers of Gay Pride and the Summer Rites festival. The new club, a sister venue to East Bloc in Shoreditch and Bloc Bar in Camden, will replace the troubled Club 65 which had its licence revoked in August 2016 following a well-publicised incident where door supervisors were shot at after aggressively removing customers.

At a hearing before Lambeth’s licensing sub-committee on 31 January 2017, there was overwhelming support for Mr Shires’ new LGBTQ-dedicated club from residents of Lambeth, the wider LGBT community, and public figures. Lord Brian Paddick, the former Police Borough Commander of Lambeth and candidate for London Mayor, wrote in support of the application indicating that:

The sub-committee will be aware of trends in the LGBTQ community in recent years including the closing of many LGBTQ venues in London in general and South London in particular. There has also been a move to arranging to meet people ‘on line’ with the inherent dangers associated with not meeting in a neutral location first. In my opinion, there is a real need for ‘safe spaces’ for members of the LGBTQ community to meet and socialise and I believe Wayne’s application is timely and desirable.”

Mr Shires overcame objections to the application from all the responsible authorities who, whilst acknowledging Mr Shires’ reputation and track-record, relied on Lambeth Council’s “Hours Policy” requiring new nightclubs to close no later than 02:00hrs. The licensing sub-committee accepted that their policy was not intended to be applied inflexibly and they were prepared to make an exception given the individual circumstances of this application.

The grant of this new licence bucks recent trends in the nightclub industry, particularly in London. Between 2007-2015 nearly 50% of night-time venues have closed their doors including many iconic LGBTQ venues such as G-A-Y/Astoria and Madam JoJo’s. Witnesses at the Bloc South hearing, including London Assembly Member Andrew Boff, pointed out that the night-time economy contributes some £26 billion to London’s GDP and supported 1 in 8 jobs. When establishing the new Night Time Commission and appointing London’s first Night Czar, Mayor Sadiq Khan indicated:

Around the world, cities are starting to re-evaluate their night time economies. There is growing recognition that there is increasing demand for a broader night time culture and entertainment offer. Many of the world's cultural metropolises are appointing 'Night Mayors' to champion, coordinate and bring innovation to their night time economies.”

Bloc South is expected to open in February 2017.

Bloc South was represented by Gary Grant, Barrister at Francis Taylor Building, instructed by Andrew Wong of Keystone Law.

Simmons Bars in Camden and City of London granted extended licences as exceptions to policy

November 2016 & January 2017

Simmons Bars in Camden Town and Liverpool Street have been granted extended licences as exceptions to policy. In their new Camden Town branch a restaurant condition was removed at a contested hearing to permit the premises to operate as a stand-alone bar as an exception to the Camden Town Special Policy Area. In their City branch the terminal hour was successfully extended to 01:30hrs despite strong residential objections.

 

Gary Grant appeared for Simmons Bars instructed by James Daglish and Ellie Bowker of Goodman Derrick

Gary Grant addresses Institute of Licensing National Training Conference 2016

November 2016

Gary Grant addressed the Institute of Licensing’s flagship event, the National Training Conference, in two presentations on “Licence Reviews” and “The future of licensing”. He also appeared on the expert panel for the conference’s Q&A session.

McDonald’s Granted 24-hour Licence in Newham’s Cumulative Impact Area

November 2016

At a hearing before the London Borough of Newham’s licensing sub-committee on 22 November 2016, a franchise of McDonald’s in Forest Gate, London was granted a rare 24-hour licence to provide late night refreshment as an exception to the Council’s cumulative impact policy. The policy establishes a rebuttable presumption of refusing all new licence applications. A series of proposed conditions and exceptional management procedures satisfied the objecting authorities that the grant of this licence would not add to the existing cumulative impact.

Gary Grant acted for McDonald’s instructed by Joshua Simons & Associates Ltd.

Peckham Levels regeneration project granted licence

September 2016

The long-awaited Peckham Levels project has been granted a premises licence by Southwark Council’s licensing sub-committee. The site will be transformed from an underused multi-storey car park into a thriving arts, culture and community space. The operators, Make Shift, are a team of designers and entrepreneurs who are responsible for designing, delivering and managing the Peckham Levels project up until its doors close in July 2023. They are the team behind Pop Brixton, which is home to 55 local businesses.

The Peckham Levels development will be spread over seven levels of car-park and cover more than 900,000 square feet. It’s thought that the space will house a working community of up to 600 people.

The creative workspaces will include 50 private and shared studios, a handful of larger offices, shared making spaces, manual workshops, music rehearsal studios, print rooms and ceramics facilities.

The site will also include open public spaces with food and drink outlets and a community café, an event and exhibition venue, and wellbeing and fitness studios.

 

Gary Grant acted for Make Shift Ltd

 

Alan Yau's Babaji Pide granted new licence as exception to Westminster’s Stress Policy

July 2016

Babaji Pide, a contemporary Turkish restaurant created by the celebrated restauranteur Alan Yau, has been granted a new licence to operate from commercial units within the re-developed Bishop’s Quarter in Bayswater,W2. The licence was granted to extended hours as an exception to Westminster’s Stress Policy.

 

Gary Grant acted for Babaji Pide instructed by Andrew Wong of Keystone Law

 

Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park granted new premises licence

June 2016

Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park in Essex has been granted a new premises licence to play music and sell alcohol. The licence was granted despite formal objections from over a hundred nearby residents as well as the responsible authorities.

Gary Grant acted for Marsh Farm instructed by Joshua Simons & Associates Ltd.

 

Friends of Finsbury Park

June 2016

Gary Grant advised and acted for the Friends of Finsbury Park in relation to the licensing of a series of major concerts and pop festivals in the park.

Tate Modern granted new and extended premises licence

April 2016

The world's most visited modern art museum, the Tate Modern on London's Bankside, has been granted a new and extended premises licence following the completion of its £260 million extension.

 

At its opening in 2000, the Tate anticipated some 2 million visitors per year. In reality the museum’s success has attracted over 5 million people annually, over 50% of whom are under the age of 35. Over 70 million people have passed through its doors. The need to extend its available space has long been appreciated by the Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery.

 

In its 16 years of operation, the Tate Modern has proved to be a major driver of inward investment and tourism. It has played a vital role in the regeneration of the London Borough of Southwark generating 1,500 new jobs and £100m for the local economy in its first year alone. The area around the former Bankside Power Station that now houses the museum has become a hive of cultural and commercial activity. Over 70,000 people now work in Bankside compared to just 6,000 before the Tate opened. Underlying its charitable status, the Tate has provided learning programmes for over 630,000 people over just the last year.

 

Tate Modern has become part of the neighbourhood and has built strong links with the community. The Tate Modern extension project will be a catalyst for engaging local audiences more deeply and broadening access to the museum.A public walkway through the building now makes possible a direct route from the City to the heart of Southwark. There are two new public squares to the south and west of the building. To the east, a new planted area is being created especially for the use of the local community and staff.

 

The new development transforms Tate Modern. An iconic new ten-storey building, known as the "Switch House", has been added to the south of the existing gallery. Underneath the tower, two giant former oil tanks have been transformed into live performance art spaces. The extension adds some 20,000m2 of space for displaying the collection, performance and installation art and for learning - all allowing visitors to engage more deeply with the art, as well as creating more social and communal spaces for visitors to unwind and relax in the museum. Gallery space will be increased by 60%. The maximum capacity of the museum will rise from 7,500 to 12,500 people.

 

The new extension has been described by cultural commentators as "London's first great public building of 21st century" and "the most important cultural building in UK since the British Library opened in 1998".

 

Tate’s Director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

 

"The new Tate Modern is an instrument that will allow us to present a changing perspective on the world, offer a rich variety of experiences to visitors and give opportunities to artists to explore new ways of making and showing their work."

 

Given the magnitude of the extension it was necessary to apply for a new premises licence to cover both the old and new parts of the building. Since the Tate Modern is within one of Southwark’s cumulative impact areas, the primary responsible authorities all made representations objecting to the grant of the application in its original state on grounds that included the potential impact on nearby residents. Extensive and constructive engagement between the Tate and the responsible authorities led to agreements being reached that substantially limited the issues to be decided at the hearing of the application before Southwark’s licensing sub-committee on 10 April 2016. At that hearing the Tate Modern was granted a premises licence, in line with its submissions, that included all licensable activities. The Tate is now permitted to open to extended hours from 07:00 until 01:00 all week, with provision for up to 15 special events when the premises can open until 03:00.

 

The new extension will be formally opened to the public on 17 June 2016.

 

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building acted for the Tate Modern, instructed by Andrew Wong of Gordon Dadds Solicitors and Sarah Bailey, Tate’s Head of Legal.

 

Beorma Nightclub - quickest revocation in licensing history?

April 2016

In what must be one of the shortest intervals between the grant of a premises licence and its revocation, on 13 April 2016 Birmingham City Council revoked the premises licence of the new Beorma Club in the city centre at a full summary review hearing. The revocation came just 5 weeks after the club was granted a new 4am premises licence on 9 March 2016.

 

The police-led summary review followed serious disorder outside the club on 13 March involving gang-associated customers which culminated in a gun being discharged in the street. Although SIA staff witnessed the shot, and could hardly have missed it, nobody from Beorma thought it appropriate to call the police. Evidence later suggested the licence holder himself had over-ridden the judgment call of the SIA staff. CCTV revealed that the "shooter" had been able to enter the club without being searched or identified, that door staff failed to disperse congregating crowds outside the premises as required by conditions and, instead of protecting the premises and its customers, SIA staff were being utilised to bring a "Coffin" to VIP tables containing 10 bottles of champagne topped off by flairs.

 

At an earlier interim steps hearing the council had suspended the premises licence but left open the possibility of a single pre-booked event taking place with a guest appearance from the US Rapper (and former corrections officer) Rick Ross. But this event could only take place if a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) approved it upon receipt of further details. When the SAG vetoed the proposed event due to the severity of the risks involved, the licence holder indicated he would ignore the veto and hold the event regardless. Police responded by successfully applying to the magistrates’ court for a closure order under the new powers within Part IV of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

 

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building represented West Midlands Police instructed by Tim Woodward of the Police Legal Department.

 

Brewdog and City of York Council successfully resist resident's appeal

April 2016

The country's leading independent craft brewery, Brewdog, was granted a new premises licence for a pub in York's historic city centre as an exception to York's cumulative impact policy. However, the decision was appealed by a local resident who gained support from several local residents including the Bishop of Beverley. The residents, represented by Leading Counsel, appealed to York Magistrates' Court to overturn the grant. York City Council, as well as Brewdog, successfully defended the decision and the appeal was dismissed. Gary Grant represented City of York Council instructed by Alison Hartley of York's legal department.

Club Chemistry Councillor loses appeal against own Council

April 2016

In a highly unusual scenario, a Canterbury City Councillor has lost her appeal against a decision of Canterbury's licensing sub-committee refusing an extension of hours for her family-owned nightclub. 

 

Louise Jones is the managing partner of Club Chemistry, the largest nightclub in Canterbury with a capacity of just over 1,300. She is also a recently-elected City Councillor. She had applied to vary the licence of Club Chemistry to extend its opening hours from 4.30am to 6am at weekends (among other extensions). The club claimed that the extended hours would aid the gradual dispersal of its customers and was not motivated by commercial interests. By way of a track-record the club had operated under Temporary Event Notices to the extended hours on over 60 occasions without serious incident. The club had reached agreement with all the responsible authorities prior to the sub-committee hearing with only residents continuing to object.

 

Procedurally, the sub-committee hearing had to deal with the disclosed and obvious pecuniary interest of Ms Jones. Since she had not applied for a dispensation, under Canterbury's constitution she was barred from speaking at, or indeed attending, the sub-committee hearing although she was legally represented throughout by experienced licensing lawyers. The Council refused her application to extend the club’s hours.

 

On appeal Ms Jones was able to give evidence together with expert witnesses who had carried out observations at the club and concluded that the extension would not negatively impact on the licensing objectives. In rebuttal, Canterbury City Council relied on the real-life experience of a number of residents living nearby who could provide evidence that went beyond the snapshots available to the club's experts.

 

In a careful and detailed written judgment delivered on 14 April 2016, District Judge Barron found in favour of the Council and dismissed Club Chemistry's appeal. The Judge was satisfied that the club was run to the highest standards but preferred the evidence of residents to the conclusions of the club's experts as to its impact on the local area. He rejected the appellant's suggestion that the variation was not motivated by commercial interests. The District Judge found that the club's track-record under the TENS (necessarily limited to a capacity of 499 persons) was not indicative of the position if 1,300 people could remain at the club until a later hour.

 

The judgment, which can be found on the Institute of Licensing's website, is a fine example of the balancing exercise inherent in every licensing decision and the judicial weighing up of the competing, honest, but sometimes conflicting testimony of witnesses called by opposing parties at appeals. 

 

Club Chemistry was ordered to pay Canterbury City Council's costs of £17,500.

 

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building appeared for Canterbury City Council instructed by Peter Kee of the Council’s Legal Department and Anton Walden, Licensing Officer.

Gary Grant addresses City of London Licensing Forum

April 2016

On 6 April 2016, Gary Grant addressed the City of London Licensing Forum, a new organisation established to represent all the Chairpersons of Licensing Committees in the London Boroughs and their Senior Policy Advisors. Gary spoke on recent and future legal developments in licensing.

Sussex residents successfully resist wedding venue application

March 2016

Gary Grant acted for a number of residents in successfully resisting an application for a premises licence to permit weddings and other functions to take place in Two Hoots Barn in the village of Sternfield, Sussex. The residents commissioned acoustic experts who confimred the residents' fears that the grant of a licence was likely to lead to a public nuisance to nearby villagers. At a hearing before Suffolk Coastal District Council on 29 March 2016 the application was refused.   

McDonald’s Granted 3am Licence in Islington Cumulative Impact Area

March 2016

A McDonald’s fast-food restaurant, located within the Junction Area of Archway cumulative impact area, has been granted a significant extension of its licensing hours to 3am on Friday and Saturday and 2am the remainder of the week. The extension, by way of a new premises licence application, was contested by residents’ groups, the Deputy Leader of Islington Council and responsible authorities. The licensing authority itself objected on the basis that the Archway cumulative impact policy (“CIP”) within Islington’s Statement of Licensing Policy established a presumption of refusal for such applications to prevent further stress on the licensing objectives. However, following detailed analysis of the materials before Islington Council when it introduced the Archway CIP, and proper interpretation of the wording of the policy itself, McDonald’s submission that the CIP did not apply to late night refreshment premises was accepted by Islington’s licensing sub-committee. Following a hearing on 8 March 2016 the premises licence was granted in the terms applied for.

 

Gary Grant acted for McDonald's instructed by Joshua Simons & Associates.

Chelsea restaurateur returns to work after shotgun incident

February 2016

In an incident widely reported in the national press, on 28 August 2015 an award-winning London restaurateur was seen pointing a decommissioned shotgun at passing vehicles in the King’s Road outside his "Rabbit" restaurant in Chelsea.

 

The restaurateur also operates the much feted "Shed" restaurant in Notting Hill. Both restaurants are within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

 

Licensing police at RBKC instigated a summary review of both licences held by Rabbit and The Shed restaurants. The licensing authority declined to revoke the licences but instead imposed various conditions including, most importantly, a total prohibition on the restaurateur entering his own restaurants.

 

The decision was appealed to Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Detailed expert evidence obtained by the appellant's legal team  confirmed that the restaurateur's return to his restaurants would promote the licensing objectives.

 

After detailed consideration of the expert eviidence, RBKC agreed to compromise the appeal allowing the restaurateur back into his restaurants.

 

Gary Grant of Francis Taylor Building appeared for the restaurateur, both in the summary review proceedings and on appeal, instructed by Julian Skeens and Luke Elford of TLT Solicitors.

 

Gary Grant addresses 13th National Pubwatch Conference

February 2016

In a speech widely-reported in the trade press, Gary Grant, of FTB’s licensing group, addressed the 13th National Pubwatch Conference held in Sheffield on the legal developments of the year in so far as they affect licensees. He highlighted the significant future impact of the recently introduced Immigration Bill on licensees that employ illegal workers on licensed premises whether knowingly or otherwise. A report of his speech can be found in  leading trade publication, The Publican’s Morning Advertiser here.

 

 

 

Manor Barn villagers revoke premises licence

January 2016

The old Manor Barn, in the idyllic Hampshire  village of Buriton, has had its premises licence revoked after an upsurge of noisy weddings at the venue created a serious and prolonged public nuisance for villagers. The case was widely reported in the national  and local press.

 

Gary Grant acted for a number of the villagers at the review proceedings, instructed by Julia Palmer of JCP Law.

Essence in the Court of Appeal

December 2016

Gary Grant appeared for the Royal Borough of Kingston uponThames in the Court of Appeal when the Court considered, for the first time,  the powers of a magistrates' court to amend a notice of appeal in licensing proceedings where an error had been made in identifying the correct appellant. The judgment is now the leading authority on the point.

Grupo Sagardi obtain first UK premises licence in Shoreditch Special Policy Area.

November 2015

Grupo Sagardi, the Barcelona-based international restaurant group specialising in Basque gastronomy, obtained their first premises licence in the UK for a new restaurant in London's Shoreditch. The licence was granted following a contested hearing before the London Borough of Hackney's licensing sub-committee as an exception to the Shoreditch Special Policy which creates a presumption that these applications will normally be refused. Gary Grant acted for the restaurant group instructed by Andrew Wong of Gordon Dadds solicitors.

Kafka and Sex Licensing article

November 2015

Gary Grant's opinion piece on the potential for unfairness inherent in the current procedures for licensing sexual entertainment venues appears in the Journal of Licensing (vol.13, November 2015).  

Speaker at Institute of Licensing's National Conference 2015

November 2015

Gary Grant gave two speeches at the Institute of Licensing's National Training Conference 2015 on recent licensing case law (with Susanna Fitzgerald QC). He also chaired sessions on Minimum Unit Pricing, Closure Powers, Powers of Entry  and Super Strength alcohol restrictions.

Groundbreaking costs award for Mayfair residents

November 2015

Having negotiated a successful settlement of their appeal againt a decision of Westminster City Council to grant a premises licence to nearby serviced offices in London's Mayfair, Gary Grant obtained a groundbreaking costs award for the appealing residents of Farm Street against a second set of appealing residents living in the neighbouring Hill Street. The costs award is believed to be the first of its kind. Gary Grant was instructed by Jeremy Hudson of Charles Russell Speechlys solicitors. Full details here.

Safeguarding Through Licensing Conference

September 2015

Gary Grant Chaired the Institute of Licensing's London Conference on "Safeguarding through Licensing" on 30 September 2015. Speakers included: Dr. Graham Ritchie (Office of the Children’s Commissioner), Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Sanford (National Police Chief's Council) and Craig Storrod of Barnardo's.

Cau restaurant extends al fresco dining in St Katherine Docks

September 2015

Cau restaurant (part of the Gaucho Group) obtained a heavily contested licence variation before Tower Hamlets' licensing sub-committee permitting them to substantially extend their al fresco dining offering in London's historic St Katherine Docks. Gary Grant appeared for Cau instucted by Andrew Wong of Gordon Dadds solicitors. 

Conran's new Albion restaurant granted licence in Clerkenwell CIP

September 2015

Sir Terence Conran and Peter Prescott’s new Albion Restaurant, Café and Retail Store has been granted a premises licence as an exception to the London Borough of Islington’s strict cumulative impact policy. The 225 capacity Albion Restaurant situated in the Turnmill building in London’s Clerkenwell follows successful Albion openings in Shoreditch and on the South Bank. The application met with strong initial resistance from residents and responsible authorities but was granted at a hearing before Islington’s licensing sub-committee on 11 September 2015. Gary Grant acted for the restaurant operators instructed by Niall McCann of Joelson Wilson Solicitors.

Sin nightclub's licence preserved on police review

August 2015

Following a series of alcohol-related incidents of disorder at the popular Ipswich nightclub Sin, the club was forced to defend, for the third time in its recent history, review proceedings brought (on this occasion) by Suffolk police. The police review was supported by local residents and businesses who wished to see the nightclub closed. Following expert analysis of the crime figures, and extensive negotiations with the police, Ipswich Council agreed to a add a series of conditions onto the premises licence as proposed by the operator that permitted the venue to continue to operate as a successful nightclub in the town centre. Gary Grant acted for the club owners instructed by Hugh Rowland of Gotelee Solicitors.

Scotch of St James SEV licences renewed

July 2015

Scotch of St James, the legendary home of London's swinging sixties, has had its sex entertainment venue licences for 2013 and 2014 renewed in a belated and contested hearing before Westminster's licensing sub-committee. Gary Grant appeared for the operator instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors

Award-winning Mr Fogg's granted extended hours

July 2015

Mr Fogg's, the multi-award winning Mayfair bar operated by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling of the Inception Group - and the London residence of the eccentric British adventurer Phileas J Fogg Esq - has been granted an extended premises licence by Westminster's licensing sub-committee permitting it to operate until 02:30am, 6 days a week. Gary Grant appeared for the operators instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors

McDonald's successfully resists police licence review

July 2015

McDonald's in Richmond upon Thames has successfully resisted a police instigated review of its premises licence alleging that numerous incidents of drunken crime and disorder in the town centre were associated with the restaurant. Gary Grant acted for the franchisee instructed by Joshua Simons & Associates 

Bar Nuvo - granted 4am licence

July 2015

Bar Nuvo was granted a new premises licence by the London Borough of Lewisham's licensing committee despite an unusual objection from the operator's own Landlord. The licence permits the sale of alcohol and playing of music until 4am at weekends. Gary Grant acted for the operator instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors.

Platinum Lounge, Chester - controversial lap-dancing renewal

July 2015

Gary Grant is acting for the operator of the Platinum Lounge lap-dancing venue who is facing heavily contested SEV renewal proceedings. Over 100 objectors include the Leader of the Council, the local MP, and the Bishop of Chester. The city centre venue is controversially located on Chester's historic Rows and is the city's only lap-dancing venue. 

Shannon Centre summary review following triple shooting and samurai sword slashing

July 2015

Gary Grant acted for the licensing authority  at summary review proceedings following a triple shooting and samurai sword slashing at the Shannon Centre, a venue occupied by a nightclub, pub and banqueting suite in the London Borough of Redbridge. The licence was revoked.

Institute of Licensing National Training Day Speaker

June 2015

Gary Grant delivered two speeches at the Institute of Licensing's Training Day Conference in Birmingham on "The Licensing Act 2003: 10 years on" and on the "IOL Conditions Project" (with James Button)

Rift & Co and Bar Fever, Stoke onTrent

June 2015

Gary Grant was instructed by the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police in successfully resisting the first two applications by late night bars Rift & Co and Bar Fever to challenge Stoke's new Cumulative Impact Policy. 

"Bird" gourmet chicken restaurant granted new licence in Camden's Stress Area

June 2015

Bird brings a new dining concept to the UK: gourmet quality fried chicken. With a successful branch already operating in Shoreditch, this successful application for a new licence in Camden Town was granted as an exception to Camden's Stress Policy. Gary Grant acted for the operator instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors.

Grand Junction Arms - licence review

June 2015

Gary Grant was instructed by the Commissioner of the Metropoliatn Police in these licence review proceedings involving violence, disorder and drug- dealing at this Southall pub known locally as the "Grand Junkies Arms". The licence was revoked.

Brighton & Hove Council win hotel nightclub appeal

May 2015

On 12 May 2015, at Brighton & Hove Magistrates' Court, the City Council successfully defended its decision to revoke the premises licence of the West Beach Hotel following licence review proceedings. The Brighton seafront Hotel contained 4 separate operations including a nightclub, restaurant and two bars all under one licence and one DPS but with different operators. The operation of the late night venues caused significant and prolonged disturbances to nearby residents. In dismissing the appeal, the Court agreed with the Council's earlier decision to revoke the licence given that the "combined licence" had proven itself to be unworkable and the late night operations had undermined the public nuisance objective. The premises licence holder was ordered to pay the Council's costs of defending the appeal in the sum of £22,000. Gary Grant appeared for the successful Council instructed by Rebecca Sidell of Brighton & Hove Council's legal department.

King William Hotel survives summary review

April 2015

In March 2015 a serious disorder broke out in the bar of the King William Hotel in Greenwich, London. The police launched a summary review, describing the incident as like an "old-style Wild West bar brawl". The premises' licence was suspended as an interim step. Gary Grant appeared for the venue at the full review hearing and successfully argued against the revocation of the licence or a cut-back in hours. Instead the licensing sub-committee agreed to impose a series of conditions proposed by the licence holder. The interim suspension was also lifted at the conclusion of the hearing.

 

(Gary Grant was instructed by Fabien Simms of FSL Consultants)

The Villa nightclub resists summary review

March 2015

Gary Grant acted for The Villa nightclub in Enfield in successfully resisting Essex Police's Summary Review application that, intially, sought the revocation of its premises licence. The review followed a serious violent disorder at the venue that included a male being stabbed and another male receiving brain injuries that put him in a coma. Following extensive negotiations with the police, and a major re-brand of the premises, Enfield Council were persuaded not to revoke the venue's premises licence. Instead they imposed conditions and steps as proposed and agreed to by the parties.

 

(Gary Grant was instructed by Steve Burnett of Poppleston Allen Solicitors)

Scotch of St James rises again

March 2015

The legendary home of London's swinging sixties, Scotch of St James, was granted a major variation to its premises licence permitting many more of its customers to remain at the venue much later into the night. The venue had played host to The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix among other musical luminaries of the 60's. The venue was revived more recently and has welcomed new musical celebrities including Mark Ronson, Rita Ora and Paloma Faith. Gary Grant appeared for the venue before Westminster City Council (instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors).

Mama Jumbe's doubles its space

March 2015

Mama Jumbe's is a popular dining and entertainment venue in the London Borough of Newham that also serves as a communal hub for London's African community. The venue successfully doubled its licensed area after a variation hearing before Newham Council as an exception to Newham's cumulative impact policy. Gary Grant acted for the venue.

Westminster Social Policy Forum speaker

March 2015

Gary Grant spoke on licensing law and policy at the Westminster Social Policy Forum's Keynote Seminar on "The future of alcohol policy" , chaired by Lord Brooke of Alverthrope.

Aubaine granted 24 hour licence

February 2015

Aubaine, the French restaurant group, successfully obtained a 24 hour licence for its restaurant and bar at the Hilton Hyde Park Hotel in London as an exception to Westminster City Council's stress policy. Gary Grant appeared for the restaurant at the licensing sub-committee hearing (instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors).

Gary Grant presents MBL Licensing Webinars

January 2015

Gary Grant has filmed a series of licensing webinars for MBL, one of the country's leading providers of professional training  for lawyers. The three webinars considered:

 

  • Funky Mojoe and procedural defects under the Licensing Act 2003

  • Licensing update - key decisions and more

  • New police closure powers for licensed premises

 

For more information click here.

Essence nightclub in High Court

December 2014

Gary Grant appeared for the successful local authority in resisting a High Court application for judicial review by Essence nightclub, Kingston upon Thames. The challenge followed the dismissal of the club's appeal to the magistrates' court against the earlier revocation of its premises licence by the London Borough of Kingston on the grounds that the Notice of Appeal had been lodged in the wrong name. Therefore, the Council argued, there was no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. The full High Court judgment is here.

La Sala, Chigwell

December 2014

Gary Grant acted for a group of residents in Woodford Green who successfully resisted the application for a late hours licence made by La Sala, the well-known Marbella based restaurant group, for their first UK restaurant. The London Borough of Redbridge heavily curtailed the opening hours of the venue and added a series of robust conditions to protect local residents.

Institute of Licensing National Conference Speaker 2014

November 2014

In addition to a place on the Expert Panel, Gary Grant gave a series of presentations at the Institute of Licensing's National Conference 2014 on these topics:

 

  • Premises Licence conditions

  • Funky Mojoe and procedural defects

  • Sex Entertainment Venues

  • Councillor Licensing Training

Journal of Licensing article on speaking time limits

November 2014

"Speaking Time Limits: the potential for injustice", by Gary Grant, published in Journal of Licensing, November 2014

Victoria Pub appeal

October 2014

Gary Grant successfully appeared on appeal for the local authority when it defended its revocation of the Victoria Pub's premises licence following a summary review before the London Borough of Hillingdon. The original police allegations concerned wide-spread and overt dealing of Class A drugs at the pub and lap-dancing venue as well as serious public nuisance issues for residents. Gary had previously acted for the Metropolitan Police in the earlier High Court proceedings  that concerned the duration of interim steps pending appeal.  

Park Chinois granted 2am licence in Mayfair

October 2014

Park Chinois is the latest, and largest, fine-dining project from Alan Yau OBE, the restaurateur behind the Michelin-starred Hakkasan and Yauatcha as well the Wagamama and Busaba Eathai chains. Mr Yau's stated aim was to create the "ultimate dining experience" in the Chinoiserie style of 1920's Shanghai. Two adjoining sites linking Berkeley Street and Dover Street in London's Mayfair were identified as suitable for housing the 450 capacity restaurant . The investment required is in excess of £10 million. The early hours application received numerous objections from resident associations, individuals and the responsible authorities who believed the restaurant's customers would inevitably add to the existing night-time nuisance and anti-social issues in the area. The application went far beyond Westminster's core hours policy. However at a hearing before Westminster's licensing sub-committee on 9 October 2014 the operators were granted their 2am premises licence to include the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment. Park Chinois is expected to open in Spring 2015. Gary Grant appeared for Park Chinois (instructed by Andrew Wong of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors).

 

Journal of Licensing leading article on procedural defects

July 2014

“To err is human but is it legal? Funky Mojoe and procedural defects in licensing” by Gary Grant, published in Journal of Licensing, Leading Article, July 2014

Please reload