Y Crochan, ‘Hole in the Wall Street’, Caernarfon
To consider the application
To grant the application
Representing the premises:
Dewi Jones and Chris Summers - applicants
Local Member: Councillor Cai Larsen
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. The Chair highlighted that all parties would be allowed up to 5 minutes to make their representations.
a) The Licensing Department's Report
Submitted – the report of the Licensing Manager giving details of the application for a premises licence for Y Crochan, 9 – 11 Hole in the Wall Street, Caernarfon. The application was made in relation to the sale of alcohol on and off the premises.
It was noted that the Licensing Authority Officers had sufficient evidence that the application had been submitted in accordance with the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 and the relevant regulations. Reference was made to the measures that had been recommended by the applicant to promote the licensing objectives, and it was highlighted that these measures would be included on the licence.
Attention was drawn to the responses that had been received during the consultation period. It was noted that objections had been received from neighbouring residents, which referred to two of the licensing objectives. Concerns were expressed regarding anti-social matters in terms of noise, public nuisance and that the business tables caused an obstruction to residents.
It was recommended that the Committee approved the application in accordance with the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003.
In considering the application, the following procedure was followed:
• Members of the Sub-committee and the applicant were given the opportunity to ask questions to the Licensing Manager.
• The applicant was invited to expand on the application.
• Consultees were given an opportunity to present their observations.
• The licensee, or their representative, was invited to respond to the observations.
• Members of the Sub-committee were given an opportunity to ask questions to thelicensee.
• Members of the Sub-committee were given an opportunity to ask questions to the consultees.
Elaborating on the application, the applicants noted:
· They had not been selling alcohol illegally - they had submitted and had been granted temporary event notices
· Tables would be located outside on one side of the street only
· Fire safety regulations were in accordance with Covid regulations
In response to a question about the licence holder, Mr Dewi Jones highlighted that he had now been granted a personal licence. It was also confirmed that there were no fire exit stairs from the first or second floors - there were only internal stairs with doors opening to the front and to the rear.
The consultees in attendance took the opportunity to expand on the observations they had submitted by letter.
Rita Geary (Mandy Mathews submitting observations on behalf of Rita Geary)
· Had lived on the street all her life - things becoming more difficult and causing concern
· Did not want to live with noise
· Difficult for the emergency services to gain access to the street after 16:00
· Too many tables outside on the street
· An additional licence would increase problems on the street
· Lived next door to the premises - no 2m between her front door and the tables
· Did not feel safe - many similar establishments on the street
· No objection to a new venture but the proposal would add to existing problems
· Residents needed to be considered
· The right to park on the street between 16:00 and 11:30, which was ideal for her working hours, but difficult to get the car out / get onto the street at times as there were tables on the street - this caused more problems and concern
· The proposal was a restaurant, why was there a need to sell alcohol?
· Consider a compromise of 'bring your own alcohol'
· Needed to avoid drinking outside on the street
Local Member: Councillor Cai Larsen
· The applicants had run the Porthi Pawb Scheme, which had been very successful in Caernarfon during lockdown.
· He sympathised with the concerns of neighbouring residents
· The proposal was to establish a quality restaurant compared to other establishments on the street and therefore it would attract a different type of customer
· Permitting customers to 'bring their own alcohol' was likely to lead to more drinking with the purchase of cheaper alcohol
· Less control without a licence - the licence holder had discipline and a responsibility to maintain order
Taking advantage of the right to conclude their case, the applicant noted the following points:
· Permitting customers to 'bring their own alcohol' was likely to create more problems - no control over this
· It was intended to serve the last table at 20:30, therefore, did not anticipate people staying later than 22:00
· The restaurant would not contribute towards noise
The Licensing Manager reiterated that the applicants had submitted an application for a temporary event notice to sell alcohol of which a few had been granted. No illegal sale of alcohol had occurred and no complaints had been received during this period.
The applicants, the consultees and the Licensing Manager withdrew from the meeting while the Sub-committee members discussed the application.
In reaching its decision, the Sub-committee considered written observations that had been submitted by interested parties and the Licensing Officer's report. The Council's Licensing Policy and the Home Office guidelines were considered. All considerations were weighed up against the licensing objectives under the Licensing Act 2003, namely:
i. Prevention of crime and disorder
ii. Prevention of public nuisance
iii. Ensuring public safety
iv. Protection of children from harm
RESOLVED to approve the application
The licence was issued as follows:
1. Opening hours: Sunday-Saturday 09:00-00:00
2. Supply of alcohol to be consumed on and off the premises: Sunday-Saturday 09:00-23:30
3. Matters prescribed in the Schedule of Actions (Section M) of the application are incorporated as conditions on the licence.
All parties were thanked for making representations on the application.
The Sub-committee gave due consideration to all the representations. The Sub-committee disregarded observations that had been submitted, on the basis that they were not relevant to the licensing objectives, e.g. arguments that there was no need for a licensed premises for the hours requested or at all, or a lack of relevant planning permission. These matters were not premises licence application considerations.
Specific consideration was given to the following:
Observations had been received from members of the public objecting to the application referring to the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder, preventing public nuisance and ensuring public safety. In summary, concerns had been expressed that the premises had been serving alcohol without a licence; granting the licence would likely lead to an increase in noise and that business tables were an obstruction for neighbouring residents. For information, no objections had been received from the Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Council's Public Protection Unit or the Council's Highways Department.
The Sub-committee highlighted that it accepted that some concerns expressed regarding the application were genuine. However, the Sub-committee was of the opinion that insufficient evidence had been submitted to prove that these problems were likely to happen should the licence be granted, and that it would be contrary to the licensing objectives.
A concern was highlighted that the premises had been serving alcohol without a licence and, therefore, the applicant's willingness not to commit this offence in future was questioned. No details had been submitted in terms of dates, times or the circumstances of these alleged incidents and confirmation was received from the applicants and the Licensing Manager that temporary event notices had been submitted in relation to recent evenings at the premises. Presuming that any offence had been committed, no explanation had been provided as to how granting the licence would lead to more cases of selling alcohol without a licence when the existence of a licence would reduce the likelihood of offending in the first place - due to a lack of evidence, the Sub-committee had not been persuaded that granting the licence would undermine the objective of preventing crime and disorder.
A concern was highlighted that granting the licence would lead to an increase in noise problems. However, no evidence had been submitted to support the allegation beyond general allegations that could be attributed to any licensed premises nearby, and it was not explained why these premises in particular would be likely to cause a noise problem more than others. It appeared that the observations had been submitted based on speculation and no evidence - this was not legal grounds to make a decision - according to the High Court in R (on the application of Daniel Thwaites Plc) v Wirral Borough Magistrates Court  EWHC 838 (Admin).
In the context of an objection on the basis that tables belonging to the premises would block road access, it was not explained why these premises in particular were likely to cause worse access problems than nearby licensed premises that had tables on the street. The Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, any other emergency service or the Highways Department had not expressed any concern regarding road safety. It was expected that the official agencies would have submitted observations highlighting this should there be a risk for the public. As a result of lack of evidence and observations from experts in the field, the Sub-committee had not been persuaded that granting the licence waslikely to undermine the licensing objective of ensuring public safety.
While the Sub-committee understood and accepted the concerns of residents about the application, a decision had to be made on legal grounds and based on robust evidence that was relevant to one or more of the licensing objectives. Under the circumstances, the Sub-committee was satisfied that the amended application was in accordance with the four licensing objectives. The application was approved.
The Solicitor reported that the decision would be confirmed formally by letter to everyone who was present. He added that all parties to the application had the right to submit an appeal to Caernarfon Magistrates' Court against the Sub-committee's decision. Any such appeal should be lodged by giving notice of appeal to the Chief Executive, Llandudno Magistrates’ Court, Llandudno within 21 days of the date that the appellant received the letter (or a copy of the letter) confirming the decision.