Application for a new premises licence at Fox and Firkin 15 Whitburn Road SE13 7UQ.
In the matter of this application for a new premises licence,the Committee has considered all the relevant representations made by all parties.
The Committee has made the following determination to ensure the promotion of the licensing objectives in accordance with the provisions of the Secretary of State’s guidance and the principles of our licensing policy:
With a view to ensuring the promotion of the licensing objectives, in accordance with the provisions of the statutory guidance and the principles of our licensing policy, the application was AGREED, subject to the conditions attached to this letter. Not all proposed conditions were agreed.
In coming to a determination the Committee considered the following matters:
1. Members of the Committee noted the objection made by the Police. P.C Butler had not received a response from the applicant regarding this application. Conditions had been proposed and because there had not been a response, he had now alternative but to make an objection to the application on behalf of the Police.
2. Members noted that P.C Butler considered it imperative that at least one female member of the door staff must be employed to ensure that all patrons were frisked. If only male patrons were frisked, weapons could be smuggled in to the premises by female patrons. He reminded members that a member of staff at the premises had been bottled by a member of the public and so drinks should be dispensed in polycarbonate drinking vessels.
3. Members of the Committee also noted that the Police and licensing team had received several noise complaints from neighbours. The Fox and Firkin was a live band venue active in a garden three times the original size accommodating 200 patrons. The web site of the venue, documented the garden activities well and showed how loud the bands were.
4 The Committee noted the presentation from a resident. They were unable to enjoy their garden since the premises became a live music venue 5/6 years ago. She had not noticed any of the changes purported to have been implemented by the applicant, and when she had asked staff to turn down the music she was told ‘no’.
5. Members noted the presentation from the applicant. Management had been liaising with the licensing team on their application but had not received emails from the Police. They were committed to working with Police officers and agreed to copy P.C Butler in to any future correspondence with the licensing team. It had not been their intention to keep the Police out of any correspondence
6. Members of the Committee also noted that generally management would be able to provide female door staff, however there were not many female members in the industry and it could be difficult, on occasions, to employ female members. Polycarbonate drinking vessels would be used for busy events, but on quiet occasions, a quality drink, could not be served in a polycarbonate cup. Conditions 24 -26 regarding the use of the garden up until 10pm and use as a smoking area were not in line with the timings that they had applied for.
7. Having considered all of the evidence, it was agreed that by granting this application, the four licensing objectives would be upheld.
8. Members of the Committee strongly recommended that mechanisms should be put in place by the applicant to promote good communication between the Fox and Firkin and local residents. Dialogue with the local community could be through an open forum and WhatsApp and management should ensure that all local residents had access to an emergency number.
An appeal against this decision may be made to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days, from the date of this letter.
Clerk to the Licensing Committee
1/ The premises shall install and maintain a comprehensive CCTV system. All entry and exit points will be covered enabling frontal identification of every person entering in any light condition. The CCTV system shall continually record whilst the premises is open for licensable activities and during all times when customers remain on the premises. All recordings shall be stored for a minimum period of 31 days with date and time stamping. Recordings shall be made available immediately upon the request of Police or authorized officer throughout the preceding 31 day period. The CCTV system should be updated and maintained according to police recommendations.
2/ A staff member from the premises who is conversant with the operation of the CCTV system shall be on the premises at all times when the premises are open to the public. This staff member must be able to show a Police or authorized council officer recent data or footage with the absolute minimum of delay when requested.
3/ Cctv must cover all licensable area submitted on the plan during application, must be the same quality inside and it is outside the premises, so must be able to operate in lower light levels.
4/ The CCTV must cover all areas of the venue that the public have access to. There should be no obstructions to any internal camera that creates areas that are not wholly covered by CCTV, apart from within toilet cubicles and directly covering men’s urinals.
5/ Any outside area and smoking area must be covered by CCTV that is to the same standards as the internal CCTV system.
6/ The premises shall prominently display signage at all entrances informing customers: -
- Challenge 25 is in this Premises.
- All persons entering the premise may be requested to produce identification,
- Police may be called if drugs or weapons are found
- CCTV is in operation throughout this premises and is made available to the police.
- Please leave quietly and respect our neighbours and our Community on display in the premises, garden and any marque.
7/ A minimum of 2 SIA registered door staff, of which one (1) should be female and are all employed by an Accredited Contractor Scheme (ACS) registered company. They must be on duty when the Premises is open beyond 2330hrs, and on New Year and at seasonal times. Starting time from 21:00hrs until 15 minutes after conducting licensable activities, private events and after the last customer leaving.
8/ A register of security personnel employed on the premises shall be maintained in a legible format and made available to police upon reasonable request. The register should be completed by the DPS/ duty manager/ nominated staff member at the commencement of work by each member of security staff and details recorded should include; full name, SIA badge number, time of commencement and completion of duties. The security operative should then sign their name.
9/ All staff engaged outside the entrance to the premises, or supervising or controlling queues, shall wear obvious Identification and accreditation and be clearly identifiable as SIA when seen on Cctv camera recordings.
10/ All door staff / security must report all criminality to the management and record this in the incident book that is kept on site at all times.The license holder/DPS shall ensure that capacity is kept to under 200 limit.
11/ A refusals log is to be kept on site at the premises and must be signed off by the DPS/PLH on a monthly basis to show refusals are being kept up to date.
12/ In the final hour of opening time the music levels should be reduced to assist a wind down period and aid dispersal and encourage drinking up times.
13/ The PLH / DPS shall ensure that the capacity is kept to under 200 persons limit as stated on the application submitted.
14/ Notices shall be prominently displayed at any area used for smoking requesting patrons to respect the needs of local residents and use the area quietly.
15/ Unaccompanied children are only permitted with a parent or guardian.
16/ An incident log shall be kept at the premises, and made available on request to an authorized officer of the Council or the Police, which will record the following:
(a) All crimes reported to the venue
(b) All ejections of patrons
(c) Any complaints received
(d) Any incidents of disorder
(e) All seizures of drugs or offensive weapons
(f) Any faults in the CCTV equipment.
(g) Any refusal of the sale of alcohol (this will be recorded electronically)
(h) Any visit by a relevant authority or emergency service.
(I) advertise a number for complaints from the public and all complaints to be recorded in the incident book.
17/ A record book of banned individuals shall be held by the SIA registered door supervisors at the front door and will be made available to Police and Council upon request.
18/ The premises shall have a written dispersal policy in order to limit the noise disturbances to residents and neighbours. All door staff shall be knowledgeable of this policy and able to enforce it.
19/ The license holder shall provide information on request for customers with a hackney carriage and/or private carriage contact numbers to assist with egress and getting home safely.
20/ A minimum of two staff should be on site who are trained in schemes such as Ask Angela, WAVE, and around victim vulnerability and people safety and be on site as welfare officers for customers.
21/ A noise limiter must be fitted and maintained within the premises. The level of this meter must be set in accordance with required legislation and standards by a qualified sound engineer, as so not to cause a noise nuisance. The limiter must be sealed in such a way that no unauthorised person can tamper with it. All amplified music played at the premises must be passed through the noise limiter. An annual calibration of the noise limiter must take place by a qualified sound engineer and recorded in the incident book.
22/ An appropriately qualified acoustic engineer* must be engaged to carry out an acoustic report for both sound insulation, egress and dispersal with appropriate recommendations as to how statutory nuisance can be mitigated appropriately, within 1 month of the licence being granted. A copy of the report must be sent to the licencing authority within 2 months of the licence grant date. Any recommendations to improve noise management to ensure a nuisance does not occur to neighbouring properties must be implemented with 3 months of the licence grant date.
*defined as a member of the Association of Noise Consultants
23/ All areas outside that smokers use are to be provided with waste bins suitable for Cigarette debris to collect any ash and cigarette butts, this will include staff monitoring these and ensuring they are regularly emptied and disposed of.
24/ All deliveries and restocking in Whitburn Road must take place between 0700hrs – 2300hrs to limit local residents disturbances.
25/make available to local residents a dedicated phone number which is monitored at all times while the premises is open for licensable activities
26/ proactively communicate with local residents about activities taking place at the premises and engage in discussions with them about concerns they may have about those activities
4.1 The Senior Licensing Officer said that this hearing was in relation to a new premises licence application made by Firkin Brewery Ltd, for the premises at 15 Whitburn Road SE13 7UQ. He outlined the application.
4.2 Three representations had been received from interested persons on the grounds of the prevention of Public Nuisance, prevention of Crime and Disorder, and Public Safety. Conditions were put on the application by the applicant; they had been reworded to meet the Council’s model conditions and agreed by the applicant. The Police proposed extra conditions that they would like added to the licence, but these were not agreed by the applicant. A list of conditions that had been agreed and those that had not, had been circulated prior to the meeting. The Senior Licensing Officer then outlined the powers available to members when making their decision.
4.3 Ms Watson addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicant. She addressed the objections received from the Police.
· There was no record of P.C. Butler having sent the conditions. It could have been a mishap that they had not been received. Communication would not be ignored because it was important to the applicant that a premises licence was secured.
· The applicant agreed the conditions pending a few minor changes for clarification as discussed with the licensing team. He would be happy to liaise this with P.C Butler on the changes.
4.4 Ms Watson then addressed the objections raised by the planning team.
4.5 The concerns of the neighbours on Whitburn Road were addressed, the applicant was keen to resolve any issues. She clarified that the application was being made by Firkin Brewery; it was a separate entity to the Fox and Firkin Pub but they shared team members and a director. Under the proposed licence plan, the brewery would share a garden area with the pub.
· The Fox and Firkin Pub had tried to address noise issues. Letters had been delivered to local residents with details of senior management so that they could raise any issues.
· A WhatsApp group had been set up for residents to join so that any concerns could be raised and resolved quickly.
· The Fox and Firkin was a grass roots music pub on an inner London High Street in a densely populated area. They operated within all regulations but the service offered would produce sound.
· Over the past year, in an effort to mitigate noise, acoustic treatment had been undertaken at the pub and in the garden. The decibel levels were not known so it was difficult to ascertain whether the noise constituted a nuisance. However, it was accepted that any unwelcome noise suffered by residents constituted a noise nuisance.
4.6 The existence of a music establishment in an urban area was a nationwide issue. Ms Watson said that the Fox and Firkin was an important culture space in the borough and they were keen to work with neighbours to ensure that they continue to exist and provide an important cultural contribution to the local area.
4.7 The tap room area and the shared garden had already be used regularly and successfully, to serve drinks and play live music under a Temporary Event Notice. Neighbours should not expect the area to change much if the application was granted. Live music would be moved to the sheltered area rather than being in the open area so the sound would be moved further away from residential gardens. She encouraged any resident to contact management so that any issues could be resolved.
4.8 Councillor Brown said that if emails received from Police were not responded to, it did not look good to this Committee. He said that Police conditions had been circulated that day to all members of the Committee with the applicant’s concerns in green. He asked whether this was the most up to date information. Ms Watson said that the conditions were up to date. She said that staff members monitor the email account and they had not received the emails from P.C. Butler. They had, however, been in constant contact with Ms Mullin-Murrell in the licensing team and were genuinely very responsive. She said that they would be willing to work with P.C Butler going forward.
4.9 Councillor Jackson, asked Ms Watson to explain the reasons why there were issues around some of the conditions requested by P.C Butler. Ms Watson outlined each condition.
4.10 P.C Butler said that he did not have any issues with emails sent or received. He had not heard from anyone from the brewery so he had to submit an objection to the application. The conditions, which included those that had not been agreed by the applicant, had only been served on him the day of this meeting, giving him little time to respond. He did not accept that the emails had been lost.
4.11 P.C Butler said that the application was supposed to be for the Firkin Brewery. However, most concerns were due to the fact that the land in between was attached to the pub. A variation should have been put in place for the land to be added to the garden. At a recent hearing of this Committee, an application for a Temporary Event Notice was considered. Extra conditions were agreed to address the concerns raised by the Police and local community.
4.12 P.C Butler explained the need for female door staff. This was to ensure that all patrons, regardless of their sexuality, had a choice as to who would search them before entering the premises. There could be a situation where only men were searched and females smuggled knives into the premises because they were not searched.
4.13 P.C Butler said that polycarbonate vessels were important because a member of staff had recently been bottled on the premises. Removing glass from public areas would prevent a repetition of this crime.
4.14 The Police and licensing team had received several noise complaints from neighbours. The Fox and Firkin was a live band venue, active in a garden three times the original size accommodating 200 patrons. The web site of the venue, documented the garden activities well and showed how loud the bands were.
4.15 P.C Butler said that there was a retirement home opposite the premises in Whitburn Road. The noise from the garden could have a detrimental effect on these elderly residents.
4.16 P.C Butler did not believe that the applicant had put forward any credible reason why all of the conditions that he proposed should not be approved in their entirety. This matter should have been discussed with him before this meeting and they had had plenty of time to contact him. The Police objected to this application on the grounds of noise nuisance and crime and disorder.
4.17 A resident of Whitburn Road then addressed the Committee. She said that she had lived in the area for many years and until 5 or 6 years ago there was no noise from the Fox and Firkin. Since then she had been subjected to loud music from the premises on most weekends and was unable to enjoy her garden during the warm weather.
4.18 The resident could not understand why permission was granted to play live music in a residential area. The current application was for an extended area that was closer to her home. She did not agree that the sound would be reduced for local residents.
4.19 The resident referred to the plan. It detailed the tented area, but it did not show the land next to it, which was probably 50% of the tented area again. It did not show any tables or chairs but she did not believe the area would be left clear.
4.20 The measures that the Fox and Firkin claimed to have been put in place had not made any difference to the level of noise. In addition, the first time the resident called the premises to ask for the music to be turned down, she was told ‘No’. The resident wanted to be able to sit out in her garden without having to listen to the music from the premises. She accepted that neighbours had parties with music. It was not acceptable, however, to be subjected to the live music from the premises.
4.21 Ms Watson said that a colleague had sent their comments on the licensing conditions to the Licensing team on 25 May 2022. She agreed to copy P.C Butler in to any future correspondence with the licensing team. It had not been their intention to keep the Police out of any correspondence.
4.22 The capacity applied for would be in addition to present capacity. The brewery would have the capacity for 200 patrons, the operating capacity of the pub was separate to that and there would be a shared area. They were separate operating entities.
4.23 Ms Watson said that the music was located under the tent but it was designed to contain sound, it was in an area where there were more tall buildings and it was expected that the walls should enclose the sound more. She did not know where the resident lived but the music had been moved to an area where sound should be contained. She was sorry to hear about the resident’s experience when she called the premises but hoped that she understood that management wanted to work with residents to mitigate any issues. She invited the resident to the premises to talk through any problems, The Fox and Firkin is a grass roots music venue but did not want to be a nuisance for their neighbours. They wanted to contribute to culture and create a space where artists could express themselves. This was difficult to navigate in a densely populated area.
4.24 In summary, P.C Butler said that the garden had increased three fold. It was located between the Fox and Firkin pub and the brewery. This would create a huge open space. Police had been to this garden to close the area because it was being used as a bar, when it should not have been, prior to the Jubilee celebrations.
4.25 There had been issues around communication with Police which had been a huge issue. P.C Butler said that his concerns were for the Police, the public and the local community. He did not believe that having live grass roots music in the garden would be in the interests of the public.
4.26 The Chair said that she was satisfied that Members of the Committee had read and heard all the information required to make a decision. Before Members left the meeting and proceeded to the vote, she needed to ensure that every Member who would be voting on this item had been present throughout and had no internet disruptions. Each Member then confirmed that they had been present throughout this item and had heard all the evidence.
4.27 The Chair said that a decision letter would be sent out within 5 working days. She thanked all parties for their attendance, and they left the meeting.
4.28 Members confirmed that they had been present throughout the meeting and had not lost connection.