The Committee’s decision was to serve a counter notice, meaning that the proposed event cannot go ahead. The reasons for the Committee’s decision are set out below. In coming to its decision, the Committee has considered all of the papers in the reports pack and the evidence presented and submissions made by both the Applicant and the police at the hearing.
2. The Premises does not currently hold a premises licence. It is located immediately adjacent to The Den football stadium, home of Millwall FC. The TEN proposes to use the hardstanding in front of the Premises (described by the Applicant as its forecourt) to sell alcohol from a van to people coming to the stadium to watch Millwall’s home match on 13 August 2022, which kicks off at 1500. Alcohol will only be sold to customers in plastic vessels. The applicant stated that only home fans would be passing by the Premises and she knew around half of them. Although there was no security plan or risk assessment in place, she would close the event down if there was trouble and pointed out that there is usually a heavy police presence at home matches which would be able to intervene. She was not aware of how many people were likely to attend the proposed event.
3. The police objected on the basis that policing home matches at The Den is a complex operation which is planned several weeks ahead and would be undermined by the proposed event. Entry and exit routes to and from the stadium are carefully monitored as are established local drinking venues, which have strict licence conditions in place meaning they can be managed via the licensing process. The police stated that allowing the proposed event to go ahead would cause significant problems to the policing operation, primarily in terms of obstructing the free flow of fans and traffic to and from the stadium, fans lingering at the Premises and excess alcohol consumption. PC Pearce, speaking on behalf of the police, said that it was unacceptable for the Applicant to rely on the police to provide security for the proposed event and that any officers deployed to the Premises would have to be taken away from other policing responsibilities at the stadium, increasing pressure on police resources. There are already problems when coaches of away fans arrive in this location and are often mobbed by home fans, which will likely be aggravated by the availability of alcohol at the Premises.
4. The Committee was aware that home matches at The Den are well managed by the police and were very concerned that the proposed event would undermine the policing of the match on 13 August 2022. They were also concerned that the Applicant had not prepared a risk assessment for the proposed event and therefore could not be satisfied it would go ahead safely and in a way that promotes the licensing objectives. They considered it unacceptable for the Applicant to rely on the police to provide security for the proposed event which would divert resources away from other priorities and undermine the careful policing plan. For all of these reasons, the Committee decided that the proposed event would undermine the licensing objectives and therefore served a counter notice, meaning that the proposed event could not go ahead.
3.1 The Chair welcomed all parties to the Licensing Committee. She introduced those present, and outlined the procedure to be followed for the meeting. She then invited Mr Lockett to introduce the application.
Senior Licensing Officer
3.2 Mr Lockett said that this hearing was in relation to representations to an application for a Temporary Event Notice for Millwall Café 1-3 Zampa Road. The proposed event site was outside the existing unlicensed café, adjacent to but outside, Millwall Football club. The application was for the sale of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises on 13 August 2022 between 11am and 3pm. Alcohol would be sold from a van parked on the forecourt with drinks dispensed into plastic containers and the event would be limited to 499 people. The Metropolitan Police had objected to the TEN on the grounds of public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder. Mr Lockett outlined the steps available to members when making their decision.
3.3 Ms Grimes said that a number of events had been held and there had not been any trouble. She proposed to sell alcohol on 13 August 2022 in plastic cups. She worked in the café, knew a lot of the Millwall supporters and had experienced nothing but respect from them. Food would be available and there was a seating area where patrons could relax before the game. In addition, she had managed pubs with her business partner and was able to manage challenging behaviour and large crowds.
3.4 The Chair said that match day was very busy with a lot of people in the area. She asked the applicant how she would manage her customers safely and responsibly. Ms Grimes said that the away fans went into a different entrance and there should not be any of these supporters in the vicinity of her café. There would be Police presence so it was very unlikely that trouble would start in Zampa Road
3.5 Councillor Warner noticed that there was not a risk assessment, which was a requirement of the Council. He asked Ms Grimes what risks there could be and whether there would only be home fans in the area. He also asked how many employees worked in the café and how she would make sure there were no more than 500 people in the area if the application was granted. Ms Grimes said that it would not be easy to count the number of patrons in the licensable area. The staff in the café were separate to the bar. She was not sure how many staff would be in the café but there would be three or four in the bar. If there was any trouble, she would close and stop serving customers and would never sell alcohol to people who were drunk.
3.6 Councillor Warner asked whether any security staff or bouncers would be employed for the event. Ms Grimes said that there was always a strong Police presence when there was a match and she knew approximately half of the fans. She said that if security staff were required, this was something that she could organise.
3.7 Councillor Hayes asked Ms Grimes whether she had ever managed a TEN in this area before. Ms Grimes said that they had held a number of events. A bar had been provided for universities. Sometimes they had a licence, on other occasions she had to apply to the local authority for a licence and she did not experience any trouble.
3.8 P.C Pearce addressed the Committee on behalf of the Police. She raised the following issues:
3.9 Councillor Kestner said that there had been discussion regarding having a plan for the event and staff to help manage the event in other venues. She asked the Police if she had thought of anything that would help mitigate any problems so that alcohol could be sold at the venue with minimum disruption to the police. P.C Pearce said that she believed that the venue was in the wrong area and would be impossible for the police to manage potential crowds if the application was granted.
3.10 Councillor Anifowose asked what arrangements the police had with other drinking establishments in the area. P.C Pearce said that the football ground had been there for a number of years and the supporters chose where they wanted to drink. Police line up in corridors where supporters travel. In addition, specific officers were trained to enter these drinking establishments and identify any supporters who were causing trouble. Recently, these premises had been swabbed for cocaine use. This was because violence at football matches was being linked to a mixture of cocaine use and alcohol. Establishments with an alcohol licence had SIA staff so they had their own security.
3.11 Councillor Warner asked about arrangements in place for away fans and where the parking was. P.C Sam Moore said that he was the Millwall dedicated football officer. He said that Zampa Road was not specifically for home fans. Some away fans who did not travel by coach or train, did access the football ground down this road. Like Bolina Road, away fans may walk down these roads. Away coaches come from Ilderton Road, right into Stockholm Road across the front of the stadium before Zampa Road and turn into the stadium at gate 5. The Millwall café was an iconic site, it was densely populated, people eat and congregate in this area. It was particularly busy 1 ½ hours before kick-off. Police experienced difficulties getting the coaches through this area of Zampa Road into the away compound. Currently it takes at least 18 police officers to clear this road. Many more officers would be required if there were an extra 500 people in this area.
3.12 P.C Moore said that in the past, away coaches had come into the area and became caught up in Zampa Road. People were banging on the windows, throwing missiles; they then got off the coaches and there was mass disorder in the middle of the street. Although the system that the police operated at the moment worked well, it could be in jeopardy if the application was granted.
3.13 Ms Grimes said that she would be able to provide security if she was granted a licence for the TEN. Most of the away supporters were directed away from Zampa Road when they arrived at the train station and coaches entered the stadium via another road. She said that if she was granted a licence, supporters would be at her venue, not drinking cans on the street.
3.14 P.C Pearce said that the Police objection related to crime and disorder and public safety and she did not believe that the applicant had addressed these potential risks. She had grave concerns that there would be more crime and disorder if the application was granted and it would have an impact on the staff who police the whole of the borough. The applicant had not thought through her application correctly.
3.15 Members confirmed that they had been present throughout the meeting and had not lost connection.
3.16 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.