Park Sydenham, 277 – 283 Kirkdale, SE26 4QD
Lewisham LBC, Licensing Committee
Application for variation of premises licence
1. Park Garage Group Plc (“the Applicant”) has submitted an application for a variation to the premises licence for Park Sydenham, 277 – 283 Kirkdale, SE26 4QD (“the Premises”).
2. The application seeks authorisation for the following licensable activities:
Supply of Alcohol for consumption OFF the premises
0:00 – 24:00 - Monday
0:00 – 24:00 - Tuesday
0:00 – 24:00 - Wednesday
0:00 – 24:00 - Thursday
0:00 – 24:00 - Friday
0:00 – 24:00 - Saturday
0:00 – 24:00 - Sunday
3. There was one relevant representation in response to the application, received from a Lewisham Ward Councillor public before the deadline.
4. The Licensing Committee held a hearing on 6 July 2023 to consider the representation, which related to one of the licensing objectives; the prevention of public nuisance.
5. It was indicated at the outset that the Objector, Cllr Best was unable to attend the meeting but was substituted by Cllr Curran. The Applicant’s representative queried whether a Regulation 8 notice had been served on the Parties, it was confirmed that had not been done. Given the nature of the objection, the Applicant indicated that she was content to continue provided the representation was confined to the written objection and didn’t extend beyond that.
6. The Applicant’s representative raised the issue of the five-minute time limit for submissions and asked the Committee to exercise its discretion to extend time. The Committee decided against extending time given the relative straightforward nature of the Application.
7. The Applicant’s representative set out the basis of the Application. They explained that the Applicants are a responsible operator, located across Lewisham, Bromley and surrounding areas. They manager over 70 forecourts around London, all trading 24 hours licence, with this being the last 24 hours Premises Licence outstanding.
8. The Applicant is currently trading at the Premises for 19 hours a day with no issues or complaints at this site or any of the other 70+ sites. They indicated that there could be no suggestion that the additional 5 hours will undermine the Licensing Objectives.
9. The Applicant adopts good working practices and protocols are in place, in addition they provide robust staff training & have CCTV installed across the site.
10.The family run business initially applied for a 24-hour licence back in 2019, however, they agreed to compromise due to concerns from the Licensing Officer in relation to an adjacent licensed premises that was experiencing issues with upholding the Licensing Objectives. This compromise was with the view to applying to vary the licence later.
11.The adjacent licensed premises has subsequently closed.
12.The Applicant has considered representations by the objector which raises concerns with street drinkers. However these had already been addressed and considered as part of the Premises Licence original application in 2019 and the following conditions were already agreed on the licence;
a. No super-strength beer, lagers or ciders of 6% ABV (alcohol by volume) or above shall be sold at the premises.
b. All beers and ciders in cans (500ml or less) will only be sold in minimum packs of 4.
13.The Objector was unable to attend the meeting due to other professional commitments but asked for another Sydenham Ward Councillor to attend.
14.Cllr Curran raised concerns about agreeing the variation to the licence conditions given the current problems with street drinkers in the area.
15.There was an indication that the variation would disturb the residents of the neighbouring streets. These additional hours would remove the little respite they have.
16.It was submitted that the local area already has a pub, 24 hour gym and bingo hall which make it very busy.
17.In making its decision, the Committee has taken into account all of the papers in the reports pack and the evidence and submissions presented by the parties at the hearing. It has also taken into account the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the Home Office’s statutory guidance.
18.The Committee’s decision is to grant the application. Its reasons are as follows:
The Committee’s decision is to grant the application.
Its reasons are as follows:
i. The committee sympathised with the Objectors representations about the potential effect on residents, but this was weighed up with the absence of not one objection from a local resident.
ii. The Committee were of the view that no Responsible Authority had raised an objection and they ought to be guided by them and the evidence.
iii. A detailed list of conditions were agreed with the Applicant as part of their original Premises Licence application. These will continue to ensure the Licensing Objections are upheld. No additional conditions were agreed.
iv. Insufficient evidence provided by the Objector that would undermine the Licensing Objectives.
v. There were no complaints about the current management of the Premises.
vi. The concerns previously raised during the 2019 in relation to the adjacent premises were not relevant or live since the Premises has subsequently closed.
vii. The committee were also of the view, that in the event that of a breach to the Licence Conditions or undermining of the Licensing Objectives, there would be recourse for a review of the Licence by the Committee.
19.There is a right of appeal against this decision. Any appeal should be made to the magistrates’ court within 21 days beginning with the day on which the appellant was notified of this decision.
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 the Safer Communities Officer to introduce the application.
3.2 Ms Mullin-Murrell said that this hearing was being held to determine the full variation of a premises licence application made by Park Garage Group plc in relation to Park Sydenham, 277 – 283 Kirkdale, SE26 4QD. She outlined the application.
3.3 The application for the premises licence had been advertised in accordance with regulations. The last date for receiving representations was the 14 June 2023. During the 28-day consultation period, one objection was received by the licensing authority from a member of the Council. The representation was received within the specified consultation period and were not considered vexatious or frivolous. Further documents had been received from the applicant’s agent and they had been circulated to all parties before the meeting.
3.4 Ms Murrell then outlined the options available to members when making their decision.
3.5 The Chair said that Councillor Best was unable to attend the meeting, and had nominated her co ward member, Councillor Curran, to present the objection. Although the regulation 8 notice had not been received, the Agent agreed that Councillor Curran could make the presentation, as long as any comments were in line with the written representation made by Councillor Best.
3.6 The Agent said that Park Garage Group were an extremely responsible operator. Details of this family run business had been circulated to all parties. They managed over 70 forecourts both locally and nationally. All of them traded 24 hours a day apart from the one at Kirkdale.
3.7 The Agent advised that an application for a 24-hour licence had been made in 2019. The licensing officer at the time had concerns about the night club next door, so the applicants compromised, and agreed not to sell alcohol between the hours of 1am and 6am, even though the forecourt had been operating for 15 years without any issues. In 2020 Park Garage bought more than 30 sites and were too busy to make a further application to vary their licence.
3.8 The application for a 24-hour licence was being made with the support and agreement of the authorities. There had not been evidence of any problems at any of their sites, this was due to robust conditions on the licence, and they reflected the working practices of Park Garage in general.
3.9 The representation referred to concerns about street drinkers. There were conditions on the licence to address this issue. No super strength beers or lagers would be sold above 6% and bottles and cans would only be sold in a minimum pack of 4.
3.10 The application was to sell alcohol for an extra 5 hours. There had not been any problems at the premises. The nightclub that had been of concern to licensing officers had closed for years and was not part of this application. The applicant was running a family business, staff undertook training, there was CCTV and everything had been documented.
3.11 In response to a question from the Chair, the agent confirmed that there had never been any problems at the premises and after 11pm a night hatch would be used to serve customers.
3.12 In response to a question from Councillor Howard, the agent said that personnel were trained in skills required for the sale of alcohol. The DPS had been working at the premises for over 5 years and arranged training for staff.
3.13 Councillor Curran, Sydenham ward member, confirmed that Councillor Best had contacted him to make representations on her behalf. One of the concerns that Councillor Best raised was the number of street drinkers in the area. Where alcohol was for sale, street drinkers would buy it. The premises was situated in a residential area and residents would be disturbed by noise if the application was granted. There was a 24 hour gym next door, the local Sainsburys was open until 11pm, a public house was open until midnight and bingo open until 11pm. These premises were all within a small area. Residents in the surrounding roads needed respite from noise and disturbance in the evening.
3.14 Councillor Curran said that the premises would be a destination for people who wanted to buy drink after 1am. Local parking was a problem, and this would be exacerbated if the licence was granted.
3.15 Councillor Curran agreed that Zanzibar nightclub had been a problem in the past. However, it had been noted from when the club was open, people would go to this club on their way to other venues. It was for this reason that he was concerned that a 24 hour licence would create an increase in street drinking and begging. He considered the sale of alcohol until 1am to be late enough.
3.16 Councillor Warner asked whether the Police had raised any concerns about this application, or whether concerns had only been addressed by himself and Councillor Best. Councillor Curran said that Police had not raised any concerns recently, but they had in the past because of late night drinking. In response to a further question from Councillor Warner about whether street drinking was the main concern, Councillor Curran said that there were places further down Sydenham Road where people could buy alcohol and it caused problems. He expected this problem to spread up the road particularly if a 24-hour licence was granted.
3.17 Councillor Jackson said that this application was for the sale of alcohol for 5 extra hours. He asked Councillor Curran whether any residents had raised concerns that these additional hours would cause additional pressure over and above the fact that there was a 24 hour gym next door and the forecourt was open 24 hours for people who wanted to buy non alcoholic goods. Councillor Curran said that he had not been contacted by local residents, but along with Councillor Best, they knew the history of the area and had received complaints in the past. At present, they had respite from noise in the early hours of the morning because local establishments closed before midnight. if the application was granted, it would attract beggars and people going on to other clubs and cause a disturbance for neighbours in the neighbouring roads.
3.18 Councillor Curran asked members if they were minded to grant the application, that it should be for a trial period. The agent said that the applicant had already had a 4-year trial period.
3.19 The agent said that the decision made by members had to be evidence based and there was no evidence that a 24-hour licence would become a destination for street drinkers or cause disturbance, it was simply speculation. Her client wanted to sell alcohol 24 hours a day along with other goods throughout the night. It did not mean that a lot of people would be coming to the premises.
3.20 The agent said that her client managed several forecourts around the country with 24-hour licences, in residential areas without any complaints. Street drinkers did not tend to buy alcohol from forecourts because they were so bright, supervised and with CCTV. There had not been one objection from residents and objections had not been received from relevant authorities.
3.21 The application was for the sale of alcohol for 5 extra hours. There were practical difficulties only selling alcohol for 19 hours. The agent said that she was certain that there would not be any complaints received if the application was granted, and the four licensing objectives would be upheld. She recommended that the application, as applied for, be granted.
3.22 Councillor Curran said that he was concerned that the premises would become a destination venue for street drinkers and people going on to other establishments and residents would endure noise in the early hours of the morning if the application was granted.
3.23 The Chair said that she was satisfied that members of this Committee had read and heard all the information required to make a decision. All members confirmed their attendance throughout the meeting.
3.24 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.