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In summarising the application the Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer commented that it was for a Temporary Event Notice for an event including the sale of alcohol to be held on 10 November 2019 from 12.30pm to 8.00pm for up to 400 people.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer commented that a representation had been received from the Police setting out concerns in relation to: unlawful substances at the applicant’s home address; a criminal record for dishonesty; a stabbing at the premises; escape of animals from the farm onto public roads; and provision of parking for the event. No representation had been received from the Environmental Health department as there were no plans for amplified entertainment.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer commented that the Panel should decide whether the application would promote or undermine the four statutory Licensing objectives and, if it was determined that it would undermine these objectives, the application should be refused.
The Chair confirmed that all Members of the Panel had received the applicant’s submitted evidence.
The applicant spoke at length in support of her application and commented that:
· The planned event was a delayed ‘Octoberfest’ with beer and sausages to celebrate the joining of 3 businesses and her own model of conservation farming.
· It would be a ticket-only family event. Attendees would mostly be adults over the age of 30 with associated children and there would be a separate area for children, with arts and crafts and appropriate unamplified musical entertainment.
· She had taken advice from the NFU in relation to the event and there would be a separation of at least two fences between attendees and any farm animals.
· There would be 40 marshals at the event in addition to 11 registered security staff.
· There were no parking restrictions on North Road adjacent to the planned entrance and there were few cars parked on that road on a Saturday. The road could therefore be use for parking for the event.
· Plans for a previous event scheduled for 26 October 2019 had been shelved following initial concerns and all ticket holders for that event had been fully refunded and would be invited to this new event free of charge to protect the reputation of her business.
· In planning the event she had worked closely with the Licensee of the event and with a compere of the Hertford Music Festival.
· The finish time of the event could be reviewed but would be shortly after dusk.
In response to points raised by the Police in relation to her application for a previous event the applicant stated that the allegation that she had been running a cannabis farm on the premises were false and Sgt Fitzgerald had accepted that he had mistakenly confused her with her neighbour who also ran a farm. Sgt Fitzgerald confirmed this was the case. The applicant felt it was important to make that clarification.
In making representation on behalf of the Police, Sgt Fitzgerald commented that:
· He was concerned at the apparent lack of parking provision for the event. He expected around 150 vehicles to attend and there was insufficient space on adjacent roads. Furthermore the applicant’s plans to utilise vacant spaces at the nearby railway station car park were in his view unrealistic.
· Based on a previous site visit he had carried out, he was concerned about the condition of fencing and the lack of lighting or electricity on site.
· There was confusion in the application about the actual post-code and address for the event.
· The applicant was subject to a 12 month Community Protection Warning, dated 28 December 2018, in relation to substance abuse at her home address. She also had a previous criminal record for dishonesty in relation to a failure to disclose changes in circumstances relating to a benefit application. (Note: the Solicitor present confirmed that spent convictions were relevant to an application for a Temporary Event Notice.)
· There had been 122 calls to the Police in relation to the premises since July 2013 including escape of animals onto public roads and an attack and stabbing in which the applicant’s son was involved.
In response to the comments made by the Police, the applicant commented that:
· The Community Protection Warning related to behaviour of tenants who had occupied an annex property at her home address. The annexed property was completely separate to her own home and was registered separately for Council Tax. When she had been made aware of the tenants’ behaviour she had immediately taken steps to evict them.
· The conviction for dishonesty related to a period when her elderly father had occupied the annex and the Benefits Agency had taken his income into account in her own claim for benefits.
· She had only been responsible for the event premises since July 2018. Since that date there had been just 39 calls to the Police and the majority of these had been made by her when she had suffered criminality including theft of livestock and car breakers operating on her farm without permission.
· There had been a history of animals escaping from the farm due to the previous owner’s neglect of fencing. To prevent this she had invested in improved fencing on the farm and there had been no animals escaping from her own premises since January 2019. Any other animals on public roads belonged to neighbouring farms.
· Preparations for the event at the time of Sgt Fitzgerald’s visit were not representative of how the event would be managed as things such as electricity, lighting and toilets would be put in place only days prior to the event.
· Her son had been just a witness to the stabbing which had taken place not on the farm property and no proceedings were being taken against him.
In summing up his case Sgt Fitzgerald commented that he was concerned that there had been insufficient detail in the planning, there was a likelihood of serious traffic congestion, there were no plans for emergency evacuation and the applicant was inexperienced in planning for such an event.
In summing up her application, the applicant commented that she accepted the need for her to take advice and that was why she had put together a team including a licensee and experienced event-organisers. She was acting on advice to enhance fencing on site and to develop an emergency plan and she had recently held a similar free, non-alcohol event for 40 children which had gone smoothly.
At the conclusion of the closing submissions, the Sub-Committee, Legal Officer and Democratic Services Officer withdrew from the meeting to allow the Sub-Committee to consider the evidence and a summary of the discussions.
Following their deliberations, the Sub-Committee returned. The Chairman announced that the Sub-committee had listened to the comments and representations made by all parties, written and oral. As such the Sub-Committee announced that the application was rejected in its entirety on the basis that it failed to support the four Licensing Objectives and due to concerns over the distinct lack of a detailed written plan for the event.
The applicant was advised that she would receive a full written notice of the determination of the Sub-Committee.
RESOLVED – that the application for the variation of a temporary event notice for Goldings Estate Rare Breeds Farm, Goldings Way, Hertford be rejected.