The Chairman outlined the procedure to be followed. All those present were introduced. The Service Manager (Licensing and Enforcement) summarised the application adding that during the consultation period, three responses had been received, two of which had been from local Councillors. The third response had been withdrawn.
The Solicitor for the applicant summarised the current variation request and outlined the applicant’s licensing background. From the viewpoint of noise nuisance, he emphasised the fact that the premises were purpose built and currently 34 conditions were observed, in addition to the mandatory licensing conditions. He referred to comments which had been submitted about fears of noise nuisance, adding that a local club which had recently closed often had left its doors and windows open allowing noise to escape from the building.
The Solicitor assured Members that controls were in place and their wish to be able to open on a Monday evening until 2am to accommodate shift workers and air crew from Stansted Airport. He added that air crew on a Monday evening, were more mature than the client base at weekends. It was noted that Bacchus had been opening on a Monday until 2am, under TENS arrangements for the last nine Mondays and there had been no complaints from local residents or from responsible authorities.
Members referred to the discontinuance of the taxi marshalling scheme and were advised that door staff acted as Taxi Marshalls as required. The General Manager confirmed the good relationship he had with local residents and that regular meetings were held with them. Councillor B Deering suggested that some meetings might fall into decay if residents felt that their concerns were not being addressed. The General Manager confirmed that there had been two residents who had attended the last meeting to raise unrelated issues such as residents’ light bulbs. He stressed that he saw local residents regularly and that there was ample opportunity to raise concerns if they had any.
The Solicitor confirmed that in the past two years the Police had been called out on three separate occasions but this had not necessitated crime scene preservation. The General Manager stated that the Police had been called only when he felt a situation was escalating and that assistance was needed to protect the staff and public and to calm down a situation. The Sub- Committee was reminded of what conditions were currently in place in terms of addressing licensing objectives.
Councillor J Jones sought and was provided with clarification about the arrangements for smokers. The Solicitor explained that this was controlled by Door Supervisors. Councillor B Deering posed the question as to whether the applicant was prepared to offer any new conditions. The Sub-Committee was reminded that Bacchus currently observed 34 conditions in addition to the mandatory ones, that no nuisance was being caused and that this was not considered to be necessary.
A Member queried whether Bacchus might swap their current opening arrangements e.g. a Thursday for a Monday. The Solicitor suggested that if this was to limit disturbance that this might be worthy of consideration. However, the TENS had operated well for the last nine Mondays, there had been no disturbance or complaints and there was no justification to change this.
The Sub-Committee Chairman queried how Bacchus would address concerns about noise in terms of amenity. The Solicitor confirmed that no noise escaped the building and if this did, then steps would be taken.
The Solicitor for the applicant referred to the thriving nature of the town and their wish to provide entertainment in a responsible manner and which observed licensing objectives.
At the conclusion of the closing submissions, all those in attendance withdrew from the meeting to allow the Sub-Committee to consider the evidence. The Interim Legal Services Manager and Democratic Services Officer remained in the meeting.
Following the deliberations, the applicant and his Solicitor and other attendees returned. The Chairman announced that the Sub-Committee had listened to the comments and representations by all parties, written and oral and had also noted the reported operation of the TENS notices on the last nine occasions. Additionally, the Sub-Committee also noted the very few occasions when the Police had been called over the past three years. As such, the Sub-Committee announced that it was prepared to grant the additional time on Monday nights to 2am Tuesday morning as applied for, without the need for any further conditions.
RESOLVED – that for the reasons now detailed, the application to vary the hours on a Monday evening to 2am as applied for, be granted without the need for further conditions.