The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer presented his report covering an application for a variation of a premises licence under Section 34 of the Licensing Act 2003. The Sub-Committee was advised that on 3 February 2021, an application for a variation of a premises licence was made by Asda Stores Limited for ASDA, Watton Road, Ware, SG12 0AD. The application sought approval to vary the current premises licence by extending the supply of alcohol between 07:00 to 23:00 Monday to Sunday, to enable home deliveries for click and collect orders.
The Sub-Committee was advised that the current premises licence permitted the supply of alcohol between 08:00 and 22:00 hours Monday to Saturday and between 10:00 and 16:00 hours on Sundays. Members were advised that the store opening hours were to remain unchanged.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officers said that the application could be found in Appendix A on pages 101 to 112 and regarding the steps to promote the licensing objectives, the applicant had stated that all existing conditions would be maintained and operated.
The Sub-Committee was advised however that during the 28 day statutory consultation period, the applicant had agreed further conditions with Hertfordshire Constabulary and these conditions could be found at paragraph 3.6 of the report. The additional conditions were summarised by the Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer, and included details of CCTV, age verification policy, notices advertising the age verification policy, staff training on the Challenge 25 scheme, and the maintenance of an incident book or electronic log.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officers said there had
been three representations from Interested Parties during the 28
statutory consultation period; and
details of these representations could be found at Appendix
‘B’ on pages 113 to 116 of the Agenda.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer said that the representations from the Interested Parties each engaged the engaged the prevention of public nuisance and prevention of crime and disorder licensing objectives. Members were advised that another representation had mentioned public safety and the main concerns of the interested parties were extra traffic and noise during the extended period of sales.
The Sub-Committee was advised that in respect of crime and disorder, it should be noted that the police had been consulted and due to the agreed conditions, they were satisfied that this licensing objective would not be undermined.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer said that the report covered the East Herts statement of licensing policy and the revised guidance under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003. The Sub-Committee should determine the application with a view to promoting the four licensing objectives and Members must consider if the applicant had evidenced whether the application would promote the licensing objectives and would not undermine them and this evidence should be balanced against the evidence given by interested parties.
He also said that if the Sub-Committee believed that the licensing objectives would not be undermined then the application should be granted. Members were advised that if they believed that the application would not promote the four licensing objectives, they should take appropriate and proportionate action to address these concerns.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer said that the Sub-Committee could attach conditions, limit the hours or restrict licensable activities. The application should only be refused as a last resort and the Members’ decision should be evidence based, justified, appropriate and proportionate.
Mr Taylor, legal representative for the applicant, introduced the ASDA licensing manager and also the store manager for the premises at Watton Road in Ware. He explained that this was an unusual application and he would deal with it in three parts.
Mr Taylor reiterated that this was an application for the variation of the premises licence to permit alcohol sales between 07:00 and 23:00 hours 7 days a week, in order to service home deliveries and click and collect orders. He explained that his would not affect the hours that the store would be open to customers for shopping.
Mr Taylor said that the variation in hours was to allow ASDA to service home delivery and click and collect orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as this had more than doubled the demand for home delivery and had quadrupled the demand for click and collect. He said that enhanced conditions had been agreed with Hertfordshire Constabulary and reference had been made in the conditions that the purpose of the application was to fulfil remote orders.
Mr Taylor explained that ASDA could currently do home deliveries that did not contain alcohol at any time of the day. He said that the applicant wished to make the full range of products available to customers and he did not believe that this would prejudice the licensing objectives.
Mr Taylor explained that click and collect was available between 08:00 and 22:00 hours Monday to Saturday and between 10:00 and 16:00 hours, and a planning application had been made to extend those hours. He said that if the variation was approved by Members, nothing would change for click and collect until the planning permission was also in place.
Mr Taylor said that all home delivery drivers would have the same training as the checkout staff in store in terms of adhering to enforcing Challenge 25 on the doorstep. He explained that any alcohol was removed from the shopping if the customer was unable to provide proof of age if they were challenged on the doorstep for appearing under the age of 25. Members were advised that the same challenge process was in place in the car park for click and collect.
Mr Taylor explained that he had made submissions to the Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer on the basis that the submissions that had been made by interested parties were not relevant. He said that a main point of relevance was the effect on the licensing objectives of a bottle of wine being included in a home delivery.
Mr Taylor said that there would be no impact on light or noise pollution or effect on residents in terms of anti-social behaviour. He said that the police had not objected to the application and there would be no anti-social behaviour. He said that ASDA wanted to be good neighbours, would always work with residents and would meet with them to achieve that aim.
Mr Taylor said that the operating hours of the service yard were governed by planning and nothing would change as ASDA would continue to comply with planning rules. He said that the store manager would be happy to talk to residents to ensure that there were no issues. He pointed out that there would be no impact in terms of litter, lighting, landscaping or exhaust emissions.
Councillor Wilson asked the applicant’s legal representative whether the applicant would respond adequately to any concerns that had been raised by the residents in respect of the licensing objectives.
Mr Taylor said that the applicant would always be happy to talk to the residents and there was evidence that this had been taking place. He said that ASDA always sought to be part of the community and be a benefit rather than a burden to the area.
At the conclusion of the closing submission, the Sub-Committee, the Legal Services Manager and the Democratic Services Officer withdrew from the main Zoom session to allow Members to consider the evidence.
Following this, Members and Officers returned and the Chairman announced that the Licensing Sub-Committee had listened to the comments of the Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer and the applicant and the Sub-Committee had taken into account the concerns of the residents. The Sub-Committee had decided to approve the application.
In coming to its decision, the Sub-Committee believed that the applicant had provided evidence that the granting of the licence would promote and not undermine the four licensing objectives.
RESOLVED – that the application for a variation of a Premises Licence for ASDA, Watton Road, Ware, SG12 0AD, be granted.