(Director of Corporate Support Services) To consider the attached report.
The Members who presided over the application were Councillors R Morgan, Mrs R Gadsby and A Lion.
The Chairman welcomed the participant and introduced the Members and Officers present and requested the participant introduce himself to the Sub-Committee. In attendance was Mr N Bowerbank, the applicant. There were no objectors in attendance.
The Chairman outlined the procedure that would be followed for the determination of the application.
(a) The Application before the Sub-Committee
The Assistant Director of Corporate Support Services (Legal) informed the Sub-Committee that an application had been received for a Sex Establishment Licence – Shop, Fifty Ways, 105 Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 5TQ.
A number of objections had been received from local residents.
It was noted that Essex Police, Essex County Fire and rescue, Essex County Council Trading Standards and the Authority’s Environment and Street Scene were not making any representations.
(b) Presentation of the Applicant’s Case
The applicant stated, the retail shop had been there since 1976. To his knowledge there had never been any complaints in any form regarding the premises and the retail trade that was carried out there. The applicant purchased the lease of the retail shop in 1996. In 2001 a licence to sell R18 DVD’s was granted and in 2008 the applicant sold the business to his son. In May 2012 the company, under the ownership of his son, went into liquidation. The applicant then purchased the assets of the liquidated company.
There had been confusion when the public notice was published, the applicant stated that the premises would not be used as a sex cinema or a sex encounter establishment, an error on the application form had now been rectified. The applicant advised he had approximately 28-32 customers visited the premises over the week, the opening hours would be 10:00 to 18:00 hours Tuesday to Saturday inclusive. The principle trade being the sale of lingerie, dresses, hosiery, shoes, boots, slippers, leather, rubber, pvc clothing, marital aids and R18 DVD’s.
The applicant provided a rough sketch of the premises and described the layout:
· The shop window was plate glass and the display would consist of clothing, footwear and lingerie.
· The front of the shop would display clothing, footwear and lingerie. There was a floor to ceiling partition with an open doorway leading to the back of the shop.
· The back of the shop would display the marital aids and R18 DVD’s.
(c) Questions for the Applicant from the Sub-Committee
The applicant was asked who the four directors were, he explained Mrs Joy was now his wife, Miss Bowerbank was his daughter, Mr Pierpoint was the Legal Secretary and himself, Mr N Bowerbank.
The name of the premises was discussed. Mr Bowerbank explained his Limited Company name was Midnight Lady Limited, the premises at 105 Epping New Road had been trading as Michelle Fashions, the applicant wished to update the by changing it to Fifty Ways. He also advised that if there was a problem with the name he would reconsider keeping the trading name as Michelle Fashions.
The applicant was asked if he would travel daily to work at the shop. He answered no. The shop was managed by his daughter, she lived locally in Chingford and would be there every day, he advised that he visited the premises weekly. The applicant advised that he could revert the company name back to Michelle Fashions.
The Assistant Director (Legal) highlighted the new standard Licensing conditions for all sex establishments that had been agreed by the Council.
(d) Consideration of the Application by the Sub-Committee
The Sub-Committee retired to consider the application in private session, they
felt that there were no grounds for refusal and that the application should be granted with conditions. They received no advice from officers.
(a) Delete the current Condition 3 and replace by new Condition 3 “The holder of the sex establishment licence may display in the window items of lingerie, clothing and shoes only;”
(b) Delete the current Condition 7, and replace by new Condition 7 “The layout of the premises shall be as shown on the diagram submitted by Mr Bowerbank and only items of lingerie, clothes and shoes may be displayed in the part of the premises labelled “FIRST AREA” on the diagram and a screen or suitable curtain will be fitted between the areas labelled “FIRST AREA” and “SECOND AREA” on the diagram; and
(c) The name of the premises may only be changed with the written consent of the Senior Licensing Officer.