To consider the attached report.
The three Councillors that presided over this application were Councillors R Morgan (Chairman), I Hadley and A Lion.
The Chairman welcomed Karen Hetherington, the Applicant and Naveed Syed the Area Manager. Also, in attendance was Ronan McManus, Essex Police Licensing Officer and Victoria Martinez and Judith Walker as objectors. The Chairman introduced the Members and officers present and outlined the procedure that would be followed for the determination of the application.
(a) Application before the Sub-Committee
The Licensing Compliance Officer, H Ibrahim, informed the Sub-Committee that an application had been made by MSAJ Pizza Ltd for a new premises licence at 21 The Broadway, Loughton, IG10 3SP, the application is for a pizza delivery and take-away restaurant. The application was received on the 16th April 2021. The Operating Schedule set out conditions which would be attached to the licence if this application was granted.
The Responsible Authorities had received a copy of the application, it was also advertised at the premises and in a local newspaper. All residences and businesses within 150 metre radius of the premises were individually consulted.
The authority had received a representation from Loughton Town Council, Loughton Residents Association Plans Group and 3 representations from local residents. The objections related to the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. Mr Ronan McManus of Essex Police Licensing Officer had agreed conditions with the applicant. The agreed conditions were for midnight closure Sunday to Thursday (both instore & deliveries) and shop doors closing at midnight, with home deliveries only until 01:00hrs (No customers in store 00:00-0100, telephone & online orders only) Friday and Saturday.
(b) Presentation of the Application
Karen Hetherington noted that they currently traded in the Debden area; they were looking to open an hour earlier, Monday to Thursday and for two hours on Friday to Saturday. They would only deliver to bona fide addresses from 00.00 to 01.00 Friday to Saturday only. They did not expect to have a lot of deliveries in these extra hours and wanted to compete with their local competitors. Mr Naveed Syed added that they had a business of about 14 stores each with their own risk assessment and were mindful that they had to look after their employees and the people around them.
(c) Questions for the Applicant from the Sub-Committee
A member of the Sub-committee noted that deliveries would only be delivered to bona fide addresses, how would this be defined. He was told that that they had a system in place to do this that verified the post code and address.
They then asked about a challenge 25 scheme and was told that they did not sell alcohol.
A Sub-committee member then noted that they said that they would not have a lot of extra deliveries during this extra time. He was told that they did not expect to have a lot more initially but it was just so they kept in line with their competitors. And only to certified addresses not to just anywhere.
A Sub-committee member noted that they had no competitors on Debden Broadway. He was told that they were situated within a mile radius of their shop, so it was considered as the same trade zone.
They were then asked about their competitors trading hours. They were told that the competition were trading until midnight so they would like to go one hour beyond this for Fridays and Saturdays to help with their market share. Hours on Monday to Thursday was to bring them into line with their competitors.
A Sub-committee member noted that Mr McManus (Essex Police Licensing Officer) had renegotiated the opening hours, had this been agreed? He was told that they had been.
(d) Questions for the Applicant from the Objectors
J Walker asked how many of their other stores had residents living above them. She was told that a lot of their stores were on high streets and that a lot of them were open until late.
V Martinez noted that during that extra hour their competitors were not open so they would get their custom. She was told that Debden was not a busy area and they were not expecting a lot of extra deliveries until their business built up.
V Martinez was concerned in the build-up in the volume of traffic in a residential area and was concerned that they would not be able to scrutinise the addresses ordered from. K Hetherington replied that they had a very specialised system to run the checks. It was not in their interests to deliver to a non bona fide address. Because of Covid they were struggling as a business and noted that if this did not work then they could revert back to their normal trading hours.
(e) Presentation from the Objectors
J Walker noted that families with young children lived above the shops there. 1am was too late to close when there would be noise from the motorcycle deliveries. The area was highly residential and in the warm summer months windows would be left open letting in more noise and impact on the residents.
V Martinez stated that she was representing the residents of Landmark House. Her objections were based on noise pollution and the unsociable hours asked for. And, in connection with the other establishments already open in the area they were concerned with creating a precedent for them and for having antisocial behaviour and for disturbances by people trying to get served after midnight. There was also concern about the increase in litter in the area and the increase in drug activity that was already present in the area. She was objecting on all four of the licensing objectives.
(f) Question for the Objector from the Sub Committee
A Sub-committee member clarified with the applicants if they were only asking for an extra hour and was told that the shop would close at midnight and they would do home deliveries on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 1am. The last customer in the shop could place an order at 10minutes before midnight.
(g) Question for the Objector from the Applicants
There were no questions from the applicants.
(h) Closing Statement from the Applicant
K Hetherington added that she did not want to alienate the local residents, as a business they were just trying to compete and did not want to put anyone at risk.
(i) Closing statement from the Objector
V Martinez commented that once the applicants have their licence then they had it forever. We did not need another layer of concern for the residents; this is very bad from our residents’ point of view.
(j) Late Question from a Sub-Committee member to the Applicants
The Sub-committee asked about the delivery vehicles, where would they be parked, would they be managed in such a way as to keep the noise down to a minimum and also what about delivery drivers talking to each other late at night outside. Concerns were also raised about increased litter in the area. They were told that Pizza Boxes were very large, so they tended to be taken home. Also, they had a garage at the back of the premises and also had a car park there which they would use. There would only be one manager and one driver so there would not be too many people at the premises. The Sub-committee member asked if they had motorcycle deliveries by agencies. They were told that they had more car drivers than motorcycle and that they did use agency deliveries, but they used the car park.
The Sub-committee member commented that there was a need to keep an eye on this to minimise any disruption to residents especially after midnight and also on the litter situation. He was told that the shop could address the litter and perhaps do a litter pick in a designated area.
(k) Consideration of the Application by the Sub-Committee
The Chairman advised that the Sub-Committee would go into private deliberations to consider the application.
During their deliberations the Sub-Committee received no further advice from the Legal Officer present. The Sub-Committee considered what was appropriate to promote the four licensing objectives and the relevant parts of the Council’s Licensing Policy and the Home Office’s guidance.
The Sub-committee considered that the application satisfied the necessary requirements in order to be considered as it is on the prescribed form, it has been advertised and relevant notifications given.
The Sub-committee had taken into account the representations, the four licensing objectives and the Council’s Licensing Policy.
The decision of the Sub-committee was that the application for a premises licence in respect of: PIZZA HUT Delivery, 21 The Broadway, Loughton Essex IG10 3SP, be granted subject to the following conditions which were considered to be reasonable and proportionate for the promotion of the licensing objectives:
1. The conditions consistent with the Operating Schedule as modified by the conditions which have previously been agreed between the applicant and R McManus, County Licensing Officer.
2. All doors to close at Midnight from Monday to Sunday with delivery orders only taken via phone or internet until 1pm on Friday and Saturday only.
3. The mandatory conditions contained in Sections 19 -21 of the Licensing Act 2003.
The applicants and the objectors were reminded of their right of appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of date of the written notification of this decision.