Agenda item

Application for the grant of a premises licence for Lietuvaite Shop Ltd, 15 Branch Road, Armley, Leeds, LS12 3AQ

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory for an application for the grant of a premises licence made by Lietuvaite Shop Ltd, for Lietuvaite Shop Ltd 15 Branch Road, Armley, Leeds, LS12 3AQ.


Prior to the start of the meeting the Licensing Sub Committee had considered a request from West Yorkshire Police to hear the application for Lietuvaite Shop Ltd first, as three police officers were attending who were on duty. The Licensing Sub Committee agreed that this item should go first to allow the officers to continue their duties.


The report of the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory presented an application for the grant of a premises licence for Lietuvaite Shop Ltd, 15 Branch Road, Armley, Leeds, LS12 3AQ.


In attendance at the meeting were:

·  Ruslanas Zirnikas – Applicant

·  Dave Parker – West Yorkshire Police

·  PS Craven – West Yorkshire Police

·  PCSO Counsell – West Yorkshire Police

·  PCSO Indiks-Clay – West Yorkshire Police

·  Jonathan Hindley – Public Health

·  Sue Duckworth – Licensing Authority

·  David Spereall - Journalist


The Legal Officer outlined the procedure for the hearing.


Mr Zirnikas requested that a copy of the location map be tabled for information. He had updated the map indicating those premises which he thought were no longer trading. The sub-committee granted this information be tabled.


The Licensing Officer presented the application informing the Sub Committee of the following points:

·  The applicant had applied for the sale by retail of alcohol, everyday 10:00am until 20:00 for consumption off the premises.

·  These premises are located within an area covered by a cumulative impact policy.

·  It was noted that the applicant had applied for a licence for this premises in 2021 which had attracted representations, as a consequence the application was heard at a licensing sub-committee on 20th May 2021, where Members made the decision to refuse the application. This was detailed at Point 2 of the submitted report.

·  The Application was attached to the submitted report at Appendix A. It was noted that the applicant proposed to promote the licensing objectives by taking steps identified in Section 18 of the application form.

·  A map identifying the location of the premises was attached at Appendix B.

·  Representations had been received from West Yorkshire Police in their capacity as a responsible authority and was appended to the report at Appendix C.

·  The Licensing Authority had also received a representation from Public Health Localities and Primary Care Team which was attached at Appendix D.

·  Representation had also been received from the Licensing Authority in their capacity as a responsible authority which was attached at Appendix E.

·  Two letters of objection had been received one from a Member of Parliament and the other on behalf of the three Local Ward Councillors. These letters were attached to the submitted report at Appendix F.

·  Members were advised that the premises are located within the cumulative impact area of Armley. Details of the cumulative impact policy specific to Armley and an outline of the evidence behind the reason for setting this policy was attached at Appendix G of the submitted report.


Mr Zirnikas presented his case to the sub-committee informing them of the following:

·  He has been trading at the premises for eight months with no profit. His wife works in the shop during the day and was unable to take a wage. He himself has another job and takes over from her to work until the shop closes. He also works Saturday and Sunday in the shop when his wife does not work.

·  He was of the view that the way to make the shop more profitable was to sell lager for relaxing and this could be picked up by customers when they collect their groceries.


Responding to questions from the sub-committee, Mr Zirnikas provided the following information:

·  He explained the difference in this application to the previous one was that he would not be selling cheap or strong lagers or ciders. He would only be selling cans in multiples of 4, no single cans. He would not be selling to street drinkers only those who were buying groceries.

·  In relation to the updated copy of the location map he pointed out premises who have a licence but are no longer trading. He said at least 5 shops had stopped trading. He said that all the shops on Armley Town Street opened till late.


West Yorkshire Police presented their objections providing the following information:

·  As far as the police were aware all the premises identified on the location map still had a licence even those which now appeared to be closed.

·  Full details of the Armley Cumulative Impact Assessment are within the current 2019-2023 Statement of Licensing Policy of Leeds City Council, from paragraphs 7.24 to 7.26. Armley was identified as an area suffering from anti-social behaviour displayed by groups of men standing and drinking in the street. It was noted that Armley is unusual in the fact that most of the anti-social behaviour is during the day rather than night-time.

·  It was noted that this application offers an array of conditions including CCTV which are the same as other licensed premises in the area, but these measures would not prevent the issues already seen in Armley.

·  Attention was drawn to Paragraphs 7.24, 7.25, 7.26 of the Statement of Licensing Policy, specifically in relation to Armley. In relation to Paragraphs 7.33 and 7.34 of the policy it was noted that the applicant had not demonstrated how he would stop the issues arising in Armley.


Statements had been made and provided to the sub-committee from police officers who worked in Armley on a daily basis. There were present at the meeting and provided the following information for consideration:

·  There shift is usually 7:00am until midnight. However, due to street drinkers starting as early as 6:00am they had changed their shift patterns to address this starting at 6:00am.

·  They spoke of males and females drinking from early in the morning and being passing out through drink as early as 8:00am. They spoke of drinkers fighting, swearing, shouting and urinating on Armley Town Street. This could be seen by children walking to and from school and people using the shops in the centre. It was noted that littering is an issue on Town Street most of which is empty high strength lager cans.

·  The sub-committee heard that even if cans are not sold as singles, the street drinkers will steal to get what they want. Shops with a licence had been provided with photographs of street drinkers not to sell to, however, the street drinkers get others to buy the alcohol for them.

·  The police work with other agencies in Armley such as GP’s and outreach workers and have ‘Shop Watch’ in place on Town Street.

·  There had been a slight reduction of street drinking during the pandemic, although this was now increasing again with many people coming to Armley from outside the area which is making the issue worse.

·  People shopping in the area are afraid of being assaulted and theft, and those who work in the shops are afraid when opening or closing premises.


The sub-committee were advised that a ‘Closure Order’ had been granted for Armley. It was explained how a Closure Order worked however this had now stooped due to the three-month time limit.


Public Health had submitted a representation following visits to the area with other third sector colleagues to talk to residents about a number of issues including covid vaccinations and wellbeing. Whilst they had been talking to residents, they had received comments from residents that they felt unsafe on Branch Road and Armley Town Street occasionally during the day and after 7pm at night. They complained of aggressive begging and inebriated men standing on the street swearing and making them feel intimidated. Following on from this work more outreach work was undertaken in the Armley area. The comments from residents continue to show that street drinkers are still an issue. There is also a concern that the number of street drinkers and residents suffering from alcohol addition normalises the situation for children and as they grow older sets a benchmark of what is normal in their area. Evidence such as an environment can have a strong influence on children and Armley is a deprived neighbourhood.


Responding to a question Mr Hindley said that pre covid and post covid, people have come to Armley to buy cheap alcohol. However, there are a number of residents in the area who are drink dependant, some do have families and outreach work is ongoing in this area. 


The officer from the Licensing Authority informed the sub-committee of the following points:

·  The five premises identified by Mr Zirnikas were mostly licensed for late night refreshment. Eastern European Foods had not surrendered their premises licence, even though they may not be using it.

·  The only conditions offered by Mr Zirnikas had been the sale of lager in packs of 4 only no single can sales, no cheap alcohol and any high strength alcohol to be stored in an area only accessed by staff.

·  This postcode is ranked as just below the city centre for cumulative impact area, with alcohol treatment ranked the highest in Leeds. It was also noted that Armley has the second highest rate of anti-social behaviour in the city.

·  It was noted that in 2012 a number of shops in the area had volunteered to stop selling super strength lagers. However, given the issues raised today there has been a reluctance to change the way outlets operate.

·  A number of operations have been conducted in Armley along with Trading Standards Officers in relation to illicit tobacco and alcohol.


Mr Zirnikas in summing up responded to issues raised saying he would not sell lager higher than 5.4% and cider not higher than 4.5%. He also said that on Town Street people would be able to buy cheaper alcohol than he would selling.


In relation to the licensing objectives, he had requested his licence to sell alcohol from 10:00am. He said that he was willing to only sell alcohol between 10:00am and 3pm, then from 4pm until 8:00pm, so avoiding the times when children would be walking to and from school. He said that staff would be trained not to sell alcohol to people who were already drunk. Mr Zirnikas said that he did not start work until 9:45am and therefore had not seen some of the problems raised but he had seen some problems with street drinkers in the early evening but many.


Member’s discussions included:

·  Additional conditions to limit the strength of lager sold

·  Mr Zirnikas business model, they wondered why he had chosen Armley for his premises.

·  Mr Zirnikas fit into the community of Armley. The community need to feel safe and work together to address issues.

·  Looked at the application in relation to the licensing objectives and were of the view that the application failed on all four objectives


RESOLVED – To refuse the grant of the premises licence.




Supporting documents: