To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory
The report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory presented an application to vary a premises licence held by Old Halfway House, 452 Leeds Road, Lofthouse, Wakefield, WF3 3AB to specify an individual as Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).
The Legal Officer explained the procedure to be followed and the Principal Licensing Officer presented the application.
An application had been made to vary the Premises Licence to specify Tracy O’Boyle as the designated premises supervisor at the Old Halfway House. A representation had been made by West Yorkshire Police in objection to the application.
The following were in attendance:
PC Andy Clifford – West Yorkshire Police
PC Cath Arkle – West Yorkshire Police
Tracy O’Boyle – Proposes DPS
Aaron Konyk – Trust Inns
Simon Weatherill – Yorkshire Leisure Inns
PC Clifford addressed the Committee. He informed them that the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) was in a position of trust to promote the licensing objectives and was expected to report any incidents of crime to the Police so that they could be appropriately supported.
Reference was made to an incident at the previous premises which the proposed DPS was employed at (The Duncan) when her partner was the DPS. He had been given the benefit of the doubt on occasions when incidents had been reported but the final incident which occurred when the premises were supposed to be closed due to lockdown restrictions was of particular concern as the CCTV from the premises at the time of the incident had been wiped. CCTV was integral to uphold the objective of preventing crime and disorder and for this not to be available in such a manner could not be tolerated.
The sub-committee was informed of concerns regarding the operation at the Old Halfway House and incidents including fights, drugs and drink driving. The proposed DPS and her partner currently managed the premises together. Reference was made to a report made to the police of a customer who had been drinking in the premises all day who had then driven away despite being clearly inebriated and having difficulty walking.
It was felt that the appointment of the proposed DPS would undermine the licensing objectives.
The applicant was invited to address the sub-committee. She informed them that she had not been the DPS at the previous premises and that the Old Halfway House was a totally different kind of venue and would hold functions and was more of a family style pub. CCTV was always available and could be remotely accessed. She was unaware of any reports of a customer drink driving after leaving the premises.
Mr Weatherill of Yorkshire Leisure Inns addressed the sub-committee. He was aware of the issues with the applicant’s partner as DPS at the former premises they managed and this is why there had been a proposed change. The Old Halfway House had started to employ door staff on a weekend and also had a fully accessible CCTV system which had no access for management of the premises to delete the footage. The applicant was not implicated in any of the previous actions and seemed that this objection was only by association.
In response to questions from the sub-committee Mr Konyk reported that the only issue he had been made aware of at the Old Halfway House was an incident of drug dealing in the car park and in response to this, additional CCTV coverage was being considered. He was also unaware of any concerns regarding customers drink driving and would normally deal with licensing issues and the police directly. The premises had recently been refurbished, would be providing food and there had been improvements to the children’s play area. There had not been any issues with Tracy’s management of the premises, monthly licensing reviews were carried out and there had been no issues of concern.
Mr Weatherill further added that since Tracy had been at the Halfway House there had been incidents involving fight which is why door staff were now employed. There was no evidence of drug taking in the premises and in response to issues in the car park there had been new barriers installed along with additional lighting.
The sub-committee had a brief adjournment to allow the applicant to read the objection that had been submitted. Following the adjournment more questions were asked of the objectors and applicant. Issues discussed included the following:
· The applicant was present at the previous premises she worked at with her partner when the incident happened during the lockdown period. She reported that only other people present at the premises were family and friends that were helping to decorate and that the only alcohol consumed was personally bought in as the brewery had taken all other alcohol away.
· The Old Halfway House was under different ownership to The Duncan.
· The applicant reiterated that she was not the DPS at The Duncan and was not involved in any CCTV evidence being deleted. She acknowledged that deletion of CCTV was a wrong thing to do and would not let that happen as DPS.
· PC Arkle informed the meeting of the events that happened at The Duncan during the lockdown period. When the police attended people had been observed hiding and verbal warnings had been issued to six people. There was over twenty used pints glasses on the premises. PC Arkle had worked with the applicant and her partner during their tenure at The Duncan and acknowledged that they had done a good job of running a difficult pub but there had been mistakes and the deletion of the CCTV was the final straw and brought about a lack of trust. There had been some decorating work taking place but it appeared to have turned into a party.
· The applicant had been involved in managing pubs since 1992.
· The absence of the CCTV had initially been claimed due to the system being switched off whilst decorating. The hard drive had been seized and the deleted data had been recovered.
· The applicant’s partner would be employed at the Halfway House doing bar work and kitchen work but not involved in the management of the premises. They would also be living at the premises.
· Mr Weatherill was currently the DPS at the Halfway House and was in attendance most days. The application had been made for Tracy to be the DPS as she was on site at all times and able to respond to day to day situations.
In summary, PC Clifford expressed concerns to how the premises was being managed and used the example of an intoxicated customer being served with alcohol before driving. There had also been fights at the premises and these had not been reported to the police and it was felt that the applicant was reticent to call the police. It was requested that the license be refused.
The Chair concluded the open session of the hearing before the Sub-Committee went in to private session to make their decision. All parties were informed that the decision would be sent within 5 working days.
The Licensing Sub-Committee carefully considered the report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory, the Statement of Licensing Policy and the representations submitted and made at the hearing.
RESOLVED – That the application be refused.