Agenda item

Review of the Premises Licence for Baba Jaga 2, 12 - 14 Strathmore Drive, Harehills, Leeds, LS9 6AB

To consider the report of the Chief officer, Elections and Regulatory advising that West Yorkshire Police has served on the Licensing Authority an application under Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003 for a Review of a Premises Licence in respect of Baba Jaga 2, 12 - 14 Strathmore Drive, Harehills, Leeds, LS9 6AB.



The report of the Chief Officer (Elections and Regulatory) informed the Sub-Committee that West Yorkshire Police has served on the Licensing Authority an application under Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003 for a review of a premises licence in respect of Baba Jaga 2, 12-14 Strathmore Drive, Harehills, Leeds, LS9 8AB.


The grounds for review relate to the seizure of illicit tobacco, non-duty paid alcohol, illegal vapes and two failed test purchases, where the premises sold alcohol to persons under the age of 18 years old.


Recent applications have been made to transfer the premises licence, to specify a new individual as designated premises supervisor (DPS) and to apply additional conditions to the licence.


The following were in attendance for this item:

·  Carmel Brennand, Entertainment Licensing – in support of the application

·  Chetna Patel, Public Health – in support of the application

·  Patrick Robson, John Gaunts & Partners – Licence Holder’s Representative

·  Nabaz Ibrahim Karim – Licence Holder


It was confirmed that the applicant, West Yorkshire Police, were not attending the hearing and it was explained in an email that they were content for the hearing to be ‘dispensed’ with. Further to this, the representative from Entertainment Licensing confirmed that further to the decision to grant the applications to transfer the licence and to specify a new DPS, Ms Brennand withdrew her representation.


The representative from Public Health confirmed she would like the hearing to proceed, and her representation remains outstanding. On that basis, the Sub-Committee Members agreed to proceed with the hearing.


The Legal Adviser outlined the procedure for the hearing and the Licensing Officer provided an overview of the application. The following was confirmed:

·  At the time of the offences the director of the company that held the licence and the DPS was Omar Rashka. More robust conditions have been agreed in that Mr Rashka will be excluded from holding the licence, acting as DPS, and being involved in day-to-day running of the business. The minor variation application adding further conditions was granted as applied for on 25th November 2023.

·  Representations remain outstanding from Public Health and the local ward councillors.

·  Supplementary information has been circulated and published on the Council’s website in the form of additional information provided by the licence holder and a copy of the decision notice following the successful applications to transfer the licence and to specify a new individual as DPS.


Ms Patel informed the Sub-Committee and provided the following information:

·  Public Health object on all grounds of the licensing objectives. The premises sold a number of non-duty paid goods and illicit tobacco to underage children, and failed test purchasing. This does not promote the licensing objectives.

·  There is a high number of off-licences in the Harehills area currently and the area has a high alcohol risk rating.

·  There is a high number of children in the Harehills area.

·  The premises is near a number of children’s school and centres. GIPSIL is also located nearby who work with a number of vulnerable children. It is considered that vulnerable children are those most likely to use alcohol and other substances to cope with what is going on in their life.

·  Children and young people are impacted the most by off-licences and typically witness street drinkers, and the behaviours of those consuming alcohol. Children will grow up to believe this is a normal behaviour.

·  There is a high number of children in the Harehills area not achieving education, particularly in Maths and English.

·  Information in the submitted agenda pack, includes information from West Yorkshire Police and Trading Standards regarding complaints received regarding tobacco and vape visits. Vapes are being sold illegally, which the premises has done.

·  The NHS are already struggling with winter pressures and the call-outs for alcohol related incidents will add to the existing pressures they’re facing.

·  Sales of illicit alcohol and tobacco add to the existing issues that Harehills faces and there is already a high number of anti-social behaviour related issues in the area. Local residents are currently facing a number of issues relating to littering, noise nuisance and environmental concerns.

·  Public Health are involved with the Harehills Community Partnership in liaison with the police and other organisations, where the initiative is to help support the police, elected members and ensuring that Harehills is a better place to live and grow. It is considered that Baba Jaga undermines this.

·  Public Health spoke with a GP in the local area and he raised concerns of underage children drinking and the health implications associated with children in the area. It is believed that the consumption of alcohol early on, leads to dependency later on in life.


Ms Brennand acknowledged her withdrawal of her representation but proceeded to ask for more stringent measures and conditions to be attached to the Premises Licence.


The applicant’s representative informed the Sub-Committee and provided the following information:

·  The review applicant has not attended the meeting.

·  Mr Karim is an experienced businessman and was an employee and manager in London from 2010-2014. Mr Karim took on the opportunity to lease the premises as it meant he was situated closer to his family.

·  The submitted agenda pack includes a letter from his previous employer which states Mr Karim is a diligent employee.

·  An email from Northamptonshire police states that there is no known criminal activity associated with Mr Karim.

·  Mr Karim took on the lease of the premises not knowing to its full extent the issues associated with the premises. Such issues were downplayed when the premises was sold.

·  The premises is to be mainly a grocery store, with a part of it being for tobacco and alcohol.

·  The bank has confirmed that Mr Karim is to be the sole person on the business account and shareholder for the licence.

·  The closure notice submitted by Leeds City Council went through a series of adjournments before finally being withdrawn. No further issues were presented after the transfer of the licence or the change of DPS. During the time of the closure notice being served, and the adjournments, Mr Karim took it upon himself to not sell alcohol during this time.

·  There were no previous conditions regarding CCTV and alcohol challenge polices. Further to this, Mr Karim applied for a minor variation application to tighten up conditions and impose new ones. This was successfully granted.

·  Staff have been put through robust training.

·  Representations have not been submitted by Leeds City Council’s Trading Standards team or anti-social behaviour team.

·  Mr Karim has an unblemished record and there is no evidence to state Mr Karim has been involved in any criminal activities.

·  The issues associated with the premises were connected with the previous DPS and not Mr Karim.

·  The CIA is considered a general concern, but it is not a consideration for an existing licence subject to review proceedings.

·  Mr Karim has had no issues since he has been in charge of the premises. Robust conditions have been implemented as well as robust staff training. The conditions put forward were to ensure the historic issues associated with the premises were dealt with.


Further to questions from Sub-Committee Members, the following was confirmed:

·  The previous DPS does not receive any financial benefit from the operation of the business. Mr Rashka was a lease holder, and that lease has since seized.

·  Mr Karim is not from the local area and unaware of why the premises has changed business names a number of times.

·  Mr Karim is happy to consider the removal of imagery from the frontage of the premises in relation to alcohol pictures and references.

·  There were no issues with Mr Karim’s previous businesses.

·  Mr Karim has no business involvement with Baba Jaga 2.

·  Mr Karim was not aware of the issues associated with Baba Jaga 2 when he took over the lease. Mr Rashka explained there were small issues with the police and Mr Karim would not have taken over the premises if he knew how serious the issues were.

·  Mr Karim is not related to Mr Rashka, nor are they friends or associates. Mr Karim purchased a car from him in October 2023 and he was made aware at that point the sale of the lease of the premises.

·  Connections between Mr Rashka and the landlord are not known, but it is believed they were landlord / leaseholder relationships.


In summarising, Ms Patel explained that the Cumulative Impact Area Policy is not a catch-all system to stop new licences but provides the local authority with the responsibility to help stop certain types of licences being granted. Ms Patel highlighted the importance of complying with any conditions that may be imposed, to protect children from harm.


In summarising, the applicant’s representative explained that the new licence holder is a responsible businessman, and he has run previous businesses with no issues. There is no evidence of Mr Karim being involved in any criminal activities. Previous issues that were attached to the premises have since been remedied. It was also acknowledged that the review applicant is not in attendance and has not provided any further information or evidence. It is therefore considered that no further conditions are required, and the licence holder is content to prohibit images of alcohol on the frontage of the premises.


At this point in the meeting, the Sub-Committee went into private session to deliberate on the application. Upon returning, it was

RESOLVED – To modify the conditions of the licence as follows:

·  After condition 17, insert: in that Mr Rashka will not receive any financial gain or otherwise in the operation of the business; and

·  To add the following new conditions to the licence as follows:

·  The name of the premises shall not contain any reference to alcohol.

·  There will be no internal or external window displays, posters, advertisements or other imagery depicting or referring to alcohol and neither shall any such displays, posters, advertisements, or other imagery be placed on the shop frontage or in front of the premises.


Supporting documents: