Agenda item

Application for the Grant of a Premises Licence for Neils Superstore, 11 Reginald Row, Potternewton, Leeds, LS7 3HP

To receive and consider the report of the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory regarding an application for the grant of a premises licence made by Mr Malkit Singh, for Neils Superstore, 9 - 11 Reginald Row, Potternewton, Leeds, LS7 3HP.


The Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory submitted a report for Members consideration on an application for the grant of a premises licence made by Mr Malkit Singh, for Neils Superstore, 9 - 11 Reginald Row, Potternewton, Leeds, LS7 3HP.


Attending the meeting were:

  • Duncan Craig, Barrister, St. Philips Chambers – Applicant’s Representative
  • Malkit Singh – Applicant and Proposed Designated Premises Supervisor
  • PC Neil Haywood, West Yorkshire Police (WYP) – Objector


The Legal officer explained the procedure for the hearing. The Applicant’s Representative tabled an additional document containing details of email correspondence sent to WYP on the 25th of January 2023. PC N Haywood, as the other present party, noted he had not seen this document but agreed for its contents to be discussed.


The Licensing Officer presented the application informing Members of the following points:

  • The application was for the grant of a premises licence made by Mr Malkit Singh, for Neils Superstore, 9 - 11 Reginald Row, Potternewton, Leeds, LS7 3HP.
  • The premises was to trade as an off licence and had previously benefited from a premises licence which was revoked by the Licensing Sub Committee in August 2020 following a review sought by WYP.
  • In summary the application was for: The sale by retail of alcohol (for consumption off the premises) Monday to Sunday 09:00 – 22:00. It was noted that the hours applied for were less than those authorised by the revoked licence and the Licensing Officer highlighted an error in the report in respect of the hours proposed.
  • A history of the premises was available from point 2 of the report, detailing the review of the previous licence, submitted by WYP, with the Licensing Sub Committee resolving to revoke the licence on the 19 August 2020.
  • A copy of the application form was available at appendix A of the report and proposed conditions were available at appendix B.
  • The representation in objection to the application by WYP was available at appendix D, 15 comments in support of the application had been received, with redacted copies available at appendix E. A list of licenced premises within the locality was detailed at appendix F.
  • The applicant team had submitted a supplementary document containing the personal licence obtained by the applicant and WYP had provided bodycam footage which was exempt from press and public viewership.


The applicant’s representatives provided the Sub-Committee with the following information:

  • The Legal Representative had been appointed after the unsuccessful appeal of the revoked licence and had liaised with the previous representative and the applicant. The licence had been revoked nearly 4 years prior and WYP had been contacted regarding the application on the 25th of January 2023; WYP had responded saying they were to object.
  • The incident which led to the revocation was outlined as a youths going into the premises and using a stolen bank card and smartphone to make purchases. The majority of the sales were conducted by the applicant’s son, who was noted to be less experienced and then around 4 sales were done by the applicant who then became suspicious and refused further service. The applicant outlined that suspicions should have been raised earlier and it was naïve of him to not act sooner.
  • CCTV was provided to WYP and when Police Officers had visited the store prior to the expiration of the 21 day period to submit an appeal, the applicant had already removed alcohol products from the shop and then instructed a solicitor.
  • The applicant had been dismayed during the WYP visit given the circumstances and the revocation of the licence but in the 32 years of operation, the applicant had always been cooperative with WYP and had assisted in previous investigations within the locality.
  • The applicant was in attendance to answer questions and provide clarity on issues for Members. He had not been interviewed under caution and was not under any prosecution or any criminal charges following the incident.
  • As the incident leading to revocation had been 4 years ago, it was thought to be reasonable, fair and proportionate to reapply for a licence with the applicant acknowledging his mistake and subsequently learning and establishing better practises.
  • The passage of time and sufficient remorse, alongside the context of the premises being operated by the applicant for 32 years with no further reviews or issues noted over this time, outlined it was an appropriate time to reapply and the revocation did not need to be a permanent measure.
  • The support comments were significant, speaking of the applicant in a high manner, with some being handwritten and not being part of a wider petition. Representations noted the shop as a community asset and outlined the applicant to be well regarded; local residents sought to see the licence reinstated for their convenience with the premises being in a prime location and not many other similar shopping options nearby.
  • The applicant also ran a Best One store at King Lane in Moortown, which possessed an alcohol licence, displaying his ability to be fit and proper in operating a licenced premises responsibly.
  • It was outlined that Members were to determine the application against a balance of the seriousness of the incident leading to the previous licence revocation and the acknowledgment that the premises was well run prior to the incident and the applicant’s commitment to better practices going forward. The appeal had been lost a number of years ago, but it was believed that the position held could not be the same alongside the context of positive comments submitted by local residents.
  • Supporting evidence for approval was noted as, the applicant obtaining a personal licence since the revocation, had previously held a licence for the premises for a significant time and was refreshed on the understanding of his responsibilities, including challenge 25. When the Licensing Act 2003 superseded the 1964 act, licence holders were not required to possess the personal licence qualification; this outlined the applicant’s commitment to good practice, in line with the licensing objectives.
  • Licences were outlined to be a privilege and determination was based on a balance of potential nuisance and legitimate business interests. This premises was noted to be a positive contribution to the community, which was supported by representations and the applicant’s help within the community including delivering groceries to people in need or less able to travel.
  • The shop had historically been run responsibly with the applicant living within the locality and was well thought of within the community.
  • Although WYP were thought of as experts in relation to crime and disorder measures, the 15 support comments from people who use the shop and understand community needs were not vetoed by the WYP objection.


Responding to questions from Members the Sub-Committee were informed of the following by the applicant team:

  • In response to a query relating to the multiple transactions made using the stolen bank card and smartphone, the applicant outlined that he had been off work for 3 months for a medical operation and his son had been covering work at the premises, who was largely unexperienced running licensed premises. The majority of the transactions had been through his son and when the applicant attended the shop, he raised suspicions after the fourth purchase.
  • The applicant’s son did not communicate about the previous transactions until days after the incident and also when the applicant questioned the youths on the fourth purchase they had said one of their fathers had given permission to use the phone to make purchases on their birthday and had showed a picture of who the applicant believed to be one of the youth fathers from the stolen smart phone.
  • As a point of clarity, the Legal Officer noted that for the original report for the review hearing, there had been 29 transactions at the premises using the stolen card and phone, the robbery and incident at the premises had taken place on the 31st of January 2020, the application for review had been submitted by WYP on the 24th of March 2020 and the hearing which led to the revocation was held on the 19th of August 2020.
  • As one of the support comments seemed unclear on the reasons for the licence being revoked and alluded to different circumstances than that of the review, Members queried whether supporters of the new application were aware of the whole situation. In response the applicant outlined that the community where aware of the incident, which had been explained to some customers and that anyone associated to the robbery had been banned from the premises. 
  • The applicant had not contacted WYP after the incident as he believed the phone to be property of the individual’s father but was not sure whether permission to use it had been granted.
  • It was outlined that the applicant usually works at Neils Superstore during the daytime and then his son and sister usually cover the evening shift, with the applicant then working the evening shift at the other premises in his ownership, Best One on King Lane.
  • On the day of the incident the applicant had arrived at the shop at approximately 7:30pm and his son had covered the afternoon to evening shift.
  • The applicant acknowledged there had been multiple mistakes in operations on the day of the incident and had learnt from them.
  • The blue notice displayed at the premises was seeking support for the grant of a new licence and had not gone into detail regarding the revocation of the previous licence. This had led to conversations with customers regarding the incident, but most local residents knew of the situation, and the applicant had not tried to influence the representations people submitted to Entertainment Licensing.
  • As the applicant had been operating licensed premises for a significant number of years and regulations changing over this time, the personal licence course, along with lessons learnt from the incident, he was well versed in processes and procedures and had put up new signage including a notice covering the four licensing objectives and a challenge 25 notice.
  • The premises had employed a process of questioning customers after further purchases were attempted to be made after two recent transactions and although the licence had been revoked, responsible sale of cigarettes, vapes, scratch cards, lottery and gas canisters had been conducted and he had been more proactive with checking ID.
  • The applicant believed the individuals had used ginnels to get to the premises and that is why they had not stopped at other shops having not travelled directly down Chapeltown Road.
  • It was outlined that the applicant’s son was 24 years old and was 20 years old at the time of the incident. It had not been ideal to have his son running the shop as proper training on licensing objectives had not been conducted. They were both now better trained, and the son was also to acquire a personal licence qualification.


The objector from WYP addressed the Sub-Committee providing the Members with the following information:

  • Although 4 years had passed since the incident, WYP were objecting as the robbery had caused significant public harm and security issues and the investigation was still ongoing.
  • An overview of the robbery was explained as, in January 2020 8 masked men had approached a husband and wife in a graveyard where they were separated from each other, the husband was struck with a wooden object and had a sharp object held to him. They were both robbed of smartphones and bank cards then threatened to provide access codes and pins. From 6:55pm to 7:55pm the robbers had used the stolen items to make over 29 purchases totalling £698.78.
  • The fact that the individuals returned to the shop on multiple occasions purchasing high cost items such as vodka, brandy and cigarettes over the course of an hour, it should have raised concerns much earlier and CCTV had identified one of the individuals who was 17 years old, the other man who had not been identified also looked young yet neither were requested to present ID at any stage.
  • The purchases at the premises had been made 20 minutes after the robbery with 37 other licensed premises in the area, many of which were closer to the scene of the crime, it was suggested that the premises may be known to be easy to make purchases without being questioned. For this type of offence, it was noted that time is of the essence before bank cards were cancelled.
  • WYP had applied for the review hearing where it was suggested that the applicant may be aware of the identity of the robbers, however, had not been forthcoming after the revocation.
  • The victims of the robbery had attended the review hearing in support of revocation, and it was noted that as no charges, arrests or prosecutions had taken place for any of the robbers, it was an injustice against the victims.
  • It was suggested that the irresponsible actions of the applicant led to suspicions of culpability in the crime given the vast number of sales of alcohol and cigarettes to underage people via illegal transactions. 


Responding to questions from Members the following information was provided by the objectors:

  • Members suggested the robbers may have used the premises instead of others closer to the scene of the crime as it was nearby their homes. In response it was noted that WYP suspected the premises was used as it was unlikely 29 transactions of this nature would go unquestioned at an alternative shop.
  • At the other premises in the applicant’s ownership there had been two warnings submitted by WYP for allegations of serving customers who were clearly intoxicated, one in 2019 and another following a complaint in February 2021.
  • A specific appropriate timeframe for the applicant applying for a new licence was unable to be confirmed as after the revocation the applicant was noted to have not engaged with responsible authorities and it was thought that not enough time had elapsed to provide proof of improved operations.


In summing up the applicant’s representative outlined the following:

  • The suggestion the premises was a fencing operation by WYP was thought to be obtuse on balance with the one incident against the 32 years of operations and the applicant had accepted that mistakes were made.
  • There had been no evidence provided for the allegation that one of the individuals served alcohol and cigarettes during the incident was 17 years old.
  • The main issues for Members in determining the application was whether the applicant was fit and proper for a licence to be reinstated and given the significant time frame since the incident and the improved, structured operating schedule it was thought to be sufficient for a grant. The incident was one error in a long history of the premises being a community asset.


Following deliberations, the Sub-Committee posed further questions to the applicant team and objector:

  • As the review hearing had taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic it had been conducted via Zoom and a recording of the webcast was available online.
  • The previous stance of the applicant assisting with WYP queries, that had been outlined in the review hearing, was discussed.
  • The applicant and his representative outlined that he understood his role in relation to public duty and would cooperate with future WYP investigations.


RESOLVED – To grant the application, subject to the additional conditions;

  1. A duly authorised officer of the City Council, a Police Officer or a duly authorised officer of the Fire & Civil Defence authority shall, at all times, have the right of access to the premises for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the conditions of the licence.
  2. There shall be a register for the recording of all alcohol sale refusals, including attempted under-age sales, proxy sales and refusals to those who appear intoxicated. Details to be recorded shall include the date, time, name if known, physical description of the person, the reasons, and staff involved and whether CCTV of the incident is available.  Any identification document coming into the possession of a member of staff including security staff shall be recorded in the register, including the name of the person/name on the identification document. The register shall be available for immediate inspection by any authorised officer of the responsible authorities and shall be securely retained by the licence holder for a for a period of 12 months from the date of the last entry. The licence holder shall provide secure storage for identification documents and a system for safe disposal, which may include returning to the originating organisation, e.g. DVLA/HM passport office.  The records shall be available for inspection by any authorised officer of the responsible authorities and shall be securely retained by the licence holder for a period of 12 months after the last entry. 
  3. Incident and accident records shall be kept in a bound register with consecutively numbered pages.
  4. A ‘Check 25’ scheme shall be used to prevent the sale of alcohol to people under 18 years of age.  All staff deployed in the sale of alcohol shall be trained on the correct procedures for age verification, the prevention of proxy sales, the prevention of sales to those who appear intoxicated and for dealing with false and any surrendered identification documents.
  5. Staff training shall take place on the Licensing Act and Licensing objectives upon commencement of employment and every six months thereafter, a written record of this training is to be maintained and made available to the police and any authorised officer of the Council for inspection on request.
  6. The Designated Premises Supervisor/personal licence holder will be available/contactable at all times that alcohol is on sale.
  7. A suitable closed-circuit television (CCTV) system shall be in operation whilst members of the public are in attendance. The CCTV system shall record images to cover all areas of the licensed site to which the public have access (save for toilets/showers/changing areas). The CCTV system shall record images to cover external areas used by customers. At least one member of staff shall be on duty at the premises who can operate the system and download recorded images. These images will be downloaded and provided immediately, or where this is not possible as soon as practicable, on request to an officer of a Responsible Authority. The CCTV system shall be capable of retaining images for a minimum of 31 days, will be of good quality and will contain the correct time and date stamp information. The CCTV system and images will be kept in a secure environment to which members of the public will not be permitted access.
  8. The display of alcohol shall be in a designated area of the premises which is capable of being supervised from the counter area.  The display of spirits shall be in an area accessible only by staff.
  9. There shall be no sale of beer, cider, lager and perry of 6.5% alcohol by volume or above.
  10.  Alcohol shall not be displayed next to the public entrance/exit of the premises.
  11. The name of the premises shall not contain reference to alcohol.
  12. There shall be no internal window displays 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.
  13. Customers shall be discouraged from drinking alcohol outside the premises.
  14. The premises licence holder shall hold a current Fire Risk Assessment which shall be available for inspection by any authorised officer.
  15. The licence holder/designated premises supervisor shall provide litter patrols and litter generated by customers shall be cleared away regularly.
  16. This premises licence will not authorise a telephone/on-line alcohol collection service nor a telephone/on-line alcohol delivery service from these premises
  17. No deliveries to the premises shall take place between 23:00 and 07:00 hours.


Supporting documents: