Agenda item

Report to Licensing Sub-Committee - Application for a Premises Licence in respect of, The Chequers Inn, High Street, Farningham, Dartford, DA4 0DT

(Farningham, Horton Kirby & South Darenth)


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.


The Licensing Sub-Committee gave consideration to the report by the Senior Licensing Officer giving details of an application for a new premises licence for The Chequers Inn, High Street, Farningham, under the Licensing Act 2003. She provided a brief overview of the application, explaining that during the consultation period 11 representations had been received from local residents and the Parish Council. Despite the fact that there appeared to have been local agreement with regard to reduced hours and/or activities, as this was not completely clear it had felt more appropriate to present all original representations and the original application to the Licensing Sub Committee for consideration, providing an opportunity for all parties to address the Licensing Sub-Committee regarding the issues.


The Applicant was in attendance with a representative. The Licensing Sub-Committee heard from the Applicant who summarised her application advising that she had 15 years’ experience within the trade and that it was a traditional country pub.  With regards to noise issues, she advised that she followed the conditions attached to the last licence. She kept doors shut and the windows were sealed and she did supervise performers leaving and loading equipment.


There were notices everywhere at exits requesting customers to leave the premises quietly.  There had been no issues with the Police.  She also advised that she would be happy to revert her application request to the previous premises licence hours and conditions issued in 2007, except with the addition of live sports.  She was happy to listen to neighbours and customers for a positive result.  She was always at the premises.  In October 2019 over 100 people had rejected the idea of closing the pub.


The Applicant responded to Members’ questions of clarification.  She advised that speaking with a Licensing Officer at the Council, the presentation of films had seemed a good idea as live bands were expensive and she wanted to offer something a little more for the customer experience.  It had been suggested in these talks that the films could be shown outside.  She further described the size of the garden and gazebo and the possible ways it could be rearranged.  She offered to withdraw her request for showing films and again reiterated she would be happy to revert to the same hours and conditions as the 2007 licence, except for the addition of live sports.


During the questions the Chairman clarified that due to deregulation, plays and live and recorded music could take place inside the premises if finished no later than 23:00hrs.


In response to questions as to whether she had had specific complaints, she advised that she had had discussions with the Parish Council, customers and neighbours.  Parking was an issue but there were other premises in the area and could not be solely attributed to her customers.  Parking was a general issue in the area.  She had asked the other public house whether she could use their car park.  Her phone number was clearly available for anyone to ring.


Residents present at the meeting took the opportunity to ask questions of the Applicant which centred around noise nuisance from volume, the doors being open, anti-social behaviour, parking problems, drug use and the use of the street furniture outside the premises.


In response to those questions the Applicant clarified the current operating times of the 2007 premises licence, and advised that she could start activities such as open mike nights earlier at 19:00hrs.  She did not agree with closing at 23:00hrs every night as she wanted to maintain what was already on offer as a minimum. She believed 9-12 patrons could be accommodated in the back garden.   There was CCTV which was monitored, and the Parish Council had CCTV outside the premises.  As already stated the windows were sealed and the doors were kept shut except for people entering and exiting the premises.


A resident advised that the main issues that needed addressing were the noise and anti-social behaviour at the front of the premises, along with illegal parking.  He would prefer it if the premises shut at 23:00hrs each day.  That all the doors and windows remained shut, stating that very often the doors were propped open, and that the on street furniture at the front should be removed.  In response to a question he advised that he had not officially complained to the Police or Environmental Heath with regards to the anti-social behaviour and noise.  However he had been in contact with Police over an accident, the District Council Civil Enforcement Officers and the bus companies due to their issues with illegal parking and access to the roads.


The legal advisor explained that the premises licence did not cover street furniture and that this was an issue for the Highways Authority and was a separate statutory process.


Another local resident raised concerns about the noise from the beer garden, in response to questions he also confirmed he had not officially complained but said that he would not know who to complain to.


The Chairman advised that for noise nuisance he could complain to the District Council’s Environmental Health team, and the Police or Licensing Authority with regards to anti-social behaviour, or even speak to the premises holder.


Other residents against the application spoke along similar lines of concern with regards to the anti-social behaviour at the front, noise nuisance from volume and open doors, hours, and parking.  Residents felt they could not complain and felt intimidated by those responsible for the anti-social behaviour.


The Applicant took the opportunity to sum up and reiterated her 15 years’ experience and that she wanted local community support.


At 12:10 p.m. the Licensing Sub-Committee Panel Members adjourned to consider the issues raised, accompanied by the Council’s Legal Advisor and Clerk to the Licensing Sub-Committee for the purpose of providing advice only.


At 13.17 p.m. the Licensing Sub-Committee Panel Members, Council’s Legal Advisor and Clerk to the Licensing Sub-Committee reconvened the meeting.


The Chairman clarified with the Senior Licensing Officer the extent of the previous licence for providing late refreshments.


The Chairman advised that the Sub-Committee had had regard to the representations made by the Applicant and interested parties, the Licensing Act 2003, Secretary of State’s Amended Guidance issued under Section 182 of the Act and the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and was granting the application in line with the previous hours and conditions and licensable activities granted under the 2007 premises licence subject to a few changes concerning: hours; the addition of live sports; and additional conditions consistent with those contained in the Applicant’s operating schedule.  He noted that there had been no Police or Environmental Health representations, and the hours of operations afforded under the previous 2007 application had always been there even if not fully operated on. 


The Chairman also advised that much of what was applied for was now possible due to deregulation, and that parking and street furniture issues could be pursued with the relevant authorities but were not licensable activities as part of this premises licence application. 


Resolved: That a Premises Licence in respect of The Chequers Inn, High Street, Farningham, Kent DA4 0DT, subject to the timings, mandatory conditions and additional conditions contained in the notice of determination attached as an appendix to these minutes, be granted.

Supporting documents:


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