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Agenda item

Application to Vary a Premises Licence - The Pickled Parson, 1-2 The Square, Sedgefield


Councillors D Bell, J Blakey and J Maitland


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Licensing Officer regarding an application to vary a premises licence in respect of The Pickled Parson, 1-2 The Square, Sedgefield (for copy see file of Minutes).


A copy of the application and supporting information had been circulated to Members.


The Senior Licensing Officer advised Members that the application was to extend the current hours for the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late-night refreshment to 12.00 Midnight and to amend the premises plan due to internal layout changes.


Representations had been received from fourteen people during the consultation period, one in support of the application and the remainder from other persons objecting to the application. One of the objectors had withdrawn their objection after receiving clarification of the details of the variation application. The remaining twelve objections related to the four licensing objectives.


Responses were received from Durham Constabulary, Planning Authority, Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board, Fire Safety Authority and Environmental Health Authority confirming that they had no comments to make on the variation.


Mr Carr an Other Person, wished to object to the extension of the hours and area of sales applied for. He stated that the premises was a grade II listed building in a residential conservation area with an elevated position that created an echo. He referred to the late evening and night disturbance and he had photographs to show where the premises were located in relation to the residential properties and that his property adjoined The Pickled Parson. Alcohol was currently served up to midnight which would be consumed less than one metre from his window. The external area for the consumption of alcohol was a public footpath which could probably cause an accident.


Mr Carr then referred to the change of use for the existing internal areas which does not mention external areas on the application, yet it shows that they propose to serve alcohol to the external area of the building. He indicated that this is disturbing him and he referred to the latest premises guidance that requires an application to describe the premises, the type of premises, general layout and other relevant information and any areas they intend to use for the consumption of alcohol such as outside areas. He presumed the Applicant was intending to sell alcohol outside the building but the application was for indoors only which was confusing.


Mr Taylor on behalf of the Applicant confirmed that they had not applied for anything next to Mr Carr’s property.


Mr Carr then queried if the plan had changed as the plan in the papers included a shaded area next to his property.


Mr Taylor explained that the first application was withdrawn and when it was resubmitted, a new plan was included with the application.


The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that the plan that was submitted with the application was the plan in the report pack and that there were no licensable activities to take place outdoors. The Applicant was asked to provide a copy of the plan he was referring to, a copy of which was provided to all parties at the hearing.


The two plans were compared and the plan the Applicant had provided included a blue shaded area outside the premises, however, this area was included within the licensable activities taken place on the premises. The Applicant was advised that their application only related to licensable activities indoors and therefore the area should be the boundary of the building as set out on the plan in the report pack.


The Applicant agreed that the application was for indoor only and agreed to revert to the plan in the report. All parties were advised to use the plan in the report but ignore the blue shaded area in front of the bay windows as this was no longer part of the outside area.


Councillor Darkes sought clarification if there was late night entertainment outside. The Applicant confirmed that there was no external activities just the consumption of alcohol.


Mr Carr continued with his representations and stated that he understood that is was public knowledge that Sedgefield Town Council owned the area of land outside the premises. The Town Council had requested the Applicant to remove the benches and seats 6 months ago and had taken legal advice.


The Applicant responded that the land had previously belonged to the premises. A letter had been sent to the premises when it was closed regarding the land ownership and if no response was received the land would be transferred. As the premises were closed no response was provided so they were currently taking legal action to have the land reverted back to the pub.


The Council’s Solicitor advised the Sub-Committee that the land ownership was a separate matter and was not for the licensing authority to determine today.


Mr Carr then continued that the Applicant was wanting to extend the licence to midnight but what it does not do is stop people leaving at 12.30 am or 1.00 am which would cause more late night disturbance. They already suffer from late night disturbance with bin bottles being carried across the road as they run two premises in conjunction, which he believed they were going to address.


He then referred to the house across the square who had submitted a representation about the noise levels. Residents were complaining about the noise with the licence at 11.00 pm and where the premises is situated around the square made it difficult for residents.


Mr Carr stated that the residents of number 16 were having more problems than him and that they were also attached to the premises. He then referred to public transport which was limited so taxis and cars were using the access road which was causing noise and disturbance late at night. If the application was granted, then 11.00 pm would be 12.00 midnight and the noise would be even later and indicated that this was referred to in one of the letters of objection. There had been noise issues in the past when the premises had tried other types of music which they also wished to extend. His property was attached to the premises and Environmental Health had previously been involved as they were advised that the noise was a statutory nuisance and any extension to the hours would increase the noise problems.


Mr Carr stated that Councillor Makepeace said that historically the premises had enjoyed an appropriate licence whereas Mr Carr stated that they should leave the hours as they are. Staff come with their own transport and the guidelines recommended that the Applicant should only apply for the hours they intended to operate so he was concerned they would operate 7 days a week up to midnight.


Mr Carr wished the Applicant well and indicated that he had no objection to a Sunday to 10.30 pm and midnight on a Friday and Saturday but they wanted to extend the hours for the rest of the week. He was concerned that they served outside the premises, he showed the plan of the areas so that Members could see how close the houses were to the premises and that there was an issue with taxis.


Mrs Swindale an Other Person addressed the Sub-Committee and referred to the beer garden and sought clarification on what time people will stop being served alcohol outside.


The DPS responded that they currently stopped serving outside at 9.30 pm and generally people don’t sit outside any later.


Mrs Swindale then referred to the location which is lovely but there was a risk of a congregation from one pub to another and the residents were currently bothered by noise. She would like to see conditions on the outside area to prohibit the use after a certain time as voices and noise does travel and there were a number of older residents. She did object to the outdoor area and needed to be more assured, they were not a bunch of whiners, but they needed to get the balance right. She indicated that they served beer, but the public could not moderate. They were affected by the Cornerhouse and the Impeccable Pig so they needed some safeguarding and restrictions on people sitting outside.


The Chairman indicated that the application for discussion today was for indoors only.


The Council’s Legal Officer advised the Sub-Committee that the outdoor area was not licensed but people could consume alcohol outside.


The DPS indicated that it was not a designated beer garden but people go outside to smoke.


Mrs Swindale responded that patrons were drinking outside so you can’t disconnect the outside from the inside.


The DPS responded that it was difficult to Police the outdoor area and there was a suggestion that a condition be imposed to restrict drinks outside.


Councillor Wills speaking on behalf of Sedgefield Town Council indicated that there was no mention of external changes so drinking outside was irrelevant as there were no licensable activities outside and as they had off sales people could go outside to drink alcohol.


She referred to the number of objections against and the one in favour which stated that the premises had always enjoyed an appropriate licence, therefore she questioned what the point of changing the licence was and she objected to the extension of the hours.


She objected to the extension as the premises were raised which echoed sound as there was nothing around to stop it acoustically. Unlike the Cornerhouse The Pickled Parson was in the centre of the village with attached dwellings and all the lofts were interlinked and didn’t have any divisions and the noise travelled. She indicated that unless there were measures put into place to soundproof then noise would travel. She then referred to the Impeccable Pig who had looked to stop the noise travelling so it was worth looking into soundproofing to help the situation as noise would continue to transfer and it was a worry that the noise was up to 11.00 pm and the approach should be one of prevention. It was about people living in the area and what they could do before the licence is granted as they would not do anything once the extension had been granted, she was also concerned of the alcohol variation on and off the premises which would be used in other parts of the village. There were five or six other places where alcohol could be purchased in the village and she could see issues in the village again.


She maintained that she did not agree to any changes, noise limitation or sound proofing could help and would be a good gesture as what happened with the Impeccable Pig. She suggested that the Sub-Committee consider no more than eight sessions of live music including Christmas and New Year’s Eve as agreed with the Impeccable Pig.


Mr Taylor (on behalf of the Applicant) then addressed the Sub-Committee and indicated that they had spoken to Mr Carr about soundproofing the wall which adjoined the pub which had been carried out. Mr Carr confirmed that this had been carried out and was successful except he could still hear every single chair that moved. The Applicant stated that he would look at putting rubber feet on the chairs to alleviate this problem.


The Applicant then referred to the neighbour on the other side of the premises and indicated that there was a fire escape and a 2 metre gap between the premises but he was more than happy to remind patrons to respect neighbours and was happy to install a noise limiter device. He was only asking for an additional 30 minutes on a Friday and Saturday and the issue with the bins had already been rectified.


In response to a question on the opening hours the Applicant confirmed that the premises were currently 11.00 pm for the sale of alcohol with the premises closing at 11.30 pm and they proposed to close at 12.00 midnight.


The DPS stated that the extension was for Friday and Saturday only and they did not intend to have parties as they had hotel rooms with business men it was to allow an extra glass of wine before bed. They had already added sound limiters on the televisions in the guest rooms to contain the noise. It would not be commercial to staff the business until 12.00 midnight during the week, it was simply for allow business men to consume the last glass of wine.


Mr Carr expressed concern that if the licence was granted to midnight they might run the business correctly but there was nothing to stop this licence being passed on to another person. He referred to The Cornerhouse which had the licence for alcohol to 12.00 midnight and close at 12.30 am but people did not come out at 12.30 am and this was his concern as there was nothing in place to stop it happening.


Councillor Blakey sought clarification of how many off sales they had.


The Applicant responded that people usually purchased alcohol from the shop as it was more expensive to buy from The Pickled Parson.


Mrs Swindale stated that she was not convinced about the outside area, The Pickled Parson had a good reputation, and in the winter months they supplied blankets to make it more comfortable to sit outside and people did sit outside drinking, wrapped in blankets, so you can’t discount the indoor and outdoor area. She was not opposed to people sitting outside but there needed to be a cut off time.


The Applicant responded that he could not stop people leaving and sitting outdoors. The Council’s Solicitor indicated that a condition could be imposed that drinks were not allowed to be taken outdoorsafter a certain time.


Mrs Swindale indicated that there should be a condition that the outdoor area is only used for smoking.


The Applicant responded that they currently had off sales as part of the licence.


Mrs Swindale responded that the land was not in the ownership of The Pickled Parson and there needed to be a happy medium as the off sales affected the outdoor area.


The Applicant indicated that they would have signs to ask patrons to respect the neighbours.


Mr Carr stated that people were encouraged to take drinks outside until midnight which did happen as people sit outside with wine glasses and blankets and there were no restrictions to stop this.


Councillor Darkes asked why they had tables outside when they did not own the land.


The Applicant advised the Sub-Committee that they were in dispute over the land and the legal advice was to leave the seats in situ and to keep using the land. The Operations Director stated that she was from the area and there had always been benches outside.


The Applicant continued that they had carried out some sound proofing and they were happy to install sound regulator devices and were more than happy to erect signs next to exits to ask patrons to be quiet and respect neighbours. They had already addressed the issues with the bins.


Councillor Blakey asked if the benches had created anti-social behaviour with the previous owners of The Picked Parson.


The Applicant indicated that they could remove the benches when the premises was closed to stop people sitting outside all night.


The Council’s Legal Officer asked if the Applicant would consider no drinking outside after a certain time. The Applicant responded that this would be difficult to manage with off sales.


Mr Carr indicated that the co-op was open until 10.00 pm so there was no need for off-sales. The Applicant indicated that they already had a licence for off-sales but they were happy for off sales to be restricted until 11.00 pm instead of midnight.


Mrs Swindale said that the outside areas needed to be managed and restricted to a certain time to give assurance to residents. She noted that they can’t control the people out and about, she did think they were trying to manage the Cornerhouse but they needed assurance that staff know who they are giving plastic glasses to and there had to be a cut off time, she appreciated they could not control the off-sales but they had a responsibility for the premises.


At 1.50 pm the Sub-Committee Resolved to retire to deliberate the application in private. After re-convening at 2.20 pm the Chair delivered the Sub-Committee’s decision.


In reaching their decision the Sub-Committee had considered the report of the Senior Licensing Officer and the written and verbal representations of the Applicant and other persons. Members had also taken into account the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and Section 182 Guidance issued by the Secretary of State.


Resolved: That the Premises Licence be varied to include the Provision of Films as a licensable activity as follows:-


Licensable Activities


Days & Hours


Provision of Live Music, Recorded

Music Performance of Dance,

Similar Entertainment (All


Monday to Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day 10:00 until 00:00 hrs.


From the end of permitted hours on New Year’s Eve until the start of permitted hours on New Year’s Day.


(Remove the condition which prevents regulated entertainment on Good Friday and Christmas Day)


Late Night Refreshment (Indoors)

Monday to Sunday 23:00 until 00:00 hrs.  New Year’s Eve 23:00 until 05:00 hrs.

Sale of Alcohol (on the premises)

Monday to Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day 10:00 until 00:00 hrs.


From the end of permitted hours on New Year’s Eve until the start of permitted hours on New Year’s Day.


Sale of Alcohol

(off the premises

Monday to Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day 10:00 until 23:00 hrs.


Proposed Opening Times


Monday to Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day 10:00 until 00:00 hrs.


From the end of permitted hours on New Year’s Eve until the start of permitted hours on New Year’s Day.



The Sub-Committee considered the conditions suggested within the Operating Schedule of the application and believed it was necessary and proportionate to impose those conditions upon the licence, together with the following additional conditions:-


a)              No off-sales after 23:00 hours each night.


b)              No drinks to be taken outside after 23:00 hours each night.


c)               Benches to be removed each night when the premises are closed.


d)              Children will be out of the bar area by 21:00 hours each night.


e)              Bins and bottle bins shall not be emptied between 9pm and 8am each day.


f)        A noise limiter will be installed for regulated activities.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714