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Agenda item

Application for the Grant of a Premises Licence - Barrio Comida, 31-33 Church Street, Durham


The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Senior Licensing Officer regarding an application for the grant of a Premises Licence in respect of Barrio Comida, 31-33 Church Street, Durham (for copy see file of Minutes).


A copy of the application and supporting information had been circulated to Members, together with additional information provided by the Applicant. The Senior Licensing Officer noted that the Applicant’s Solicitor had referred to a site visit with the Police and Environmental Health at which a Licensing Officer was in attendance. Members were informed that the Licensing Officer was present to facilitate the meeting but took no part in the discussions.  Additional information had also been received from ‘other persons’ Dr Carey and Dr Wood which had been circulated to all parties. Dr Carey and Dr Wood had apologised that due to work commitments they were unable to attend the hearing.


Parish Councillor L Brown of the City of Durham Parish Council addressed the Sub-Committee in objection to the application under the licensing objective of the prevention of public nuisance. It had been understood that original proposals were to improve the derelict site for student accommodation and a café, however this application was for a Premises Licence for a restaurant, with a planning application for an extension. The Parish Council was concerned that permission was sought for alcohol to be sold on the terrace outside the premises until 9.00pm and therefore noise would affect close neighbours. Smokers would also use the terrace creating additional noise and odour. There was no evidence to support that the business would benefit from al fresco dining.


Parish Councillor Brown agreed that the delivery schedule should be addressed and hoped the Applicant would consult with local residents.


The Parish Councillor referred Members to paragraph 9.3 of the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, and paragraph 2.15 of Section 182 Guidance which looked at the prevention of public nuisance, and stated that the Parish Council felt that it was not unreasonable to impose a condition that there be no eating or drinking in the outside area after 6.00pm.  The Thwaites case argued that ‘real’ evidence must be presented to support the reason for imposing conditions; it was argued that there was no evidence given as to why this was integral to the premises. If a condition was added it would mitigate the effect of the premises on local residents.


Mr Lovell of Elvet Residents Association (ERA) addressed the Sub-Committee. He understood that the premises already had planning permission for Class A3 use which the ERA had no objection to and were looking forward to visiting the premises. The proposed hours for the sale of alcohol were of concern to the ERA as this was a residential area. The ERA noted that there had been a site visit and found it curious that the location plan did not show the area the licence was being applied for. Mr Lovell circulated a copy of a modified plan which showed the exact location of the premises. The location plan in the report bundle showed the extension of the existing structure behind 31-33 Church Street which did not yet have planning permission.


Parish Councillor Ashby stated that she was interested to hear that there had been a site visit. The Member also asked how the deliveries would be made, given the location of the premises at the junction of traffic lights. Delivery vehicles would park on double-yellow lines on the footpath, on a major pedestrian route between university buildings. Hundreds of students used the footpath. She understood that this was a planning issue but it had been raised by the Applicant’s Solicitor.


There were no questions at this point and Ms Sarah Smith, the Applicant’s Solicitor was invited to address the Sub-Committee.


Ms Smith explained that the restaurant would be a Mexican food concept and was the brainchild of Shaun Hurrell. The concept was fun and informal. This was a restaurant where both individuals and groups would enjoy dining. The company’s vision had been provided in the additional information and both Mr Hurrell and the Operations Manager had a lot of experience in the higher end field. They were dedicated to making the business a success. Mr Hurrell had attended pop-up events, had a residency on Newcastle Quayside, and the next step was to create a permanent home for the business in Durham. The couple had taken a 10 year lease of the premises, demonstrating their commitment. They had planning permission for Class A3 use and had submitted an application to extend into the rear area for the storage of plant and the provision of toilets. If that application was not granted the application for a Premises Licence would be amended with a revised footprint.  The premises were located on a slightly elevated site, set back from the road. As could be seen in the plan in the report bundle the restaurant would be set over two floors with an external terrace. On the ground floor would be space for 60 covers with an open kitchen and table service. An additional 25 covers would be catered for in the basement which could be an overflow area or a venue for private dining events/functions. The outside area would be seasonal but was an important part of the venue. It would be part of the street scene.


Ms Smith then outlined the menu on offer. Food would be served throughout the day, opening earlier for coffee and snacks. The premises would also include a retail section where Mexican sourced products could be purchased. Employment of up to 25 full and part time staff would be created.


Outlining the licensable activities requested, Ms Smith stated that, although not a requirement the Applicant had included recorded music, for transparency. The hours requested on New Year’s Eve did seem extensive but were standard hours for that evening. The Applicant however did not envisage being open particularly late on New Year’s Eve.


The hours requested were very modest, 12 midnight was a standard hour for the sale of alcohol in a restaurant. If the premises closed too early they would not get the City trade, as eating habits of diners had changed and people were eating later. The hours were within the Framework Hours and were comfortably within the hours other premises operated in that area. Closing time was 11.00pm to allow customers to consume food without being under pressure to finish. This would also allow for a gentle dispersal of customers rather than everyone leaving at the same time.


The comments made by the Police during the consultation had been incorporated into the operating schedule.


A site visit had been held with the Police and Environmental Health; the Environmental Health Officer had been interested in the sight lines between the terrace and the restaurant and had no concerns. Mr Hurrell had engaged with residents prior to the submission of the application, partly because there had been some history with the site.


Ms Smith addressed the objections raised. Additional conditions had been offered, particularly in relation to the disposal of glass which would not be after 8.00pm or before 8.00am in the morning when the City started to come to life.


With regard to the terrace, many premises in the City offered outside areas, and generally people felt that 9.00pm closing was reasonable. This was also the view of Environmental Health. A closing time of 6.00pm would impinge upon the business. External cooking was not a licensable activity, however there was no intention to cook outside.


With regard to the hours for New Year’s Eve, she noted the objections of the ERA. The hours requested were standard but the Applicant would be happy to amend if deemed necessary.


With regard to the representations of Dr Carey and Dr Wood, she had referred the matters of the trees to the rear of the premises to the landlords, and in respect of the materials for the extension, to the developers. Blackout blinds were proposed but the Applicant would be happy to include this as a condition.


In conclusion the conditions met concerns. A risk assessment would be required for the premises and any events, CCTV would be provided, and the outside area would be well-managed. The proposals were supported by Environmental Health; external areas were not unusual in the City. Student accommodation was located above and adjacent to the premises so a lot of noise attenuation had been carried out. In her experience it was very important to ensure that all neighbours were satisfied and the Applicant appreciated that students had paid a lot of money to study in the City.


The Chair asked if the outside area was for dining only. Mr Hurrell clarified that customers could have alcohol on the terrace by itself or with food. All customers would be seated which would not appeal to those people out for drinks only. It was in the interest of the business that customers bought food.


Parish Councillor Brown asked if the terrace would be the only smoking area and if it would be accessible by people walking past the premises. The Member was informed that to sit on the terrace customers would have to be seated by a waiter. Smokers would use the terrace after 9.00pm. If they were not permitted to use the terrace smokers would move towards residential properties to smoke. There would be a small cordoned off area for smokers on the terrace. Customers had to walk through this to access the main entrance of the restaurant.


The Chair noted that the operating schedule highlighted that music would not be played outside, but on warmer days the windows would be open and noise may escape. The Member was informed that music during the day would be at background level and not audible outside. Noise Impact Assessments were required as part of the planning process.


Parish Councillor Brown appreciated that there had been discussions with residents in March but stated that the proposals had changed. She would be delighted if the Applicant could have dialogue with residents. Ms Smith confirmed that the Applicant would be open to that and his contact details could be provided to residents.


Parish Councillor Ashby was reassured by this but was sorry that the matter of deliveries had not been resolved. Mr Hurrell advised that he had spoken with other businesses in the locality and would adopt a similar procedure for deliveries.


In conclusion Ms Smith stated that the Applicant was committed to the venue, which would offer a high-end social experience. They were experienced operators who had engaged with local residents. The hours were not excessive in the restaurant business and any decrease could impact upon the viability of the business. The Responsible Authorities were supportive of the proposals, had been on site and were satisfied. If the fears expressed were realised there were remedies but she would encourage residents to approach the venue in the first instance.


At 2.30pm the Sub-Committee Resolved to retire to deliberate the application in private. After re-convening at 2.40pm the Chair delivered the Sub-Committee’s decision. In reaching their decision the Sub-Committee had considered the report of the Senior Licensing Officer, together with additional information, the written representations of Dr Carey and Dr Wood, and the verbal and written representations of the City of Durham Parish Council, the ERA, and the Applicant and his Solicitor. Members had also taken into account the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and Section 182 Guidance issued by the Secretary of State.




That the Premises Licence be granted and the operating schedule agreed with Durham Constabulary be included as follows:


1.    The operator shall ensure that at all times when the premises are open for any licensable activity there are sufficient, competent staff on duty at the premises for the purpose of fulfilling the terms and conditions of the licence and for preventing crime and disorder.


2.    The operator and designated premises supervisor shall conduct a risk assessment for the general operation of the premises and in the case of individual bespoke events.


3.    Alcohol may only be consumed on the premises by persons seated at a table (save for when alcohol is sold to persons attending bona fida functions at the premises in which case this condition will not apply in the part of the premises in which the function is taking place.


4.    Food and beverages will not be consumed in the external seating area after 21.00hrs daily.



5.    A CCTV system must be designed, installed and maintained in proper working order, to the satisfaction of Durham Police.  Such system must


(i)    Ensure coverage of all entrances and exits of the licensed premise and

           coverage of all such areas as may be required by Durham Police.

(ii)   Provide continuous recordings for each camera to a standard for identification and the recording be retained for a minimum of 28 days

(iii)  Be in operation at all times the premises are in use and made available to the Police on request.

(iv)Always be accessible by a supervisor who is sufficiently trained in the operation of the system.


6.     Substantial food and non-alcoholic beverages shall be available throughout permitted hours.


7.    The maximum number of persons permitted on the premises at any one time shall not exceed the safe capacity as prescribed by fire safety legislation.


8.    The designated premises supervisor shall ensure that there are effective management arrangements in place to enable him/her to know how many people there are in the premises at times prescribed within the management risk assessment.


9.    All staff responsible for selling age restricted goods to be trained to implement the age verification policy.  Staff training to include the risk from proxy sales.  (This is alcohol purchased or obtained for young people by relatives or older friends).  Training records for staff to be maintained and refresher training to be provided annually.


10.The premises licence holder shall ensure that a refusals register is in operation to log incidents where a sale of alcohol is refused (if a person appears intoxicated or appears to be under 18).  The register is to be kept on the premises and made available to the police on request.


11.No glass or material or bottles shall be deposited in any skip, bin or other container of a like nature, located in the open air outside of the premises between 8pm to 8am and any such skip, bin or container shall not be removed from the premises between those hours.


12.Noise from the licensed premises, including noise from patrons, amplified music and live music, shall not be audible beyond the boundary of the premises so as to cause nuisance to nearby residents or other users of the complex.


13.When regulated entertainment involving the playing of recorded music and live music is taking place, all windows, entrance and lobby doors shall be kept closed except for the purposes of access and egress.


14.All members of staff at the premises including door supervisors shall seek ‘credible photographic proof of age evidence’, from any person who appears to be under the age of 25 years of age and who is seeking access to the premises, or is seeking to purchase or consume alcohol on the premises.  Such credible evidence, which shall include a photograph of the customer will either be a passport, photographic driving licence or proof of age card carrying a ‘PASS’ logo.


In addition the opening hours on New Year’s Eve be extended between 10.00am and 1am.



Supporting documents:


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