Councillors and committees

Agenda item






The application before the Sub-Committee sought to have regulated entertainment between 09:00 – 23:00, Monday to Sunday.


The following addressed the Sub-Committee:


Licensing Officer

Mr Peter Groves


For the Applicant

Mr Shamen Kapoor, Barrister


For the Objectors

David Ford, for First Church of Christ, Scientist, Kingston upon Thames



Mr Groves outlined the application, explaining that it was originally a church, and although it is on Penryhn Road, it backs on to a number of other premises. The university has applied for an entertainment licence from 09:00 to 23:00, which elicited a large number of representations. There has been dialogue between the university and the local residents, including a meeting on 13 October 2009 where residents voiced their concerns and the university responded. As a result of that meeting, they agreed to set up a talking shop and have regular dialogue with each other. Further to the meeting, the residents proposed four conditions they wished the university to adopt to their licence, namely:

1.      The premises are not to be hired out for commercial gain;

2.      A senior member of staff will be present during regulated entertainment;

3.      Except for access and egress, all external doors and windows must be kept closed whilst regulated entertainment takes place;

4.      External checks shall take place to ensure that when regulated entertainment is in progress any noise from the premises does not cause a detriment to public amenity. The checks should take place within 30 minutes of the commencement of the event. Appropriate steps to reduce the noise shall be taken if this is not the case.

Mr Groves advised that in an email from the applicant to himself and Ms Shanmugaguru of Riverside Residents’ Association dated 15 October 2009, the university confirmed their acceptance of the first three conditions, subject to some re-wording, but not the fourth. The email also detailed the reasons why the university did not accept the fourth condition.


The meeting was adjourned while the Committee Secretary made copies of the email and distributed them to the Sub Committee.


The meeting reconvened.


Mr Groves continued that Ms Shanmugaguru had initially withdrawn her representation on the understanding that the university had agreed to all four conditions. He tabled a copy of an email from Ms Shanmugaguru sent earlier that day expressing her disappointment and regret that she had not received the email dated 15 October, as residents had been working on the assumption that the university had accepted all four conditions; they were not aware that the university had not accepted the forth condition. Mr Groves also advised the Sub Committee that Mr Catlin had withdrawn his representation but had not offered an explanation why, and the property issues raised by Mr Ford were outside the remit of the Licensing Act.


Cllr Mirza then asked David Ford of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Kingston, to address the Sub Committee. Mr Ford started by re-affirming the Church’s support to the Resident’s Association. He said they (the Church) were also at the meeting last week, and at the time their thoughts regarding the forth condition above were that if they ever needed immediate contact with someone from the university regarding noise, it would be available; but it would now appear that the withdrawal of condition number four would not allow this. Mr Ford also expressed his desire that the university would endeavour to protect the Church’s manner of worship during their Wednesday and Sunday services. Mr Ford also referred to his letter of objection which contained extracts of the “contract for sale of the property (26/1/1989)”. He referred to paragraph 3 of the extract which stated “Not to do or suffer anything to be done on the Council Site which may constitute a nuisance or annoyance to the owners or occupiers for the time being of the Retained Property”, and asked if it would be possible to have a written contract that there would be minimal noise nuisance when the church had their services on Wednesdays and Sundays.


Cllr Mirza then asked Mr Kapoor to present the university’s case. Mr Kapoor outlined the university’s response to the above four proposed conditions. He said that the university accepted the first condition, provided it did not preclude ticket sales for any performance. He continued that condition four was the contention as the residents were essentially asking that, within thirty minutes of the commencement of an event, a member of staff is to go out and check for noise nuisance from the premises, but this would be a disproportionate measure as there was no reference to how such noise would be measured in terms of distance or equipment used. He added that the resources of the university are such that they are sufficient for one member of staff to be on the premises, and that such a person could not leave the premises during a performance for health and safety reasons, that is, if there were an incident inside, it would require that member of staff’s immediate attention. Mr Kapoor continued that even though it was currently not part of the university’s application, the university was happy to concede licensable activities on Sundays and 24 December to 1 January inclusive each year. He added that they could not concede Wednesdays as this was a critical day for the university as well. He added that the number is not to go beyond the scope of 20 – 30 performances a year.


Mr Kapoor continued that whilst the university accepted the third condition, they wished to change the term “senior member of staff” in condition two to “appropriate and authorised member of staff”, as the former phrase has a specific meaning within the university. With reference to the final condition, Mr Kapoor argued that the wording is so wide, one had to question how it could be enforced or policed; anyone could go outside and say it is too noisy, but who would that person be, and on what criteria? He also questioned how far would such a person have to walk, whether it would be to the church or ten houses down; either way, it would be disproportionate and inappropriate. He continued that a sound check could be made outside to a certain radius, but believed it would make sense to do such checks during rehearsals instead. He added that it would be difficult to give a mobile contact in order that a person could be contacted to potentially do something about a nuisance during the performance, as this would essentially mean stopping the performance; again, believing that this was disproportionate and inappropriate. He believed that the best time for a sound check to take place was during rehearsal, in order that it is a preventative measure rather than a cure.


Cllr White asked Mr Kapoor to clarify whether he had said that the university would do a sound check during rehearsals internally, and how they would enforce this during live performances. Mr Kapoor responded that as the performances were theatrical in nature rather than rock concerts, it would be difficult to police noise nuisance once a performance had started.


Cllr Griffin said that presumably the sound checks would be during the day, but that there was more traffic on Penrhyn Road during the day, so the sound would not travel as far; would the university be able to take that into consideration when doing their sound checks? Mr Kapoor responded that he did not think they could give an undertaking that the rehearsals would take place the same time of day as the performances themselves, but they would consider the traffic when doing sound checks during the day for an evening performance.


Cllr Mirza said Mr Kapoor had earlier made mention of the university’s wish to maintain a good relationship with its neighbours, and if this was the case, would the university not consider providing its neighbours a telephone number where they could contact the university when they had noise concerns? Mr Kapoor said he appreciated the neighbours’ request for a mobile phone number, but that it would not always be appropriate, citing an example of one of the neighbours contacting a member of staff during an evening performance regarding an incident that had happened during the day, with the sound of the mobile disrupting an audience. Cllr Mirza then asked that if neighbours were disturbed by noise nuisance during an evening performance, who would the church or local residents voice their concerns to? Mr Kapoor responded that the faculty office of the Arts & Social Science would welcome such concerns, and then relay them to the appropriate persons and then take the appropriate action, as there was an administrative process. Cllr Mirza asked if the number of this office had been relayed to the church and local residents. Mr Kapoor said it had not at the moment, but that would soon be resolved.






Having considered the written representations, heard oral representations from the Church and the applicant’s representatives, and having regard to the Council’s Licensing Policy, Secretary of State’s Guidance and the licensing objectives, in particular that the prevention of Public Nuisance licensing objective was met, the Sub-Committee resolved to PERMIT:


1.      The provision of regulated entertainment consisting of plays, films, live and recorded music and the performance of dance and anything of a similar description to live and recorded music and performance of dance, and provision of facilities for the making of music, and dancing and facilities for entertainment of a similar description to facilities for music and dancing from 09:00 – 23:00, Monday to Saturday, except 24 December to 1 January inclusive.


The Sub Committee noted the following conditions had been agreed between the applicant and local residents:


2.      Except for access and egress, all external doors and windows must be kept closed whilst regulated entertainment takes place.


The Sub Committee noted that two conditions proposed by those making representations had been agreed by the applicant subject to certain amendments and these are as follows:


3.      The premises are not to be hired out for commercial gain. This does not preclude ticket sales for performances;


4.      An appropriate and authorised member of staff will be on duty during regulated entertainment.




1.      Local residents should be provided with a contact telephone number by which they can voice concerns regarding noise nuisance from the regulated entertainment.


2.      The university should give due regard to First Church of Christ, Scientist’s Wednesday services when planning performances.


The applicant should engage in a “talk shop” with local residents at least once every six months in order to discuss any issues or concerns regarding the licence.

Supporting documents: