Controversial plans by a Burnham-On-Sea holiday park to change its premises license and introduce a new stage area for live entertainment have been given the go-ahead this week subject to various conditions.
Sedgemoor District Council’s Licensing Panel announced on Friday that it has granted approval to Haven Holiday Village subject to several conditions in a Decision Notice, as outlined below.
80 letters of objection were sent by residents and scores of residents attended Monday’s Licensing Panel meeting, where concerns about noise and other issues were raised regarding the Haven’s plans to install a new £200,000 outdoor stage area for entertainment.
Residents told the meeting that the proposals would lead to extra noise and disruption in residential areas surrounding the holiday park. Town councillors also raised an objection, as we reported here.
Residents who were opposed to the plans say the Panel’s decision notice shows that they were listened to since the holiday park’s outdoor alcohol sale hours have been cut from those originally planned. Also, several types of entertainment – including boxing and wrestling – have been removed, and the time period that music and films can be shown on the stage has been reduced.
Haven representantive Jonathan Smith told Monday’s meeting that he was “surprised at the level of representations” opposing the application and said that pre-set maximum noise levels had been proposed to try and reduce noise disturbance. A detailed noise assessment had been undertaken.
He also said that monthly meetings with residents have been offered by Haven, along with a 24-hour contact number to log any issues. He also assured residents that the company has no plans to hold “mini Glastonbury” events at the holiday park as some had feared and that members of the public would not be admitted to watch the entertainment – only those staying at the holiday park.
Haven also pledged to install Sound System Limiters to control sound levels; it will supply a mobile phone number and an e-mail address for complaints; and the park’s Security team will ensure that no-one will be allowed on site for the stage activities other than residents and booked-in holidaymakers.
Gaynor Brown, one of the residents opposed to the plans, spoke out strongly against the plans, saying: “We didn’t buy homes next to a fairground, open air night club and cinema. 12 years ago the fields behind me were occupied by a lovely community of owner-occupied static vans, but Haven got rid of all them. Many residents living close to the park are concerned about the risk of extra noise, and the location of these proposed events at the holiday park so close to our homes.”
Council’s licensing decision in full:
The Licensing & Gambling Panel had been asked to consider an application for a variation to an existing premises licence for the premises known as Burnham on Sea Holiday Village, Marine Drive, Burnham on Sea, Somerset, TA8 1LA following initial objections from Avon & Somerset Police, Sedgemoor District Council’s Environmental Health Public Protection Team and Health & Safety & Pollution Control Team, the Burnham on Sea & Highbridge Town Council, Ward Councillors and members of the public. The Panel was advised that the Applicant had reached agreement with the Police and both of the District Council Teams for conditions to be included on any licence and therefore there was now no formal objection from them.
The Panel was further advised that following consultation, the Applicant had amended the application to exclude wrestling and boxing as licensable activities; vary the terminal hour of the licensable activities to 21.30hrs save for films which would remain at 23.00hrs as requested; limit the time during which the licensable activities would be permitted to the period between the Friday 3 weeks before Good Friday and the 31st October in each calendar year.
The Panel had considered all of the evidence presented by the Applicant and Objectors both in writing and that presented orally to the Panel. The Panel’s decision was made in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, the Secretary of State’s Guidance and current case law.
This application had provoked a considerable amount of interest and concern amongst the residents near to the Haven Holiday Village, resulting in excess of some 80 letters of objection. As was identified at the hearing many of those objections touch on matters such as planning which was not a matter for due consideration by the Panel. In addition, the letters of objection addressed the legitimate concerns of the impact of the application as originally submitted namely for a variation of the licence on a 24/7 365 days per year basis. As was heard at the hearing, in response to the weight of concern the Applicant had amended the terms of the application and agreed to a significant number of conditions that could be imposed on any amendment to the licence. It was on this basis that the Panel had considered the application.
As identified by Lord Justice Toulson in the Hope and Glory case:
“Licensing decisions often involve weighing a variety of competing considerations: the demand for licensed establishments, the economic benefit to the proprietor and to the locality by drawing in visitors and stimulating the demand, the effect on law and order, the impact on the lives of those who live and work in the vicinity, and so on.”
The Panel recognised those competing demands and had given due consideration to them in reaching its decision.
In presenting to the Panel the Applicant highlighted the fact that as the outside area to be licensed already had consent to sell and supply alcohol until 23.00hrs the majority of the application was covered by the deregulation of licensable activities and therefore in principle the Applicant could have undertaken most of the activities requested without varying the licence. However, the Applicant stated it was not its intention to ride roughshod over the resident’s objections and therefore the application was submitted, had been amended and conditions accepted in an attempt to balance the needs of the business and the concerns of the residents.
It was clear to the Panel that the major concern of the objectors was that of public nuisance and to a lesser degree crime and disorder. Public safety and the protection of children from harm objectives did not feature much amongst the objections. The Police who were best placed to advise on matters of crime and disorder has agreed a set of conditions to be added to the licence and consequently had not objected. Environmental Health who were best served to advise on public nuisance had also agreed a significant set of conditions with the Applicant and therefore had withdrawn their objection. It was also apparent to the Panel that a lot of the objections were based on mistaken or irrelevant information. As was identified early on, the issues concerning planning consent were not a consideration of the Panel and the Applicant made clear that the application would not attract non-residents to the premises, the holiday camp and its facilities being restricted to residents only. Therefore, issues of crowds of people accessing and leaving the park from the town were irrelevant. It was also clear from the evidence heard, that little in the way of complaints over the conduct of the premises had been directed to the Police or the Town or District Councils. This made it difficult to assess what issues the premises may have caused historically, although it was accepted that that information would not necessarily be relevant to an external application. It appeared what complaints had been made had been directed direct to the holiday park and the Panel accepted the evidence of the objectors that often little was done to receive, acknowledge or action their complaints
Notwithstanding the amended application and the agreed conditions, the Objectors were in the main not convinced that the Applicant could and would be able to promote the licensing objectives and prevent any disturbance especially from noise. Their concern centred on late night activity and noise that could be heard whilst in their gardens. The Panel felt that the Objectors failed to appreciate or understand the balancing act that needed to be considered in determining an application of this type. In addition, they were not, with few exceptions, prepared to consider the merits of the concessions offered up in support of their concerns. The Panel accepted, the concerns of the Objectors were legitimate and significant and the Panel did feel that the concessions proposed by the Applicant, even with the agreed conditions, did not sufficiently alleviate the concerns over the potential impact on the neighbourhood.
The Panel had considered the amended application against the Council’s Licensing policy and it is apparent that the original application failed to address paragraph 13 in that there were no positive proposals in the application as to how they would manage what are now the all too apparent risks to promote the licensing objectives. The Panel did acknowledge the significant amount of work undertaken by the Applicant and the statutory consultees, since publication of its application, in addressing that shortcoming.
Given the above, it was the decision of the Licensing Panel that the application, as amended, together with the licensing conditions agreed with the statutory bodies did sufficiently promote the licensing objectives to allow the amendment to be approved. However, the Panel was mindful of paragraph 51 of its policy which states that:
“In general, the Council will deal with the issue of licensing hours on the individual merits of each application. However, when issuing a licence, stricter conditions are likely to be imposed with regard to noise control in the case of premises which are situated in largely residential areas.”
And paragraph 81.5 which states:
“The installation of any special measures where licensed premises is or are proposed to be located near sensitive premises such as nursing homes, hospitals, hospices or places of worship;”
It was apparent to all that the holiday park was situated in the midst of a residential area and also close to a nursing home. Claims that the prevailing winds would drive noise away from the residents could not be totally relied on. In addition, a large proportion of the residents were elderly and therefore the Panel believed that in the light of the dynamic of the locale the proposed reduction of a terminal hour of 21.30 was still insufficient to address the public nuisance concerns of the objectors and therefore the terminal hour would be reduced to 20.00hrs.
In reaching its decision the Panel was mindful of the concessions and undertakings that the Applicant had given to all to support the neighbourhood and take all appropriate powers to mitigate their concerns. The decision to publish a contact telephone number and e-mail address and hold monthly meetings with the objectors was no insignificant concession to their concerns. The Panel trusted that this concession and the advice that any complaints could also be directed to the Councils would give the objectors confidence going forward that any complaints or concerns would be taken seriously and actioned.
Accordingly, the Panel determined that the application for a variation to the premises licence for Burnham Holiday Village was approved on the following terms:
- Permission is granted for the siting of a container Bar within the external outside area
- Permission is granted for the siting of an external stage area to provide the following activities between the hours of 11.00hrs and 20.00hrs Monday to Sunday from the 3rd Friday before Good Friday to the last day of October each year:
- Performance of plays, films, live and recorded music, dance and entertainment of a like kind
- In addition, the licence will be endorsed by the 18 conditions agreed with Avon & Somerset Police and Sedgemoor District Council Environmental Health Department subject to the addition of an invitation being extended to Town & District Ward Councillors or their Unitary equivalent to the monthly meetings as detailed in condition 14
- Site layout plan 3176.4.01 will be added to the licence showing the external bar and stage
- To amend condition 13 on the premises licence to read “the playing of live or recorded music in any outside area shall not continue beyond 20.00hrs”
- To amend condition 2 to read “excluding the external areas as detailed and edged red on drawing numbers 4538-BR-131 and 4538-BR-130A and 3176.4.01 from 18.00hrs one door supervisor shall be on duty for every 250 customers or part thereof.”
- To amend condition 5 to read “No customer will be allowed to bring alcohol in open or sealed bottles onto the premises with the exception of the external areas as detailed and edged red on drawing numbers 4538-BR-131 and 4538-BR-130A and 3176.4.01”
- To amend condition 20 to read “Polycarbonate or plastic glassware will be used at bars serving alcohol in outside areas as detailed and edged red on drawing numbers 4538-BR-131 and 4538-BR-130A and 3176.4.01.”
- To amend condition 21 to read “the external areas as detailed and edged red on drawing numbers 4538-BR-131 and 4538-BR-130A and 3176.4.01 to be used for the sale of alcohol from 11.00 to 23.00hrs daily”