Agenda item

Licensing Act 2003 - Application to Vary a Premises Licence at Reach Court Farm, Reach Road, St Margaret's-at-Cliffe, Dover

The Sub-Committee is requested to determine the application.


The following papers are attached.


(i)         Licensing Manager's report.

(ii)        Appendix A – Application to vary the premises licence

(iii)       Appendix B – Existing premises licence

(iv)       Appendix C – Map of the area

(v)        Appendix D – Comments made by Environmental Health

(vi)       Appendix E – Representations


The procedure to be followed by the Sub-Committee is attached to this agenda.



The Sub-Committee considered an application for the variation of a premises licence in respect of Reach Court Farm, Reach Road, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe.


The application was to amend the following premises licence conditions:


·             Noise readings to be taken to ensure noise levels at 1m from the façade of the nearest dwelling are not above 70dB.


·             Amplified music will not be permitted outside the premises.


·             Events will extend over no more than 28 days per calendar year.


The variation application sought no amendment to hours or activities.


The following documentary evidence and/or other information was taken into account by the Sub-Committee:


(i)           The Licensing Manager’s report including, the options available to the Sub-Committee.


(ii)         Application from James Mitchell and Oliver Mitchell for the variation of a premises licence (appendix A of the agenda).


(iii)        Existing premises licence (appendix B of the agenda).


(iv)        Map of the area (appendix C of the agenda).


(v)         Comments from Environmental Health (appendix D of the agenda).


(vi)        Representations from Other Persons (appendix E of the agenda).


On the basis of the representations of the applicants and Other Persons, the Sub-Committee found the following facts to be established:


(i)           The application from James Mitchell and Oliver Mitchell was for the variation of the premises licence to amend the premises licence conditions (as at pages 81 and 93 (appendix A) of the agenda) regarding:


·     Noise readings to be taken to ensure noise levels at 1m from the façade of the nearest dwelling are not above 70dB.


·     Amplified music will not be permitted outside the premises.


·     Events will extend over no more than 28 days per calendar year.


(ii)         Dawn Blythe attended to make her representation in person. Ms Blythe stated that she was unable to relax at home and stated it had been known for the premises to have 5 events in 9 days. Regarding the current licence Ms Blythe stated she was aware of weddings having been held on a Monday although, the premises licence did not permit Mondays and it was a condition for the north door to be shut at all times yet this was not adhered to (Ms Blythe had videos in respect of the door (not shown at the hearing); this was to be followed up with Licensing separately). Ms Blythe stated that because the land (which was believed to be within the ownership of Reach Court Farm) behind Roman Way had been approved as acceptable for housing people had been putting up with the noise so the land was not sold. Ms Blythe stated she did email the licence holders about the noise, the response was polite, but nothing changed. She had also reported the noise and the premises was being monitored but because the premises licence holders were aware of this, the noise was quieter. Ms Blythe stated she believed she was the closest property to the premises however, she should not have to shut her windows and doors in hot weather because of the noise from the premises and it being clearly heard in her home. Ms Blythe stated that the premises should turn down the volume and install sound proofing. By comparison, Ms Blythe said she can only just hear the music from the village hall.


(iii)        John Young attended to make his representation in person. Mr Young commented that he only came across this application because of a social media post and suggested that all applications should be required to be publicised in a similar way. It was explained the advertising requirements were set out in legislation. Mr Young’s most pressing concern was the variation application for outside music given the venue’s proximity to a large number of properties. Mr Young stated that the outside music request provided no limitation in the application, and he would like to see outside music prohibited. Mr Young stated it was annoying to have wedding singers blasting out when trying to enjoy the garden – from his property he could hear the announcements from Dover docks on clear days, commenting as to how clear the noise from the farm was. Mr Young stated that in the evening the noise was more muted except when guests open doors and windows or gather outside and talk loudly. At a recent event in October the music could be clearly heard in Mr Young’s living room through closed double-glazed windows which he stated to be unacceptable. Mr Young stated that during COVID the nuisance from the venue was tolerable in that events were infrequent but with more events until late at night this had a significant impact on residents. Mr Young stated the residential area was there before the wedding venue.


(iv)        It was clarified for the purposes of the hearing that under the licensing regime there had been deregulations including the playing of music at licensed premises for an audience of fewer than 500 people, between 08:00 and 23:00 hrs. Looking at the plan in the agenda (page 110) the licensed premises included the outside area as was marked by the bold line. In such circumstances any existing licence condition incompatible with the deregulation would be suspended between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00 hrs. The Sub-Committee could not prevent or condition such activity save for on review.


(v)         Regarding the music which was regulated entertainment (after 23:00 hrs) the licensing officer informed the Sub-Committee that a condition citing the nearest property when considering noise levels was out of date and should be updated. The licensing officer stated there had been three complaints regarding the premises in the last 12 months – two of which were in respect of the condition to keep the door closed however, there could only be a breach after 23:00 hrs because it was a condition in respect of amplified music and one because of the number of events but additional events may be held under Temporary Event Notices.


(vi)        The applicants stated they believed there had been a misunderstanding as to their application. They were seeking to increase events from 28 to 35 (which was within their planning conditions), currently Temporary Event Notices were relied on for events above the 28 permitted in the premises licence.


(vii)      The applicants wished to reassure the Council and their neighbours there were no changes to times, to the months and they did not wish to have fireworks. The applicants also stated they had not hosted cinema nights.


(viii)     Outdoor music was intended for short periods of time such as a wedding ceremony and drinks and would be no later than 20:00 hrs given their planning conditions.


(ix)        It was clarified for the purposes of the hearing that the planning and licensing regimes were distinct and separate.


(x)         The applicants stated they had a noise management plan and a noise limiter was installed at the venue. Every band was greeted and equipment plugged into the noise limiter which was connected to a light bank on the wall which showed the volume level and the premises kept a log of sound recordings for their own record.


(xi)        No representations were made by Environmental Health but their observations (as published at page 112 (appendix D) of the agenda) were noted.


(xii)      The written representations (citing the licensing objective of public nuisance) were taken into account.


In reaching its findings the Sub-Committee had taken into account the following:


(i)           Dover District Council’s Licensing Policy


(ii)         The Licensing Act 2003 and in particular the guidance given under Section 182 of the Act


(iii)        Article 6 of the Human Rights Act (Right to a fair trial)


(iv)        Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (Duty to consider crime and disorder implications).


RESOLVED:   (a)     That the application for the variation of the premises licence in respect of Reach Court Farm, Reach Road, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe be GRANTED as follows:


(i)               Noise reading to be taken to ensure noise levels at 1m from the façade of the nearest dwelling are not above 7dB


                                             REPLACED WITH:


                                             Noise limiter installed within the barn to control sound levels, set at 87dB (in accordance with the Environmental Noise Management Plan (ENMP))


(ii)              Amplified music will not be permitted outside the premises




(iii)            Events will extend over no more than 28 days per calendar year




Events will extend over no more than 35 days per calendar year


Any condition not sought to be varied or removed and not in the Licensing Manager’s report or forming part of the Sub-Committee’s decision will remain as is.