Contact: David Acton
To consider the review of a premises licence following a summary review application submitted by West Midlands Police in respect of Saleem Bagh, 476 Station Road, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8HE.
The Licensing Act Panel read and considered the report at their meeting on 11th February 2021. They had also read the letters that Mr Ali had given his customers to sign and noted that he was no longer the DPS. They also saw the video clip from Mr Ali showing the covid measures that he had now completed. They noted his 30 years history and no previous Licensing Act breaches.
Members heard the summary of the report by the Licensing Officer. They then heard the police representation from both officers.
They then heard from Mr Ali’s representative, Graham Hopkins from GT Licensing Consultants explaining that Mr Ali was unaware that he couldn’t allow an illegal worker unpaid work i.e. cleaning at his restaurant while he accommodated him without rent. As this was dealt with via a Civil Penalty fine in 2016, little weight was given.
Mr Hopkins also explained that Mr Ali was merely serving free alcohol drinks whilst customers were waiting for their food orders inside the restaurant. Members were extremely concerned that up to 20 people may have been inside the small area where the alcohol was consumed (whether for profit or not) during lockdown. They expected Mr Ali to have been very familiar with public safety rules on coronavirus nearly a year on, especially being a Premises Licence Holder and running a licensed premises/restaurant for 30 years.
Mr Ali admitted that he had initially misled the police by not being truthful about supplying alcohol inside his premises when clearly this was illegal. He accepted that he had put customers and the community and others nationally at further risk of covid. He insisted that the alcohol was not supplied in return for any payment.
Members heard that the covid numbers had increased during this period in the Dorridge area which the police said was a ‘hotspot’. They were particularly concerned to note comments from the Director of Public Health who submitted a Public Safety objection stating that ‘The actions of the premises have placed unnecessary risk to the health of individuals, families and local communities at a time when the country is experiencing a national emergency. Poor or no adherence to guidance on infection prevention and control to prevent the transmission of coronavirus’.
Upon taking into account all representations, Licensing Objectives, S182 Guidance and other legal obligations, they decided on balance that due to the very serious public safety breaches, dishonesty towards police officers and during a time when the community were most at risk of coronavirus, it was appropriate and proportionate to exclude a licensable activity at these premises, namely the. supply of alcohol. Members felt that modifying the conditions or the resignation of the DPS was not appropriate or proportionate enough as to exclude the supply of alcohol in these circumstances.
Members lifted the interim measures imposed as regards hot food. Members also welcomed the new conditions proposed at the premises and confirmed the following during other licensable activities in the Licence e.g. late ... view the full minutes text for item 1.