Kurnia Secure New Premises Licence Less Than Two Months After Previous One Was Revoked

Kurnia Secure New Premises Licence Less Than Two Months After Previous One Was Revoked

Kurnia Licensing Consultants of Lincolnshire secured a new premises licence for a restaurant in Mablethorpe less than two after a previous licence was revoked.

The premises, Indian Flavour on Mablethorpe’s High Street had it’s premises licence revoked on 2 October 2012 following a review being submitted by Lincolnshire Police as a result of illegal immigrates allegedly working at the premises. The police stated that on four occasions, July 2011, January 2012, April 2012 and June 2012 people at the premises were identified as being overstayers in the UK.

At the hearing in October the licensing sub-committee of East Lindsey District Council were told by Michael Kheng of Kurnia Licensing Consultants, acting for the Indian Flavour Restaurant, that the holder of the premises licence did not knowingly employ any person not permitted to work in the UK nor had UK Boarder Agency taken any action against the holder of the premises licence. The licence was revoked and Kurnia Licensing Consultants immediately lodged an appeal in the Lincolnshire Magistrates court.

Shortly after Kurnia Intertrade Limited, landlords of the restaurant, submitted an application for a new premises licence identical to that which was in place and was revoked. Lincolnshire Police objected to the application being granted and the matter was put before a different licensing sub-committee of East Lindsey District Council on 29 November 2012.

The police objections were identical to the reasons for the previous review although the application was a new application. Lincolnshire Police highlighted that it was important for the sub-committee to look at the history of the premises. Accordingly although the hearing was for a new licence Kurnia had to highlight that persons had to ‘knowingly’ be employed and without a premises licence an offence of this nature could still be committed.

The hearing lasted almost 3 hours with the application finally being granted as applied for. The appeal for the revocation of the former licence has now been withdraw.

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Kurnia Exit Retailing 100% After the Sale of The Cloud Bar Lincoln

ImageKurnia’s last remaining trading outlet, The Cloud Bar in Lincoln’s historic Bailgate area has now been sold leaving company director Michael Kheng to concentrate on Kurnia Licensing Consultancy, a consultancy Michael set up over 7 years ago to assist the hospitality industry in legal and training matters. This marks an end of retailing for Kurnia who have operated bars and restaurants within Lincolnshire for well over 30 years.

Michael said ‘Although we are no longer retailing my company still retains the freehold of some pubs within our property portfolio so I guess we are still involved in a small way in retailing as I need to make sure our tenants in the sector are supported. My time is being taken up more and more dealing with licensing issues around the country and I found I had less time to commit to the retail side of the company. It will be sad in a way not to be retailing but life moves on and you have do what you enjoy doing. I have over 400 clients over England which certainly keeps me busy.’

The Cloud Bar has been taken over by a local company headed by Christopher Regan. Christopher has two other outlets in Lincoln and last year invested over £400,000 in the city’s Ye Olde Crowne Inn. Later this month Christopher will be opening the Lincolnshire Red Steak House on the site of a former city nightspot after a £300,000 refit investment. In addition to the three Lincoln venues Christopher is also owns the Broadstone Bar in Retford. Christopher has managed to achieve this in a very short time as he has only just turned 23. At 18 Christopher turned around a Manchester student bar after securing funds to buy the lease and then selling it on for a handsome profit. He then worked abroad in property development around the Red Sea before returning to England to start up in the hospitality sector. Christopher says his long term goal is to create a group of pubs and bars that are different, unique and fresh for the industry.

Christopher said ‘I have no major plans to change the Cloud Bar at this stage. I love the venue and the style fits well within our model. Once we have been trading there a while we will see if feel any changes are needed and if so then we shall look at implementing them in 2013.’


Can your customers see your bar before they visit?

I recently stumbled upon what I think to be a great marketing tool from Google, ‘Google Business Photos’. Increasingly people search for businesses online. Google’s Street-view can bring them down your road but Business Photos brings them right into your premises!

By clicking & dragging you can take a 360 degree virtual tour of the featured business. By clicking on the white arrows that appear on the floor you can move from room to room as well. Step outside and you are back on Google Street with a double arrow pointing towards your door. You can even get the frontage shot on Google Maps updated so if your frontage has changed since the Google car came down your road here’s a chance to get an update.

You don’t have to just leave it up to people to find you on Google Maps though. You can embed the link into your website, Facebook and Twitter. Even put a link on your email signature.

If you are proud of your venue why not show it off. I think customers will feel more comfortable coming for the first time if they have been able to have a wander around our venue in private before they come.

The first question I asked was ‘How much?’ I was pleasantly surprised for less than £500 I had The Cloud Bar in Lincoln up and running, less than the cost of a one off advert in the local paper. The great thing is once it’s loaded, it’s loaded and there’s no ongoing fee to pay, unless you refit and therefore need it doing all over again.

So impressed I am with the views of my bar that I’m recommending venues I think would benefit to have their premises done. I think it’s best to get in early before everyone joins in.

You can take a look at my bar at bit.ly/QTQSqP or go to Google Maps and then search Cloud Bar Lincoln. You can see more examples at darrenjuggins.co.uk (look at the Land Rover showroom under success stories where you can get in and out of the cars!)

A word of caution though, if you do decide on having your premises done be careful though as if you have the photos done when your Christmas decorations are up it might look good now but you need to remember what it’ll look like 12 months of the year.


Kurnia down to a single outlet

Kurnia down to a single outlet 

Lincolnshire pub operator, Kurnia, has now successfully leased out its three coastal pubs in the seaside resort of Mablethorpe leaving The Cloud Bar in Lincoln as its last remaining trading outlet.

A decision was taken by director Michael Kheng earlier in the year to move the pubs over from trading to Kurnia’s property portfolio to free up time to enable Michael to concentrate on his successful consultancy company, Kurnia Licensing Consultants. The consultancy company formed over 8 years ago now takes up most of Michael’s time with a large client base spread throughout the country.

Impressed with pub estate agents Fleurets, Kurnia have now moved the sale of The Cloud Bar Lincoln to Fleurets to deal with. Kheng said ‘I was extremely impressed with Bob Whittle at Fleurets. We instructed Fleurets in March to market the three Mablethorpe pubs and within months we have tenants lined up to move in. The last tenant moved in this week so we have now placed our remaining trading outlet with them.’

Ends

Notes 

  1. The Kurnia Group are involved in the licensed trade in 3 aspects:
    1. Licensing Consultants, Kurnia Licensing Consultancy, which is one of the largest consultancy firms in Lincolnshire and have clients all throughout England. ( www.kurnia.co.uk )
    2. They are a BIIAB approved training centre approved to administer BIIAB qualifications specifically designed for the licensed trade ( www.biiab.org )
    3. Property company that includes licensed premises in Lincolnshire.
  1. Kurnia are members of the following organizations:
    1. The Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers ( www.almr.org.uk )
    2. The British Beer and Pub Association ( www.beerandpub.com )
    3. The British Institute of Innkeeping ( www.bii.org )
    4. The Institute of Licensing
    5. The All Party Parliamentary Beer Group

For further details please contact:
Michael Kheng CBii
Kurnia Licensing Consultants

01507 477481 / 07971 841273

mkheng@kurnia.co.uk

www.kurnia.co.uk


Change the action against under 18’s who purchase alcohol

Change the action against under 18’s who purchase alcohol

The licensed trade, especially the on trade, is always targeted & blamed for underage sales of alcohol yet the people under the age of 18 that commit a criminal act under the Licensing Act 2003 are never, or rarely, penalised.

We believe that if the police took action and/or issued fixed penalty notices (FPNDs) to the under 18s who attempt to purchase alcohol, or consume alcohol on licensed premises, then there would be a reduction in the number of under 18s committing these types of offences.

Many pubs and clubs invest heavily in preventing under age sales and the police and trading standards invest in testing premises, nothing however appears to happening to address the under 18’s that commit the crime. S149 of the Licensing Act 2003 is clear that an individual under 18 commits an offence if they buy or attempt to buy alcohol. If youngsters received FPNDs we are sure the problem licensees face would reduce.

Imagine. A 16 year old gets a FPND for £50. How quickly would the news of that spread? Can 16/17 year olds afford to risk getting a £50 fine?

It would make the licensees’ job a lot easier if this problem was tackled from both sides instead of always going after the easy target. A bar person can make a mistake if they sell alcohol to someone under 18, be it a simple mistake, a lapse in concentration. An under 18 however knows that if they purchase alcohol, attempt to purchase alcohol, or consume alcohol on licensed premises, they commit a criminal offence under the Licensing Act 2003. They clearly, 100%, break the law, no excuses. Similarly a person aged 18 or over commits a criminal offence if they purchase alcohol for someone under 18 to consume.

Action needs to be taken. If you agree please add your name to this petition. If we get 100,000 signatures then this matter could be debated in the House of Commons.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34321


HOME OFFICE GUIDANCE ON USE OF CLOSURE NOTICES UNLAWFUL

HOME OFFICE GUIDANCE ON USE OF CLOSURE NOTICES UNLAWFUL

The Home Secretary has submitted to a judgment in the High Court which establishes that Home Office Guidance on closure notices is unlawful. The Guidance was used by the Home Office and the Police to justify the immediate closure of premises trading in alleged breach of conditions on their licence. In what is thought to be a first, both the Home Office and the West Yorkshire Police have agreed to pay damages for their unlawful conduct.

The Claimant was represented by Michael Kheng, of Kurnia Licensing Consultants based in Lincolnshire, who instructed Philip Kolvin QC, head of the licensing team at Cornerstone Barristers and one of the UKs leading licensing QCs, and Sarah Clover, Barrister of No.5 Chambers, in the claim.

The case centered on guidance issued by the Home Office in November 2010 entitled “Practical Guide for Preventing and Dealing with Alcohol related Problems: What You Need to Know” (Third Edition).”

Appendix W stated:

“Q. What is the effect of a closure notice?

A. As soon as the closure notice has been issued all licensable activity must cease immediately (i.e. no sales of alcohol, no regulated entertainment).

Q. What can I do if the premise continues to sell alcohol after I have issued it with a S19 closure notice?

A. Anyone who sells alcohol after a closure notice has been issued and is in effect can be arrested or summonsed for the criminal offence under      s.136 of unlicensed activity.”

Relying on that guidance, in February 2011, West Yorkshire Police mounted a series of five enforcement actions against The Bank, Wakefield, either accompanied by Home Office officials or pursuant to training given by the Home Office. The Police served S19 closure notices and then immediately forced the Claimant through threats of arrest to the Designated Premises Supervisor to close the bar. The bar was duly closed on each occasion. The effect of the closure was the loss of profits both on the night of the closure and on subsequent trading nights too.

The Claimant brought a judicial review claim against both West Yorkshire Police and the Home Office, claiming that the Guidance, and the Police action in reliance on the Guidance, was wrong in law.

At the root of the claim was the allegation that closure notices served under section 19 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 are not closure orders. A closure notice merely warns the licensee that if the matter of breach is not rectified within 7 days the police may apply to the magistrates’ court for a closure order pursuant to section 20 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.

Further, the claim stated that while a breach of a licence condition is potentially a criminal offence under section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003, this does not automatically give rise to a power of arrest. The Claimant pointed out that arrest is governed by 24(5) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which provides strict conditions which have to be satisfied before a person may be arrested without a warrant. These include where the identity of the person arrested is unknown, where arrest is necessary to prevent a person suffering injury, or to prevent loss of or damage to property, to prevent an offence against public decency or unlawful obstruction of the highway, or harm to a child or a vulnerable person, or to allow prompt investigation of the offence to prevent disappearance of the person arrested. Obviously, it will only be in very rare circumstances that such conditions are satisfied in the case of breach of licence conditions by licensed premises.  None of them was satisfied in the case of the Bank.

The Bank also claimed that its human right to trade and to rely on its licence had been abused by the Police actions. The unlawful threats by West Yorkshire Police to arrest the Designated Premises Supervisor if the premises did not close amounted to an unlawful interference with that right. As a result of closing the Claimant suffered loss of profits on the nights of the closure and damage to the goodwill of its business. Accordingly, the Bank claimed damages pursuant to section 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and/or section 31(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

West Yorkshire Police conceded that the Guidance was unlawful, that its actions had been illegal and that it was liable to pay damages. The Home Office withdrew the on-line version of the Guidance and wrote to all Chief Constables pointing out the legal errors in the Guidance. However, the Claimant continued to pursue the claim, because a more public acknowledgment of the true effect of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 was required.

Mr. Justice Edwards-Stuart ruled that the Claimant was entitled to have recorded in a court order that the Guidance was unlawful.

The High Court has now approved a consent order requiring the Police and the Home Office to pay the Bank substantial undisclosed damages for loss of profit.

The order also records that the West Yorkshire Police and the Home Office accept that:

The service of a Closure Notice pursuant to section 19 of the Criminal Justice Police

Act 2001 does not:

  1. a.      Require the premises to close or cease selling alcohol immediately; or
  2. b.      Entitle the Police to require it to do so; or
  3. c.     Entitle the Police to arrest a person on the sole ground of non-compliance with the Notice.”

The Police and the Home Office also agreed to pay the Claimants’ costs.

Michael Kheng stated:

“This was a clear case of over-enforcement causing damage to the goodwill of a business, not to mention the intimidation felt by the licensee confronted by police officers requiring him to close there and then. My client and I felt it right to pursue this matter to a judgment, so that the legal position is clearly established, to protect future licensees from similar conduct. We are both hugely grateful to Philip Kolvin QC and Sarah Clover Barrister whose expertise was instrumental in bringing about this result.”


THE GOVERNMENT’S ALCOHOL REFORMS

THE GOVERNMENT’S ALCOHOL REFORMS

Introduction

The Government is determined to ensure that alcohol is no longer the driver of crime and disorder and unacceptable harms that it has been over the past decade. Nearly half of violent crime (almost a million crimes) is believed to be carried out by individuals under the influence of alcohol.[1] The Government has legislated via the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSR Act) to overhaul the Licensing Act 2003 and to rebalance it in favour of local communities. The new measures give the police and licensing authorities in England and Wales more local powers to tackle irresponsible premises and crack down on unacceptable sales of alcohol to children. Going forward, the Government’s new Alcohol Strategy sets out in more detail the wide range of action that it is taking to tackle the issue of excessive alcohol consumption.

Timing for commencing the alcohol provisions in the PRSR Act

The Government intends to bring into force all the PRSR Act alcohol reforms on 25 April 2012, except for those that require complex secondary legislation, including: early morning alcohol restriction orders (EMROs), the late night levy and locally set fees. We expect to introduce these measures in October 2012 or April 2013.

The measures intended for implementation on 25 April 2012 are as follows.

  • Sending out a strong message that the Government will not tolerate the sales of alcohol to children by doubling the fine for persistent underage sales to £20,000, and making it easier to shut down businesses found guilty. The new legislation also increases the period of voluntary closure, as an alternative to a fine, from 48 to 336 hours (Section 118 of the PRSR Act).
  • Giving licensing authorities (LAs) greater powers and flexibility by making them responsible authorities in their own right under the Licensing Act 2003. This gives them stronger powers to, for example, remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, premises that are causing problems without having to wait for the police or another responsible authority (section 103 of the PRSR Act).
  • Giving health bodies a greater say by making them “responsible authorities” so that they are automatically notified about new premises applications and can make representations, although these must be relevant to the existing statutory licensing objectives (Section 104).  Applies to Primary Care Trusts in England (primary health functions of local authorities after NHS reform) and Health Boards in Wales.
  • Increasing flexibility for, and reducing the burdens on, licensing authorities by lowering the evidence threshold for decisions made under the Licensing Act 2003 (sections 109 to 111 of PRSR Act).
  • Allowing licensing authorities to suspend premises licences due to non-payment of annual fees (section 120 of the PRSR Act).
  • Giving local residents a greater say by scrapping the ‘vicinity test’ so that anyone can make representations about licensing decisions regardless of whether they live close to the premises concerned and requiring LAs to publish more information on-line (Section 105 -108 of the PRSR Act and changes to Licensing Act Regulations 2005).
  • Reforming the system of Temporary Event Notices (TENs) to prevent it being exploited by unscrupulous operators e.g. allowing environmental health authorities (EHAs)  powers to object to a temporary event notice in addition to the police; extending the grounds on which the police and EHAs can object to all four of the statutory licensing objectives: crime and disorder; public safety; public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm; giving LAs the discretion to impose any existing licence conditions on a TEN if there are objections from the police or the EHA. Alongside this, reforming TENs to increase flexibility e.g. by extending the period that may be covered by a single TEN from 96 hours (four days) to 168 hours (seven days) and introducing a new process to allow a limited number of late TENs submitted up to five days before an event (sections 112 -117 of the PRSR Act).
  • Reducing the burden on LAs by changing the frequency for publication of Licensing Policy Statements from 3 to 5 years (section 122).
  • Adding various offences to the list of relevant offences at Schedule 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 – to be taken into account by LAs in granting new personal licences and, in the event of convictions, for the suspension and forfeiture of personal licences following convictions for relevant offences (section 123).
  • Requirement that the Secretary of State reviews the effect of amendments five years after their commencement (section 124 of the PRSR Act).

Statutory and other guidance

In April 2012, the Government also intends to issue new statutory guidance under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003. As announced in December 2010, it is also intended that the new guidance will include various other changes including express guidance to LAs to accept “reasonable representations” from the police; that cumulative impact policies will have a lower evidential hurdle for introduction; allowing LAs to adopt measures such as fixed or staggered closing times; and a requirement on licensing applicants to give greater consideration to the local area. The Home Office will also produce separate guidance for health bodies on their role as responsible authorities and is consulting representatives of health bodies in England and Wales on this. We will make preliminary guidance sheets available on the website as soon as possible. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/alcohol/licensing-act-next-steps/

PRSR Act measures for implementation later in 2012/13

The Government is in the process of consulting publicly on the detail of the two measures in the PRSR Act that specifically target problems of late night drinking – EMROs and the late night levy (section 119 and sections 125 to 139 of the PRSR Act).  The public consultation closes on 10 April and is available via the Home Office website. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/late-night-drinking/

The Government expects to introduce the secondary legislation on EMROs and the levy for commencement in October 2012. At that stage, it also intends to repeal the earlier legislation on Alcohol Disorder Zones at the same time. Further information about plans for the implementation of locally set licensing fees will also be available later this year.

Additional background

The Government’s response to the public consultation in December 2010 and a series of factsheets at the Bill stage that explain more on the policy aims behind the PRSR measures are available on the Home Office website.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/alcohol/rebalancing-consultation/

Alcohol team, Home Office, 23 March 2012


[1]   44% of all violent crime as perceived by victims. 928,000 violent crimes, British Crime Survey (BCS) 2010/11