Agenda and minutes
Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices
Contact: Sophie McGough, Democracy Officer
ELECTION OF CHAIR
The sub-committee elected Councillor Seacome as Chair.
There were none.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were none.
These were accepted and signed as a true record, without amendment.
India Lounge, 12 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham
The Licensing Officer stated that the purpose of the meeting was to determine an application to transfer the premises licence for India Lounge to Mr Ali Ansar. An objection has been received from the Home Office, as responsible authority in relation to the application, for the following reason: in August 2016, the premises licence for the Indian Voojan, of which Mr Ansar is the licence holder, was subject to a review following an application submitted by Gloucestershire Constabulary, as a response to Home Office enforcement staff finding four illegal workers on the premises. As a result, the premises licence for Indian Voojan was suspended for four weeks, and a fine was imposed, £13,978.80 of which remains outstanding.
As set out at Para. 5.7 of the report, the prevention of crime includes the prevention of immigration crime, one element of which is the prevention of illegal working in licensed premises. The sub-committee is under a statutory duty to determine this application with a view to promoting the licensing objectives; the guidance identifies immigration-related offences as relevant to the ‘prevention of crime and disorder’ objective.
The sub-committee must determine the application on its individual merits, with regard to statutory guidance, the council’s licensing policy and representations received. They can consider:
- Granting the application as requested;
- Modifying the conditions attached to the licence; or
- Refusing the application.
At this stage, neither the members nor the applicant had any questions for the licensing officer, so Councillor Seacome invited Mr Ansar to state his case.
Mr Ansar said he learnt a big lesson from his experience at Indian Voojan in 2016. Since then, he has put a lot of measures in place to ensure he doesn’t make the same mistake again, following advice on the Home Office website to check closely the papers of potential staff and make sure that they have the legal right to work in the UK. He has recently taken on two new members of staff, and can provide proof of the measures he has taken.
Member questions to the applicant
Mr Ansar gave the following responses to Members’ initial questions:
- He has just become a co-director of India Lounge, which is why he has applied to take on the premises licence;
- He is paying the fine for employing illegal workers in monthly installments of £700 month; he has never missed a payment; he has £13, 978.80 still to pay;
- To explain the company structure arrangements around the group of restaurants, the Indian Voojan is his, opened in 2008; Mr Mannan (current licence holder at India Lounge) helped him acquire a second business, Soho Bar in Montpellier. Now he is looking to take on India Lounge. He has some interest in the buildings of other restaurants, such as Prima Vera, but not in the businesses themselves;
- His three businesses – Indian Voojan, Soho Bar, and India Lounge – are all independent entities, with no ties and with ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
ANY OTHER ITEMS THE CHAIRMAN DETERMINES TO BE URGENT AND WHICH REQUIRES A DECISION
There were none.