Greenwich Council

Decision details

China Noodle, 21 Elm Terrace, London, SE9 5DW

Decision Maker: Licensing Review Sub-Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

Review of Premises Licence

for China Noodle Restaurant

21 Elm Terrace, London, SE9

 

In reaching its decision the Sub-Committee considered the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, the Licensing Act 2003, the Regulations made thereunder and the Statutory Guidance issued by the Secretary of State under S.182 of that Act. In discharging its functions the Sub-Committee did so with a view to promoting the licensing objectives and in particular the prevention of crime and disorder.

 

And having considered all written representations, evidence and submissions The Sub-Committee resolved to:

 

1.    Suspend the premises licence for a period of one month

2.    The Designated Premises Supervisor, Haifang Zheng, shall be removed from the premises licence

3.    The premises licence shall be modified by the addition of the following conditions:   

 

a)    The licence holder shall maintain a Register of all employees, including relatives, working at the premises. The register shall be made available upon demand to a police officer, an immigration officer, or an authorised officer of the Licensing Authority.

b)   The Register of Employees shall record the following information for each employee:

 

i.              Full name of employee;

ii.            A copy of the Passport photograph page or National Identity Card photograph;

iii.           Date employment commenced;

iv.           Date employment ended;

v.            Eligibility to work in the UK by inspection of passport and originals of the right to work in the UK documents;

vi.           Copies of passport and right to work in the UK documents shall be retained;

vii.          Signature of the Premises Licence Holder to confirm the documents inspected and date of inspection;

viii.        Signature of employee to confirm documents inspected by the licence holder and date of inspection

ix.           The employee’s residential address.

 

c)    The premises shall install and maintain a comprehensive CCTV system as per the minimum requirements of the Metropolitan Police. All public areas of the licensed premises, including all entry and exit points and the street environment shall be covered enabling frontal identification of every person entering in any light condition.

d)   The CCTV system shall continually record whilst the premises is open for licensable activities and during all times when customers remain on the premises.

e)   All CCTV recordings shall be stored for a minimum of 31 days with date and time stamping. Recordings shall be made available upon demand to a Police Officer, Immigration Officer or an Authorised Officer of the Licensing Authority.

f)     The CCTV system shall be upgraded and maintained according to Police recommendations

g)    A member of staff who is able to operate the CCTV system shall be present upon the premises at all times when the premises are open to the public. This staff member must be able to show recorded images upon demand to a Police Officer, Immigration Officer or Authorised Officer of the Licensing Authority and/or provide copies of recorded images as directed.

 

The Sub-Committee’s decision was based on issues raised concerning the prevention of crime and disorder.

 

Basis of Decision

 

The Licensing Sub-Committee (“LSC”) considered submissions from Daniel Twynam, on behalf the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Team (“IET”), as a Responsible Authority, in respect of its application for the revocation of the premises licence. The Home Office IET have been designated as a Responsible Authority because of the prevalence of illegal workers within the licencing trade.

 

The LSC were referred to the written submissions and witness statements of immigration officers of an inspection visit to China Noodle restaurant on 6th January 2019. During the course of the visit to the China Noodle premises, 3 individuals were found to be working and present in the UK illegally. All 3 individuals made an attempt to escape from the premises from the restaurant kitchen via the front entrance to the restaurant. The LSC found, as a fact, that the 3 individuals were warned to leave the premises by a female at the bar shouting to them in Chinese. Since the Home Office IET visit to the premises, one individual has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, all 3 individuals were working at the restaurant without the licence holder or the DPS checking their right to work or to be present in the UK. The LSC also gave great weight to the witness statements of the immigration officers as being both credible and truthful. The LSC also came to the conclusion that all 3 individuals were living in the first floor accommodation of the restaurant, notwithstanding the submissions on behalf of the licence holder. Mr Twynam also referred the LSC to paragraphs 12.27 and 12.28 of the section 182 Statutory Guidance, that where the crime prevention licensing objective is undermined, it is expected that the revocation of the licence, even in the first instance, should be seriously considered.

 

The LSC fully noted the obstructive and un-cooperative conduct of the Premises Licence Holder (“PLH”), his wife, his brother, the Designated Premises Supervisor, (“DPS”) and other staff, who were also abusive and aggressive towards the immigration officers, in particular the brother of the PLH had to be handcuffed and removed from the premises. The conduct of the DPS and the licence holder’s wife was also obstructive and officers were lied to in respect of the use of the first floor accommodation, with access being refused until the doors of the rooms were about to be forced open.    

 

The LSC also heard submissions from Sgt Henderson from the Police Licensing Team in Greenwich. The police fully supported the revocation application, the operators of the premises had fallen below the standards expected of those operating licenced premises, and that if the police had been present during the Home Office visit to the premises, and that there would have been arrests for public order offences. 

 

The LSC then heard submissions from Ms Rubens for the licence holder. Submissions were made in line with the letter from Sparrow & Trieu solicitors dated 12th March 2019.  Further, that one Penalty Notice which had been served by the Home Office relating to one worker, was being appealed, because her instructions were that he was not a worker, and  he was  the individual who had introduced the licence holder to the previous owner of the premises. The LSC also noted the submissions that the licence holder was apologetic for the aggression shown towards immigration officers; that there was a mix up because of language difficulty; and that the 3 individuals were not trying to run away but were trying to make the kitchen safe and turn off the gas, which contradicted the evidence of the Home Office. The PLH understood not to employee illegal workers and that Mr Cao, was not a worker at the premises. It was submitted by Ms Rubens that her instructions had now changed and the PLH states that none of the 3 individuals were working at the restaurant. 

 

The Chair of the LSC called the IET officer in the case, Faysal Ismail, to give formal evidence to clarify if individuals were trying to escape and were whether they were working.   

 

Mr Ismail confirmed the evidence in his witness statement; a female shouted to the rear of the premises and 3 men came running out towards the front trying to leave via the only exit, but were stopped. One gentleman was handcuffed because of his behaviour. Restaurant staff were instructed by IET officers to turn off gas and other appliances in the kitchen and this was then double checked by IET officers. Individuals were being continually abusive. The accommodation upstairs comprised of 3 rooms, containing 2 beds, 1 bed and 1 bed each respectively in each room. The LSC took note of the submission for the PLH that the rooms were rest rooms only and not being used to live in by anyone, and gave it very little weight in reaching its decision.

 

Ms Rubes submitted that it was accepted her clients had done wrong but that 2 individuals have been granted Visas. Mr Twynam confirmed that at the time of the inspection visit, none of the 3 individuals were legally in the UK but that one had, since the visit, been granted leave to remain and one Penalty Notice had been served upon the PLH.  Two of the individuals do not have leave to remain or work in the UK but are not being detained.

 

The Chair of the LSC informed the licence holder that the LSC had very seriously considered revoking the premises licence in accordance with the statutory guidance, notwithstanding that there were no previously reported problems with the licenced premises. Any further breaches of the licence would almost certainly result in the licence being revoked.

 

The Applicant, or any other person who made relevant representations to the application may appeal against the Council’s decision to the Magistrates’ Court. Such an appeal must be submitted to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date stated in the covering email/letter accompany the Notice of Decision.

 

 

Advisory Notes

 

1.    The suspension of this Premises Licence will begin immediately on the expiry of the permitted 21 days for appealing against this decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee, unless an appeal to the magistrates is made.

 

2.    No supply of alcohol or Provision of Late Night Refreshment is permitted during the suspension of the Premises Licence, for 1 month, unless an appeal to the magistrates is made 

 

3.    Ms Haifang Zheng will cease to be the Designated Premises Supervisor of the premises on the expiry of the permitted 21 days for appealing against this decision, unless an appeal to the magistrates is made

 

4.    It is an offence to supply or sell alcohol when there is no Designated Premises Supervisor appointed for the premises.

 

5.    Carrying on licensable activities otherwise than in accordance with a premises licence, or in accordance with the conditions of the premises licence, or other lawful authorisation, is a criminal offence.     

 

Publication date: 09/04/2019

Date of decision: 04/04/2019

Decided at meeting: 04/04/2019 - Licensing Review Sub-Committee

Accompanying Documents: