Licence of Shampan4 in Westerham Heights suspended

Published Friday, 17 July 2020

The licence of a restaurant in Westerham Heights has been suspended for 3 months following a licensing review.

The suspension of the Shampan4’s licence in Grays Road followed the Licensing Sub-Committee meeting in June. The application to review the Shampan4’s licence by the council’s licensing team followed a joint licensing, immigration, housing and police operation which took place in March 2020.

Whilst four members of staff were suspected of working illegally in the UK, with three arrested and one granted bail at the time, it was noted that there has been no conviction or recorded civil penalty, with the Civil Penalty Referral Notice being challenged and the Home Office investigation ongoing. Whilst if proven, this would be a breach of the immigration regulations which could result in harm to the Crime and Disorder Licensing Objective, the Licensing Sub-Committee felt it would be premature for them to make findings at this stage.

Nevertheless other concerns had also come to light, including maintenance issues and health and safety issues, with improvement notices being subsequently issued by the council.

The operation in March discovered evidence of at least 25 sleeping locations in different rooms on the first floor of the premises including wardrobes full of clothing, drawers with personal effects and at least 50 pairs of shoes. Whilst it was asserted that this was a resting area for staff, it was concluded that the premises should have been registered with the council as a House in Multiple Occupation. It was outlined that the property did not meet the council’s adopted standards and lacked adequate fire precautions for this use, posing a risk to the safety of all the occupants. The fire risk assessment provided to the council was largely incomplete and referred to a number of internal policies and inspections without evidence to indicate that they have been completed. The fire alarm system did not seem to have been maintained or tested.

Councillor Pauline Tunnicliffe, Chairman, General Purposes and Licensing Committee, who chaired the Licence Panel review meeting said, “It was a surprise, given the excellent reputation of the Shampan4 that this review was needed but it was right that we considered the evidence and observations that came forwards following the visit in March. The suspension of the licence shows just how seriously we have taken this. By ordering the maximum suspension allowed by law we hope all Licensees in the Borough will understand that we take the protection of the public very seriously and the council will not hesitate to take serious action against others when it has the evidence. I am hopeful that this gives the Shampan4 time to address the issues raised and work with the council so that we all have confidence going forwards.”

In addition to the other concerns, the lack of a proper log evidencing compliance with the licence condition that a Challenge 25 policy was in operation undermined the Licensing Objective of protection of children from harm.

The licence holder has a right of appeal against the suspension decision to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of the decision.

The Licensing Sub-Committee agenda and related papers along with the publication of the decision can be read in full and are published on the Council’s website.

ENDS

Editor’s notes: The decision by the Licensing Sub-Committee to suspend the licence was made having regard to the council’s own current Statement of Licensing Policy and the four licensing objectives, namely the prevention of crime and disorder; Public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm as outlined in Licensing Act 2003.

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