Attempts to obtain a premises licence for Palehouse Barn at Palehouse Common on the outskirts of Uckfield have failed.
The application was described by Framfield Parish Council as “preposterous” in comments sent to licensing panel before the meeting – see our report here.
The hearing took place last Friday (October 2) with a written decision from Wealden District Council’s licensing sub-committee following this week.
Reason for licence refusal
In refusing the application, the councillors said:
“Given the lack of detailed proposals and the inability of the applicant to set out how he would uphold the licensing objectives in any detail, the members were satisfied that the licence should, at this stage, be refused.
“They were satisfied, on balance, that this represented a proportionate and transparent decision based on the evidence before them.”
The applicant can appeal the decision at the magistrates’ court.
Fine dining experience
The sub-committee was told the request for a Premises Licence was to enable the applicants Robert Carter and his wife to formally operate their passion for fine food and drink, on a more commercial basis.
They had for many years entertained friends and family with fine dining, and believed that now was the time to expand that hobby into a business.
Guests would have to pre-book a table, and be invited to attend.
Mr Carter stated guests would not drive to the venue, and were likely to be driven by a driver, or by taxi, and so there would be no parking on the road as detailed in many of the letters of representation.
‘No community benefit’
Opposing the application, David Whitehead stated the application was lacking any real detail and should be refused, as it offered no community benefit.
Members considered their decision after the meeting was closed to the parties and the licensing officer.
The report states:
“In considering the application, the members had to find a balance between the commercial ambitions of the applicant, and the wellbeing of local people, but importantly that they were satisfied the applicant could uphold the licensing objectives.
Site susceptible to noise
“They were satisfied, on balance, that the immediate area around the Barn was significantly residential, and given the rural nature of the location, that it was very susceptible to noise issues and parking, given the low levels of ambient background noise in the evenings in such rural locations.
“The members were satisfied that the applicant had failed to detail any specific or detailed measures in relation to the four licensing objectives.
“Given the sensitivities evident at the location it was clear to the members there were shortcomings in the submissions from the applicant.
‘Woefully lacking in specific detail’
“The members believed that having heard at length from the applicant that his submissions were woefully lacking in any specific detail, and came across as statements of ambition for the business as opposed to the measures needed to uphold the licensing objectives in such a noise sensitive location.
“The extensive hours within the application had been abruptly reduced in the face of questions about measures appropriate to uphold the objectives.
“The members were satisfied, on balance, the proposed reduction was meaningless, given that the reality of the variable operational hours meant the application was unaltered in relation to the days and timings.
“This suggested to members that the application had not been properly or fully considered.
“The members were frustrated at the generalised statements, such as his customers were not the type of people who would make noise, without any consideration of what needed to be in place if that was not the case.
“The members were satisfied, on balance, that there was a potential for some public nuisance that had not been properly considered in the applications or in the submissions.
“The members were satisfied, on balance, that aspects of the letters of representation were genuine concerns that deserved to be addressed.
Application was ‘inadequate’
“However, the applicant seemed unable to recognise those concerns, and based upon the submissions made at the hearing, seemed incapable of outlining the measures needed to re-assure those concerns.
“This fundamental aspect of the application failed to satisfy the members the objectives could be upheld.”
The councillors went on to say they were clear that the application was “inadequate, lacked any specific detail or thoughtful preparation”.