Mr Horner, the Licensing Officer, was then invited to provide an introduction to the report. He first confirmed that all parties present at the hearing had had sufficient time to read their reports. Mr Horner then summarised the facts, relevant representations and matters relevant to the local authority licensing policy statement and statutory guidance in relation to the application, including the previous Summary Review. No questions were put to Mr Horner.
Police Inspector Ian Jones and solicitor Michelle Hazlewood gave brief comments of their support for the agreed Conditions to be added to the Premises’ Licence, as well as the agreed voluntary actions to be taken by the Premises.
Question and Discussions from Members and other parties included:
- Maximum capacity had been set at 499 because venues which had a capacity of 500 and over required Covid Passports. While the capacity had been set at 450 within the Interim Steps on 23 November, this was a temporary limit and needed to be practical for the business moving forward.
- There had been increased Police presence around the Premises and the incidents that occurred at the venue after its reopening had been standard incidents for a nightclub, rather than the serious incidents which triggered the Summary Review, and had been handled by the Premises well. Kent Police felt Marstons were being proactive regarding the situations which did arise.
- Marstons had taken the ongoing situation seriously and had learnt a lot.
- There had been significant improvements in CCTV quality and area coverage, but finetuning may still have been necessary.
- Marstons had found that customers were happy with new safety precautions, and especially female customers were pleased with the searches at the Premises entrance.
- Both Kent Police and Marstons asked for the Interim Steps to fall away, to be replaced by the new Conditions and voluntary actions
The Panel then retired to consider the Conditions and voluntary actions proposed and agreed between Kent Police and Marstons plc.