Town Council rejects objectors' call for an appeal against Ashby Ivanhoe FC licensing decision

By Graham Hill

16th Feb 2021 | Local News

Ashby de la Zouch Town Council has rejected a request to appeal against the licensing decision granted to Ashby Ivanhoe Football Club.

North West Leicestershire District Council permitted a variation to the premises' licence at their meeting of the licensing sub-committee last month.

The club applied to amend their hours from 10am-midnight every day of the week, to remove the conditions requiring non-match day events to be pre-booked - and limiting the number of non-match day events to 50 per year.

There was also an application from the club for live and recorded amplified music indoors and outdoors from mid-day to 11pm.

A resident on the Pennine Way estate, Mr Brian Everitt, supported by people living nearby, called for the town council to make an appeal because a number of residents felt the decision was wrong.

Among the reasons given was that the decision 'did not promote the licensing objectives as required by the Licensing Act of 2003' and that it 'undermines the council's own licensing policy'.

Residents have also produced a document which outlines where they feel the decision is flawed and an appeal was warranted.

It also stated there was 'ambiguity and confusion' in the meeting, stating that the applicant would be happy with an '11pm or even 10.30pm' closing time.

But Monday's extraordinary meeting of the licensing committee, which had opposed the application, suggested that the town council was being asked to play 'piggy in the middle' on a decision that had already been made at district council level.

It was also pointed out that any appeal would cost taxpayers' money.

Cllr John Deakin said: "Having a look at what the district council has put together in its decision, I am finding it difficult to see what is so unreasonable, or so irrational that any court would try and strike it out."

But Cllr David Bigby added: "The whole way this application has been treated by the district council leaves a lot to be desired.

"There's a lot of confusion with the way the applicant was allowed to change the conditions with regards to music when they didn't need to do it and it wasn't relevant.

"That in itself is grounds for appealing because the objectors, until the meeting, were not aware that the grounds had changed. All their concerns with regard to music are not relevant to the application.

"I think the district council should have worked more closely with the applicant to make sure he filled in his form correctly.

"Members will recall that he told us at the last meeting that he 'ticked all the boxes and hoped for the best'.

"That isn't the way to go about applying for licence modification.

If the district council had had some liaison with him before the meeting and get the application changed to something more sensible, then I'm sure it would've gone fair more smoothly and the objectors could've put a much stronger case."

But Cllr Mary Tuckey said that the town council was in between 'a rock and a hard place'.

She added: "While I have every sympathy with the residents, the costs surrounding an appeal are too risky.

That's my personal view. I'd like what we can do go to the district council and have it altered."

Stand-in committee chairman Cllr Graham Allman said: "We acknowledge it was a very poor application."

Council leader Cllr John Coxon added: "We're playing piggy in the middle. I'd have liked to have heard some proper words saying what the licensing committee did wrong.

"I do worry about the costs. Anybody who's dealt with lawyers knows how much they cost and how long this can go on for. It won't make good neighbours with the football club - if we go too far with this, we'll create bad feeling and things are never going to be right.

"People have the right to complain but have to explain what was being done wrong.

"It is a difficult call."

Cllr Mike Ball said: "I'm not clear what the grounds for an appeal would be."

A recorded vote among committee members resulted in the request being turned down by five votes to three.

However, residents were told by Cllr Allman that residents are within their rights to launch a separate appeal which could be financed by crowd funding if there is enough support.

The meeting was called because any appeal would have to be lodged before Thursday.

The district council had noted at its committee meeting that no complaints had been lodged since a licence was granted in 2012.

But it as noted that a number of nearby residents had been disturbed by music from the club before and after matches, but had been 'tolerant neighbours'.

However, at the district council meeting, representations were made by 30 residents - eight of whom spoke - as well as Ashby de la Zouch Town Council.

In correspondence, the district council was told by Mr Andrew Leeson that residents of Wrekin Close, Cambrian Way and Upper/Lower Packington Road felt there was grounds for the decision to be appealed against.

     

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