Solihull Licensing Team, Solihull Borough Council
Re: License variation application PREM996/20 The Strawberry Bank Hotel
Meriden Parish Council OBJECTS to this license variation application and details of the objections are listed below against the licensing objections:
Prevention of crime and disorder
The Parish Council has received emails regarding complaints of fights which have taken place at the establishment, the recent one being 22nd September, where The Parish Council have been informed that 20 members of the public were embroiled in a fight which led to three police cars, police dog unit and an ambulance having to attend the hotel.
While we applaud The Strawberry Bank for installing a fit for purpose cctv system, providing training for staff and and records to be kept, this is not a preventative measure. Additional licensable area has been applied for, for the sole purpose of increasing sales of alcohol. Cctv is only useful for evidential purposes only and cctv is. Increased sale of alcohol to increased volume of people who are drinking outside unsupervised can only lead to a higher risk of affray. CCTV at the local co op has not prevented a knife crime robbery at the co op for example.
As the license variation document states, The Strawberry Bank would be able to use the whole of the boundary area to hold events, specifically mentioned, the car park to hold community events.
Whilst The Parish Council supports business’s adapting due to COVID-19, this must not be in detriment to public safety. Meriden itself has very limited car parking spaces and has complaints regarding parking around the village, without any establishment operating events on precious car park space.
A recent planning application for an extension by The Strawberry Bank was recently objected to by Solihull Highways for a lack of increased car parking facilities for the increased 30 bedroom extension. (PL/2020/01407/PPFL) The complete removal of the car park at The Strawberry Bank for the purpose of a community event will only lead to increased on-street parking, potentially to the detriment of public highway safety, the operation of the local highway network and increasing frustrations of villagers and neighbours.
In addition, Meriden Parish Council has been forced to fund a traffic enforcement officer to enforce traffic regulation orders (TRO’s) around the village to try and improve the flow of traffic and mitigate any parking which falls foul of TRO’s. With the newly extended double yellow line restrictions that have been placed around the village and increasing housing developments that put extra strain on the road traffic network around the village, any reduction in car parking will naturally have a detrimental effect to public safety and other highway users.
Prevention of public nuisance
There have been several complaints made to the Parish Clerk and Cllr Allsopp regarding high levels of noise which has affected residents. Specifically weekend 29th August where large outdoor speakers were erected outside, in the beer garden. The noise started from lunch time and continued into the evening. In addition, three weeks prior the hotel started playing loud music outdoors.
There was a complaint made, number 141445 and dealt with by Diana Sheasby.
Anne Bettison also had a complaint of a similar nature, in which Liz Boobyer visited the premises on 13th August after receiving several complaints regarding noise. A discussion was had with the Duty Manager regarding the complaints and recommendations and measures should be implemented to reduce the noise level experienced by local residents.
Following a visit from PC Prescott and Dee Dialpuri from West Midlands Police, Mr Nick Windsor admitted noise had emanated from a live band they had for the first time and a lot of bass had been generated from the drums. Mr Nick Windsor stated they will no longer be having any live bands. He also advised that although they have a late notice, any music that is played ceases at 8pm.
The Parish Council has had sight of a nuisance log for noise complaints which a resident had filled in , dated 1st September, in which it details nuisance from noise on 29th August and 30th August described as “ excessive loud noise, live music” which affected the whole property on both occasions, and they couldn’t relax in their own home without the noise interfering and disrupting their lives. The establishment was approached by the resident to complain whist the noise was on going only to be told they couldn’t turn the noise down due to it being a ticketed event.
The proposed licensed boundary area is within feet of residential properties so persistent noise, smoke fumes will be a public nuisance.
Protection of children from harm
Children live in the properties close by and would hear swearing, have inhalation of cigarette smoke and see potential alcohol induced behaviours.
Increased traffic into and exiting the site could endanger pedestrians on the way to the park as this is a walking route from Leys Lane estate and the other residential properties.
Parking spaces would be non existent when events would be taking place on the car park, increasing road parking and increasing children’s risk of road traffic accidents.