Licensing chiefs need more time on ‘messy’ alcohol application

The meeting took place in Civic Hall, Leeds.
The meeting took place in Civic Hall, Leeds.

An application to serve alcohol at a premises in Rothwell was branded a “mess” by planning chiefs.

Plans for a premises licence for Deli 46 in Carlton Lane were heard at a council licensing sub-committee, as the applicant Atabak Karvani Dilmaghani wanted permission to serve alcohol on site.

But the meeting was beset by confusion over paperwork, raising issues over adult entertainment, whether children would be banned from the site and whether door staff would be used.

The applicant’s brother, Amir Kavarni, told the meeting: “We have been running premises in a number of locations without any complaints.

“We want to move alcohol from the shop floor to behind the counter. It is going to be a more controlled environment.

“It’s going to make it easier to not serve under-age alcohol.”

Mr Kavarni added that the premises would primarily be a coffee shop and a deli, and that alcohol sales would be “secondary”.

Chairing the meeting, Coun Gerald Wilkinson told the applicant they had filled out their application to say under-18s would not be allowed into the premises at any time.

This was put down to a mistake on the form.

They were also asked if the deli would have security staff on the door.

Mr Kavarni responded: “I have never been to a deli or coffee shop that has a doorman on.”

He was then informed that they had ticked a box on the ‘pro forma’ to say they would have door staff.

Officer Amy Taylor then said that the meeting should be partly heard in private to find out whether the applicants were assisted by a member of Leeds Council’s licensing team.

She added: “You should now go through that form to make sure you know clearly what you have applied for.”

Coun Wilkinson then asked: “As it stands at the moment the application is a complete mess – do you have a cellar?”

Mr Kavarni responded: “No.”

Coun Wilkinson replied: “Well you have ticked the box which says you have a cellar.”

Once the meeting reconvened. Coun Wilkinson also pointed out that the proposed opening hours for Friday and Saturday are the same as the licensing hours, adding it was impossible to serve a drink at the same time as closing the premises.

Mr Kavarni responded that it was likely the premises would likely close before 11pm on these evenings.

Local councillor Carmel Harrison (Lib Dem) told the meeting: “This was originally an application for a full blown restaurant.

“This was changed to a licensing application. We have heard today that they want to increase the footprint by stealth.

“The other concern I have is that the smoking area will be on green land round the shop. This is not part of the shop – this was provided for use of the community. Residents are suffering extreme nuisance because they have no off-street parking.

“This will increase the volume of traffic and parking in the area.”

Mr Kavarni summed up: “There are a lot of people in favour of this proposal – it takes a derelict-looking building and improves it for the community.

“We have been operating for 24 years in this area. And a lot of people are quite happy with the plans.

“We want mums and dads to pop in after dropping their kids off at school. It will attract local people. If they are local they will walk and not use their cars.”

He then confirmed he wanted to change the application to serve alcohol until 10pm, and to play recorded music until 10.30pm. He also confirmed door staff would not be employed.

An officer then told the applicants had ticked “a lot of boxes” related to activities of adult nature.

The application confirms the premises would not provide entertainment of a sexual or adult nature.

But boxes were ticked on the form claiming under-18s “will not be admitted to the premises at any time when entertainment of a sexual or adult nature is being provided”, and the applicants “would not display outside the premises photographs or other images which indicate and suggest that striptease or similar entertainment is taking place on the premises.”

Mr Kavarni told the meeting: “We are not going to have anything with adult nature – we would like to retract all of that.”

Coun Harrison then asked: “Would it not be more transparent for them to go back to square one and resubmit the application?”

Coun Wilkinson told the meeting: “This has been a very difficult application to consider. We need more time to come to a decision.”

He confirmed the response would be made in writing within five working days.