The applicant has applied for a new Premises Licence in respect of Moot Brew Co Limited, Court Farm, Pilgrims Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 1HR.
All responsible authorities have been consulted in line with the Licensing Act 2003.
A representation has been received from a member of the public.
The Senior Licensing Officer advised that the applicant had applied for:
Supply of Alcohol (on and off the premises)
Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
He confirmed that the application had been correctly advertised in the local press and notices displayed at the premises for the required period.
The Senior Licensing Officer further advised that in accordance with para. 9.14 of the Amended Guidance to the Licensing Act, permission had been granted by the Planning on 30 March 2022 (MC220240). The matter had been put to the Licensing Hearing Panel because the Council had received a representation relating to public safety and no agreement had been reached.
At this juncture, the Chairman declared that she and Councillor Hackwell were members of the Planning Committee but they were not involved in the decision of MC220240.
The Chairman invited the applicant to speak in support of their application.
Mr Patrick Smith advised that Moot Brew Co was a microbrewery, i.e. a small, independently owned brewery that crafted and produced its own beer. Like many small craft breweries which had similar designs, the focus of Moot Brew was on quality, not quantity.
Mr Smith added that the fundamentals of the Moot Brew business were built from the ground up to promote the four licensing objectives. Moot Brew was a destination for beer enthusiasts to learn about, and experience different flavours and profiles of craft beer, not a place to simply consume alcohol. Therefore, its customer base would be geared towards searching out premium experiences rather than excess consumption, and this would help in the prevention of crime and public nuisance. Moot Brew’s team had a significant amount of training and experience in the hospitality industry including health and safety practices enabling the company to be well equipped to prepare staff members to protect the public from harm. There were comprehensive tactics in place for each of the four licensing objectives, which were enshrined in Moot Brew’s business strategy.
In response to the objection raised, Mr Smith provided the following responses:
· The traffic movement of the Medway Valley was gradually becoming busier due to housing development, in addition to the need for larger agricultural vehicles to access the operating Court Farm and for delivery vans to reach the residents in the Valley;
· He walked his dog along the Pilgrims Road every day and never felt unsafe and vehicles only needed to reduce the speed and deploy some tactics at certain points of the road;
· Moot Brew was a specific niche, consumer-type business operating between 12 noon and 6 pm and its licence would not affect the quality of life or pose any danger or nuisance to the public. The application had received positive feedback generally from the community; and
· It was a small business and thus would not bring any meaningful impact on the overall traffic level.
The Chairman invited the objector, Mr Duncan King, to question the applicant. He presented his objection, making the following comments:
· He lived on the Pilgrims Road and observed that over 30 container trucks and lorries involving some 20 businesses were running daily to and from the Court Farm from 4 am to late evenings;
· He disagreed that the road was safe as he had witnessed near collisions along the track; and
· Given that its customers would be driving to the brewery, this would add extra traffic to the already busy road. Coupled with the effects of alcohol, this was of concern.
Responding to Panel members’ questions, the applicants advised the following:
· In addition to the bakery and farm shop, there was also a mechanics opening to the public. The remaining space of the building was taken up by private businesses with a different entrance but the total number was unknown;
· Moot Brew would be supplying craft, draft and can/bottled beer at the tech room and for the farm butchery. It was expecting to receive about 20 – 30 visitors per day during Monday to Thursday and 30 to 50 per day at weekends. The visitors might be local residents or walkers/cyclists who would visit Moot Brew before heading their next destinations; and
· It was envisaged that the business would attract customers who were visiting the butchers, bakers or florists so would not necessarily cause additional traffic.
Summing up, Mr King pointed out that although the private businesses were accessible via a different entrance, they used the same single track going up and down daily, and there were significant parking issues outside his property. He said that there was also a planning application for a Farmers’ Market which showed how much the site was developing. He considered it to be more like an industrial park.
Mr Smith referred to the planning permission for the relocation of the carpark to a more accessible location.
The Chairman advised that the decision would be available within 5 working days.
The Panel considered all the written evidence before it and the oral evidence presented at the meeting. It was satisfied with the steps the applicant would take to promote the licensing objectives and unanimously decided to grant a premises licence for Moot Brew Co Limited, Court Farm, Pilgrims Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 1HR, as applied for.