Following a brief adjournment at the request of the Lawyer,
the Chairman drew attention to the number of objectors in
attendance at the hearing from the Historic Rochester Residents
Association. He asked that where possible the objections of the
Association be channeled through one speaker. He stressed that this
did not prevent individual objectors from asking questions and
summing up but pointed out that it would make the hearing run
smoother if, at the point of making representations, these could be
made by one individual.
The Panel was advised that this application was
for a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) Licence for Tenshi 2,
located at 141 High Street, Rochester Kent ME1 1EL.
The Business Development and Licensing Manager
advised that the application had been correctly
advertised in the local press and notices displayed on the premises
for the required timescale.
The Business Development and
Licensing Manager advised that Licensing officers had
confirmed with the Council’s Planning Section that planning
permission had been granted for change of use from an indoor market
(Class A1 retail unit) to a bar /restaurant (mixed Class A3/A4 use)
on 10 May 2012 under planning application number MC/11/2932 with
operating hours of 08.00 to 23.00 Mondays to Saturdays and 10.00 to
22.00 on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The Panel received a report
advising that the premises already held a licence for the sale of
alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment but
that this licence had not been used since being granted in
The committee report stated
that as this premises was very long, it was now proposed that the
premises be split into two venues with shared toilet facilities.
The venue with main access from Rochester High Street would be a
bar/café/restaurant. The SEV would have main access from
Corporation Street, details of which were shown on a plan attached
to the committee report at Appendix A.
The applicant was seeking the
following hours/days to trade for the activities of lap dancing,
pole dancing, table dancing and stripping (including full
20.00 to 03.00
20.00 to 03.00
20.00 to 03.00
20.00 to 03.00
The Business Development and
Licensing Manager confirmed that the application had been referred to the Panel
for determination following receipt of relevant
The applicant stated the following in support of his
- The key issues to be considered for this
application were not the suitability of the applicant and the
operation of the premises but the location of the premises,
however, if any party had questions about the operation of the
premises then he was happy to answer them.
- The premises for which the licence was being
sought was not located on Rochester High Street and the plans on
pages 17 and 18 of the agenda showed that the location of the venue
was set back from the High Street. A photograph of the rear of the
property was circulated.
- The only shared area between the front and rear
venues would be the toilets, but it was not intended that either
venue would be open at the same time. Regardless of this, it was
intended that the access doors to the toilets would be specially
fitted with electronic door locks, thus preventing access from one
venue to the other.
- The Council had set a limit of 2 SEV Licences
in the Rochester area and, following another premises recently
deciding to cease holding such licence, the opportunity had been
taken to apply for the licence to operate part of this venue for
Sexual Entertainment. The applicant considered that there was
sufficient demand for this type of entertainment.
- Considerable investment was required at these
premises and therefore the Licence was being sought to make such
investment a viable option.
- Any signage would require approval of the
- The applicant had set up a petition which had
over 200 signatures the majority indicated that they were not
bothered about the proposal for the premises to have a SEV Licence
provided that the premises were properly operated, licenced and
regulated. Individuals had commented that it was up to the
individual as to whether or not they visited the
- It was not considered that the provision of a
second premises licensed as a SEV would harm the attraction of
tourists to Rochester as Brighton had several of these types of
venues and yet was still attractive to tourists.
- Concerns regarding crime and disorder being
associated with this type of premises was not substantiated in
respect of similar premises operated by the applicant in Rochester
and Essex. The applicant considered that premises licensed for
Sexual Entertainment generally had a lower level of crime
associated with them than premises that were largely supplying
- There were other premises in and around the
High Street that could operate similar types of events up to 11
times per year.
- The applicant had not received any complaints
from the Council in 18 years of managing the Casino Rooms in
- The recent changes requiring a licence to
operate a SEV had highlighted an activity that was always in
existence and was well regulated.
- The original conditions did require some
refinement and these were now fully clarified in the agenda papers
at Appendix D.
- It was stressed that should the SEV Licence be
granted, it would not be possible for the licence to be transferred
without an application to transfer being applied for and
The Objectors and the Panel then asked a number of
questions and the applicant responded as follows:
- The doors leading to the shared toilets would
be key coded doors and locked by a controlling magnet. This would
prevent access from one venue to the other. In addition, the
premises for which a SEV Licence was being sought would operate on
later hours than the bar/café/restaurant which would be
primarily open during the day.
- Reference to ‘upstairs’ in
guideline number 18 on page 33 of the agenda papers was an error
and should be deleted.
- If the applicant was of the opinion that such
venues had an impact on crime and disorder, they would not be
applying for the licence. The applicant has held a SEV licence for
one year at another location in Rochester.
- It was acknowledged that despite holding a SEV
licence for one year at the other Rochester venue, the premises had
only been operating as a SEV since April 2013, however, it was
pointed out that the applicant was still entitled to hold up to 11
events in any one year.
- In response to concerns regarding advertising
for Tenshi 1 , the applicant explained the circumstances that had
led to the Council issuing a warning regarding the display of
notices for Tenshi 1. It was considered that this had been an
unfortunate incident and the applicant had learnt from
- The applicant stated that if a second SEV
Licence was to be granted for Rochester, he hoped that there would
be a preference for the operator to be someone who has made
substantial investment in the area, rather than an individual
coming in from outside.
- The applicant clarified that the premises
fronting onto Rochester High Street would be operating in the
daytime and early evening as a café/bar/restaurant and that
the area of the premises for which the SEV was being sought and
which fronted onto Corporation Street would be open on Wednesdays,
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday’s from 20.00 hours. He
explained that the bar/care/restaurant area would normally close
around 7pm but there may be occasions when the
café/bar/restaurant area may be opened later in the evening
to cater for special events e.g. hen parties and it was on such
occasions that the applicant would have a duty of care to protect
people at either venue, hence the proposals to install a secure
locking system to the toilets. Such controls would be in use
between 20.00 – 03.00 when the SEV licence was in
- It was confirmed that the hours requested for
the SEV Licence were the same as that operated at Tenshi 1 and also
the same as those previously operated by the Queen Charlotte Public
House when it had operated a SEV licence. He confirmed that Sexual
Entertainment would begin at around 9.30pm.
- Access to the entertainments area in Tenshi 2
would be inside the building, through a lobby and shielded by
- Patrons would be directed to the back of the
premises to the entrance in Corporation Street and no signs would
be sited in Rochester High Street.
- The outside smoking area would be in a 2m high
enclosure so as to prevent noise breakout. The applicant was aware
of the need to avoid public nuisance and it was not unusual for the
applicant to limit the number of patrons allowed outside to smoke
at any one time.
- In response to a question as to the location of
Tenshi 1, it was clarified that Tenshi 1 was located at the Casino
Rooms in Blue Boar Lane and Corporation Street and was
approximately 20 – 30 yards away from the proposed Tenshi
- In respect of advertising in the café
area, it was confirmed that if the SEV Licence was approved, there
was a condition that the applicant could not advertise without
seeking the Council’s consent. Any advertising in the
café area would be minimalistic and text based. Reference
was made to proposed condition 12 on pages 59 – 62 of the
agenda papers concerning advertising.
- The nearest taxi ranks are located in Blue Boar
Lane and at the Railway Station.
- In response to how the applicant deals with
feedback received, the applicant explained that he had had meetings
with Councillor Tolhurst regarding concerns relating to advertising
and arising from that meeting the proposed conditions for a SEV
licence had been re-worded so that they could be enforced by the
Council and more easily understood by the operator. He stressed
that any other person having concerns were encouraged to contact
the applicant via the venue. He suggested that if the Council
required the applicant to hold a register of concerns raised with
the operator and how these were handled, he was happy for this to
be an additional condition. The applicant stressed that this was
not solely to do with the SEV Licence application, but the
applicant operated an open door policy generally for all premises
which he operated.
- It was stressed that despite applications being
for set hours, it was not always the case that the premises would
be open for the full hours stated. However, having the hours
approved provided the applicant with flexibility, for example
Tenshi 1 currently opened at 9.30pm.
- Challenge 25 enables an operator to challenge
anyone that looked to be under the age of 25 years of age. It was
clarified that all bar staff, glass collectors and cloakroom
assistants would need to provide proof that they were over 18 years
of age. The applicant explained that as an employer, the company
was under a duty to vet any person working in the premises as the
duties involved nighttime working. It was also confirmed that any
person joining the company would receive full induction so that
they were clear as to where they were coming to work.
- There would be 16 CCTV cameras located at the
premises with monitors feeding back to the office. The cameras
could also be monitored in reception so that the Council could
inspect what was happening without the need to enter the premises
where the activities were taking place. Security monitors would
also be provided. This system would also be linked to the phone
- The applicant explained the levels of staff
monitoring when private dancing was taking place.
- It was confirmed that the applicant was fully
aware that the premises could not operate under its SEV licence
unless a nominated duty manager was on site at all times, and, if
an emergency arose which meant that the nominated duty manager had
to leave, another nominated duty manager would have to take over
for Sexual Entertainment to continue.
- It was anticipated that the area of the
premises licensed for Sexual Entertainment would occupy between 60
– 70 persons but in reality there would be a maximum of
between 40 – 50 persons at any one time.
- In respect of staffing, it was confirmed that
both the applicants in attendance at the hearing were registered
door supervisors and there would be one person inside the premises
and 1 located on the door.
- The applicant confirmed that the company
operated an incident and refusals book at its premises and worked
closely with the Police in this respect. It was confirmed that the
company had a zero tolerance policy towards persons under the
influence and if they were considered to be intoxicated then they
would be requested to leave. The applicant stated that as they had
a duty of care for their customers, the company would also arrange
taxi’s to take people home.
- It was confirmed that should a Sexual
Entertainment performer arrive for work intoxicated they would not
be permitted to perform and there would be the usual procedures of
verbal and written warnings followed by possible dismissal. In some
circumstances the individual may be automatically dismissed. The
applicant confirmed that if it was a drugs issue then the
individual would be dismissed and not permitted back onto the
property and the matter would be referred to the
- Access to the performer’s changing room
facilities would be by way of a separate locked door to which the
Manager would have access. A camera would be sited in the changing
rooms but would not be on public display.
- The applicant confirmed that most staff
finished work at the same time but if a member of staff requested
that they be escorted to their car then this would be
- All staff would be made aware of the hours of
work at interviews so that they could be aware of their need to
travel home after work.
- From research undertaken by Universities around
the country, 50 % of persons asked considered nuisance to be caused
by pubs and clubs whereas only 15 % considered lap dancing clubs to
be a source of nuisance.
- The Chinese sign for Tenshi translates as Angel
and this logo is currently used at other Tenshi premises. As
existing Tenshi Clubs had oriental patrons, it was not considered
to be offensive to the Chinese community.
In response to concerns that the Council had
placed a limit on two SEV licences being granted in Rochester and
if the current application was approved, the same operator would
hold both Rochester SEV licences, the Business Development and
Licensing Manager advised that each licence was for a 12 month
period and therefore there was nothing to prevent anyone applying
for a SEV Licence at any time.
The Legal Advisor to the Panel
explained that even though the Council had stipulated that there
should be a limit of 2 SEV Licences granted for the Rochester area,
this did not prevent other applicants from applying for a SEV
Licence. The Council would still be required to consider each
application on its merits.
The Legal Advisor to the Panel also confirmed that
Tenshi 1’s SEV was held by Casino Properties and the current
application was in the name of Lovellrise and these were two
different registered companies, despite having the same Directors
and Trustees. He advised that the issue of a monopoly was not an
issue relevant for the purposes of considering SEV Licence
In response to a question as to the age of
performers, the Legal Advisor to the Panel clarified that as long
as performers were over the age of 18 they could perform at a premises with a SEV Licence. However, he
stressed that this was not an issue for the Panel to consider and
the applicant had confirmed that he would undertake the necessary
checks on age as an employer.
The objectors then outlined the basis of their
representations as follows:
- Councillor Tolhurst referred to the applicants
submission that from a survey, a large proportion of people were
not opposed to the siting of another SEV in Rochester but she
stated that her email system and the level of telephone calls she
had received indicated otherwise.
- It was not appropriate to compare Rochester
with Brighton as they were not of a comparable size.
- The proposed Tenshi 2 is in very close
proximity to the existing Tenshi 1 and Tenshi 1 has only been open
for business for a couple of weeks. It was therefore difficult to
assess the impact that this Club has had.
- Concern that the entrance to Tenshi 2 will be
on Corporation Street and there are elderly residents living
opposite the entrance whereas Rochester High Street is covered by
- The area surrounding the proposed location of
Tenshi 2 is highly populated with residential accommodation,
including families with young children.
- The Adult Education Centre is located adjacent
and evening courses are run at the Centre.
- To locate a second lap dancing club in
Rochester will make Rochester the lap dancing centre of Kent and
this will have a detrimental affect on tourism.
- Concerns that the signage and advertising for
Tenshi 1 had been greater than was originally thought, therefore if
Tenshi 2 is granted a licence, there should be tighter controls on
- The siting of two SEV’s in Rochester in
close proximity is unfair to the residents that live in the
locality especially as the patrons of these establishments are
probably not residents of the area.
- Concerns that the proposed smoking area will
have an affect on nearby residents and generate noise
- There is already one SEV in the locality of
Rochester High Street and to site two SEV’s in the area would
alter the image of Rochester.
- If there are long delays in the opening of
Tenshi 2 as in the case of Tenshi 1, with the limit of two SEV
licences in Rochester, this prevents anyone else applying for a
licence to operate a SEV for an alternative location at the other
end of the High Street away from Tenshi 1.
- Whilst it is accepted that the Queen Charlotte
Public House staged Sexual Entertainments for a number of years,
this was very low key and Tenshi 2 would be a bigger operation. In
addition Tenshi 2 would be located in closer proximity to Tenshi 1
than the Queen Charlotte.
- Concern that taxi cabs will pull up on double
yellow lines to drop off and collect patrons and that this could
- The committee report refers to residential
properties in Corporation Street being demolished to make way for
the Railway Station but this is not true as there are elderly
residents living opposite the proposed premises.
- The Historic Rochester Residents Association
have been running an online petition to be presented at this
hearing and in excess of 200 people have signed the petition
objecting to the application for a SEV Licence for Tenshi
- Residents living in the vicinity of the High
Street were not opposed to the evening economy, but objected to the
night time economy where customers arrive at between 9 – 10
pm and did not leave until 2 – 3 am.
- Residents in Rochester live in old properties
located in a Conservation Area and therefore were not permitted to
install double glazing.
- Concerns that the Council actively promotes the
High Street for tourism and to families through the various
festivals that it stages throughout the year and with the location
of one nightclub and a SEV, it was not considered that there should
be a second SEV.
- Concerns that many people will not visit
Rochester in the evening.
- Concerns that Tenshi 2 is located in an area of
historic importance with the location of Rochester Cathedral,
Rochester Castle, Eastgate House, and Dickens Chalet in addition to
other listed buildings.
- To be able to award two SEV Licences in
Rochester is not a reason to do so.
- The Council is planning substantial
regeneration of the Rochester with the development of high quality
housing as part of Rochester Riverside and this will increaser the
number of families in the area that would be exposed to signage for
- Approximately 200 coaches drop off tourists in
Rochester each day and the first thing tourists will see will be
signs for a SEV.
- The siting of a second SEV in the High Street
could impact on economic investment in the town and could deter new
businesses from locating in the High Street.
- The location of the premises will be close to a
bus stop and other evening businesses e.g. restaurants and users of
the bus stop and restaurants will be in the vicinity of Tenshi 2
when the club is operational.
- Concerns that patrons will become sexually
aroused by entertainment in the club and then go outside the
building for a cigarette where they will be in close contact with
young women who may also be in the area e.g. at the bus stop. This
could lead to potential for harassment.
- Concerns that the entrance to the premises is
located nearer to the highway than that stated in the Council
- Whilst the applicant states that he is willing
to listen to feedback, not everyone feels comfortable in making
- The Kent Online statistics indicated that 46%
were against the application, 24% had no problems but would not
visit the premises, 18% stated that they may visit the premises and
11 % indicated that they didn’t know or didn’t care.
The Association did not realize that they would not be permitted to
present the findings of their petition at the appeal hearing today
but they would ensure that this was borne in mind in the
The Legal Advisor to the Panel clarified for both
the applicant and the Historic Rochester Residents Association that
Paragraph 19.6 of the Statement of Policy in respect of Sex
Establishments required all copies of documents to be submitted to
the Licensing Manager a minimum of one working day prior to the
hearing taking place. Therefore both petitions referred to by the
applicant and the Historic Rochester Resident’s Association
had not been supplied in time to be considered at this appeal
hearing. He stated that the Panel would need to be mindful of the
weight to be given to the petitions when reaching its
The Chairman confirmed that he did not consider it
necessary to see the petitions.
The applicant responded by stating
- In response to concerns regarding signage at
Tenshi 1, the applicant has not sought any further signage than was
originally asked for and flyers are not produced for this
- The applicant advised that whilst he accepted
that Councillor Tolhurst was representing her constituents, their
business was also located in her Ward and therefore she was also
the Ward Councillor for businesses operating in the
- The applicant was part of the town of Rochester
and therefore considered it better that he operate the business and
he requested that this be taken into consideration.
- It was not considered that Tenshi 2 would deter
tourists as the premises would not be open until the evening and
all activities would be taking place behind closed doors and out of
- All signage would be the subject of planning
permission and conditions set by the Council.
The Panel carefully
considered the application for a Sexual Entertainments Venue
Licence at Tenshi 2 located at 141 High Street, Rochester having
regard to the points put forward by the applicants and objectors,
including the Ward Councillor and the responses to
In reaching its
decision, the Panel had regard to paragraphs 19 and 20 of the
Council’s Statement of Licensing in respect of Sexual
The Panel decided to
refuse the application for the following reasons:
The Panel was
satisfied that the applicant was suitable, that it was to be
carried out by the applicant itself and the application did not
exceed the number of Sexual Entertainment Venue Licences in the
area. However, the Panel considered that the
premises was not suitable to be licensed for Sexual
Entertainmentsgiven the size and
predominant use of 141 High Street as an Sexual Entertainment Venue
as well as its proximity to community facilities such as the
adjacent Adult Education Centre, which is also used as a library,
its proximity to the bus stop on Corporation Street and its
proximity to Tenshi1 which is also operating under a Sexual
Entertainments Venue licence, as strongly evidenced by the
objectors, including the Ward Councillor.
The Panel was also
swayed that the egress to Tenshi 2 would be directly opposite to
residential premises that are primarily occupied by the
The Panel considered
evidence presented concerning the Queen Charlotte’s previous
SEV Licence. However, the Panel differentiated between the Queen
Charlotte and Tenshi 2 on the basis of the different combination of
size and predominant use.
egress to Tenshi 2 would be approximately 50 yards along the same
stretch of road to Tenshi 1, whereas the Queen Charlotte was
located further away and on a different road to Tenshi
Given the above, the
Panel felt that it could not issue the SEV licence even with the
conditions proffered by the applicant and therefore the application