Soin Bar in Denham is stripped of its licence after ‘complete disregard for the law’
A shisha bar based in Denham has been stripped of its licence following concerns and complaints by local residents and investigations led by Buckinghamshire Council and Thames Valley Police.
Fred Wilson, the Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at Buckinghamshire Council said: “There are hundreds of bars across all of Buckinghamshire who run their business legally and responsibly. We will do everything we can to support these local businesses, especially through the challenges they face because of Covid. However, in light of their complete disregard for the law, numerous illegal actions and the impact their actions have been having on local residents, we have taken robust action and revoked the licence at Soin Bar.”
The decision to revoke the licence follows a review hearing of Buckinghamshire Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee held last week. The decision notice, issued on 10 November, means that Soin Lounge at 74 Oxford Road, Denham, Uxbridge can no longer sell or keep alcohol at the premises.
Before reaching its final decision, the committee heard detailed evidence of numerous breaches and offences which included:
- a history of noise abatement notices served on the premises
- Complaints of noise and other disturbance from 23 separate households
- The two licence holders, Mr Moyn Uddin and Mr Abdul Ujjal repeatedly ignored legal notices requesting information which is a criminal offence
- They refused to discuss noise and disturbance with council officers and repeatedly refused to allow access to the premises even when presented with a legal warrant by council officers. Music equipment was also intentionally hidden.
- The licence holders were served with noise abatement notices on 28th August 2020. Amplifiers were hidden from the authorities and having been seized on 25th September 2020 were replaced by the management of the premises
- an unlawful extension at the back of the premises with “shutters” flouts planning regulations on a Grade 2 listed property, cannot contain the noise and contravenes the current premises licence
- Anti-social behaviour in and around the premises which included amongst other things urinating in public, sexual activity in public, smoking in a substantially enclosed space, foul language and dangerous driving
Subsequent visits by the council’s environmental health team between 16th October and 23rd October 2020 found
- Music from the Soin lounge structure audible beyond the site boundary
- Cars parked on the footway
- Alcohol being sold and exposed for sale illegally
- 10 patrons unlawfully smoking shisha pipes
In addition, police have seen inadequate Covid-19 control measures at the premises –including customers smoking both cigarettes and shisha pipes, no social distancing in place or being enforced and the premises still being open after 10pm in breach of Covid-19 rules.
Officers and police have been obstructed on multiple visits to the premises and noted a cavalier attitude towards complying with licence conditions. The police officer presenting evidence to the licensing panel stated that in his 22 years of service he had not seen many premises like this one where there was complete disregard for the law and the management had failed to work with the authorities.
Social media posted on 3rd November indicated that the premises were still selling alcohol. Cocktails were being advertised for sale and large groups of patrons were posing for photos – in contravention of Covid guidelines in place at that time they were neither wearing masks nor socially distanced.
The licence holder Mr Uddin and his solicitor did not contest or challenge the conclusive and overwhelming evidence presented to them. He demonstrated no remorse or regret for these events and how the quality of life of the local residents had diminished in this relatively short period.
The panel found the licence holder to be evasive, belligerent and inconsistent in his response to answers when being questioned by the responsible bodies and the panel. He denied his legal responsibilities despite having received training and holding a personal licence issued by the London Borough of Hillingdon. He was clearly not fit and proper to hold such a licence and had no understanding of or regard for licensing legislation.
The licensing panel were concerned for the welfare and well-being of the local residents and appreciated that they have had to cope with excessive noise, persistent and ongoing disturbance and general anti-social behaviour from patrons at the premises which the management made no attempt to control. Music could still be heard by residents even during the meeting.
The panel found the licence holder’s attitude to be cavalier and concluded that, given the lack of engagement with the relevant authorities, they felt that it was fair and proportionate to revoke the premises licence.
Mr Uddin made it clear at the hearing that he was prepared for the licence to be revoked and happy for the panel to take whatever action they thought fit. The decision can be appealed within 21 days.