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Stack appeal dismissed

In a comprehensive reserved judgment running to some 68,500 words over 118 pages (excluding appendices), District Kate Judge Meek sitting at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court has dismissed the appeal of a trade objector against the grant of a premises licence to Stack, a “pop up” shopping mall with food-led and wet-led provision and an events space in central Newcastle. The appeal was brought by Endless Stretch Limited, the landlord of Harry's Bar and a corporate vehicle of longstanding Newcastle operator and Monaco resident, Joe Robertson.

The judgment will make interesting reading to licensing practitioners given the sheer range of issues the Judge was asked to deal with (helpfully set out in her judgment at paragraph 3, page 8), many of which have an interest beyond (to use a phrase from the expert report) “the micro-geography” of Newcastle upon Tyne.

They include:

  • the duties on an expert witness found in the “Cresswell Principles” (The Ikarian Reefer) and Kennedy v. Cordia (Services) LLP (see section G.2 at pages 13-28), including the requirements of independence and impartiality, competence as an expert, choice of methodology and other duties to the Court;

  • the information available to licensing committees (see section H.1 at pages 38-46) where there is attendance from of responsible authorities;

  • application plans, licensing conditions and their amendment during the application process, applying the principles of Taylor v. Manchester City Council (see section H.2 at pages 46-64);

  • the correct approach on appeal to alleged defects in procedure below, applying R (East Herts DC) v. North and East Herts Magistrates’ Court and Townlink (see paragraphs I.3 and I.18 at pages 113 and 116);

  • whether matters had been improperly delegated by the licensing sub-committee to council officers (see H.13 at pages 64-65);

  • cumulative impact policies (see H.5 at pages 72-77) and the relevance of style of operation (H.6 at pages 77-81), capacity and churn (H.7 at pages 81-89), previous operations on site (H.8 at pages 89-92) and elsewhere (H.9 at pages 92-99), clientele (H.10 at pages 99-100), location (H.11 at 100-101) and the experience of the operator (H.12 at pages 101-102) on likely cumulative impact (H.13 at pages 102-107);

  • the burden of proof on an appellant where a cumulative impact policy places a rebuttable presumption on the applicant below (see paragraphs E.6-7 at pages 10-11);

  • whether a trade objection motivated by financial concern and prosecuted in a particular fashion can properly be described as frivolous and vexatious (see H.14 at pages 107-111) or in breach of the prohibitions found in the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (see H.14 at 111-112).

I will be writing in more detail about some of these issues over the coming weeks.

I represented the Second Respondent, Danieli Holdings Limited. I was instructed by Sarah Smith of Sintons Solicitors LLP.

The judgment is linked at the top of this article and again HERE.

Charles Holland -

Licensing law, chancery/commercial litigation and property.

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