Agenda item

"14", Basement, Victory House, 14 Leicester Square, WC2 - SEV application




Site Name and Address


Licensing Reference Number


St James’s Ward / Core CAZ North

"14", Basement, Victory House, 14 Leicester Square, WC2

Variation – Sexual Entertainment Venue premises licence







Thursday 18 May 2017


Membership:            Councillor Melvyn Caplan (Chairman), Councillor Julia Alexander and Councillor Rita Begum


Legal Adviser:           Barry Panto

Policy Adviser:          Chris Wroe

Committee Officer:   Tristan Fieldsend

Presenting Officer:  Yolanda Wade


Representations:     Objecting to the Application:

Environmental Health, The Licensing Authority and The Metropolitan Police


Supporting the Application:

 Eight local businesses, one local resident, The Leicester Square Association and the Heart of London Business Alliance.



Present:         Mr Philip Kolvin QC (Barrister, representing the applicant), Ms Lana Tricker (on behalf of the applicant), Mr Simon Warr (Director, Applicant Company) Mr Ian Watson (Environmental Health), PC Toby Janes (Metropolitan Police), Mr David Sycamore (Licensing Authority) and Mr Fadil Maqedonci (local resident).


14, Basement, Victory House, 14 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7NG




Variation of a Sexual Entertainment Venue Premises Licence


The application was to vary the sexual entertainment venue premises licence to extend the hours for relevant entertainment Monday to Saturday 17:00 to 06:00 hours, Sunday 17:00 to 03:00 hours and Sunday before a Bank Holiday 17:00 to 06:00 hours. This involved a commencement hour that was three hours earlier across the week and a three hour increase in the terminal hour from 03.00 hours to 06.00 hours on the days following Monday to Wednesday evenings. It was also requested to restrict the capacity as follows




The maximum number of persons accommodated at any one time (excluding staff) shall not exceed the following:

a) Capacity of 250 (customers) until 2.00am

b) Capacity of 200 (customers) from 2.00am to 3.30am

c) Capacity of 100 (customers) from 3.30am until closing time




The maximum number of persons accommodated at any one time (excluding staff) shall not exceed the following:

a) Capacity of 250 (customers) until 2.00am

b) Capacity of 200 (customers) from 2.00am to 3.30am

c) Capacity of 100 (customers) from 3.30am to 4.30am

d) Capacity of 50 (customers) from 4.30am until closing time



Amendments to application advised at hearing:




Decision (including reasons if different from those set out in report):


The Sub-Committee considered an application by Number Fourteen (Management) Ltd for a variation of a premises licence in respect of “14”, Basement, Victory House, 14 Leicester Square, London.


The Chairman confirmed that the applicant had submitted two different applications for the premises, a variation of the premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003 and a variation of the Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) premises licence. With the agreement of all the parties present it was decided to hear both applications simultaneously.


The Licensing Officer provided an outline of the applications to the Sub-Committee and confirmed that the applicant had agreed to amend the hours for the sale of alcohol to 17:00 to 05:30 Monday to Saturday.


The Council’s Legal Adviser confirmed that a further amendment to condition 48 had been submitted by the applicant further restricting the capacity of the premises to:


  • Capacity of 200 (customers) until 02:00am
  • Capacity of 150 (customers) from 02:00am to 03:30am
  • Capacity of 100 (customers) from 03:30am to 04:30am
  • Capacity of 50 (customers) from 04:30am until closing time


At the request of the Sub-Committee the Council’s Policy Adviser set out the policy considerations for both applications. The premises was located in a Cumulative Impact Area (CIA) and within Policy CIP1, for certain types of premises, there was a presumption against granting an application. It was important to understand whether the application should be considered an exception to policy. There was a degree of overlap between policies PVC2 and MD2 but all premises located within a CIA had to demonstrate that the licensable activities carried on would not add to cumulative impact in the area. Whether the Sub-Committee came to the view that it needed to be demonstrated that the application was an exception to policy, in addition to a demonstration that it would not add to cumulative impact, depended on the view the Sub-Committee came to regarding what the activities at the premises actually constituted. If it was their opinion that it was a performance venue and the provision of alcohol was only provided ancillary to a performance then policy PVC2 would apply. If it came to the view that it was alcohol-led premises or that alcohol formed a significant part of the offer, or was not related to the provision of the entertainment, or did not rely on performance then it would be a premises where an exception had to be proved. To demonstrate that the application was an exception to policy it would be necessary for the applicant to show that the reasons for the policy would not be undermined and demonstrate that there would be no additional cumulative impact caused by the application on balance.


In response to a question from the applicants regarding the extension of hours to allow the premises to sell alcohol earlier in the day the Council’s Policy Adviser clarified that the policy did not distinguish on hours. However, it was generally accepted that within the context of the policy cumulative impact was an issue later in the evening after core hours.


Mr Kolvin, representing the applicant, explained that application was essentially in three parts. The first was the deletion of conditions 43 and 44 which related to works conditions and were now spent. The second centred on the bringing forward of the hours to 17:00 from 20:00. Given the venue currently traded with no impact on the local area there was no evidence against allowing the proposal. The earlier hours were being requested to attract local employees leaving work who wanted to relax in a lounge environment. The applicant believed that the earlier hours provided a suitable business opportunity. Thirdly, the application involved the request for later hours for licensable activities. Mr Kolvin circulated a revised table of the hours requested. The Sub-Committee’s attention was brought to Sundays where the terminal hour for the sale of alcohol would remain at 00:30 as currently operated. This was in acknowledgement of Sundays as a day when local residents could be expected to receive respite from additional noise in the local area. Longer hours for the sale of alcohol were being requested Monday to Thursday, 17:00 to 05:30 hours. In response to a question Mr Kolvin confirmed that alcohol could be served until 05:30 and customers could continue drinking until the premises closed. The sexual entrainment would continue until 06:00 however and this allowed for a ‘drinking-up’ period. Mr Kolvin confirmed that regarding the later hours requested several conditions had been suggested to provide reassurance it would uphold the licensing objectives. It was confirmed that the proposal was to extend the hours for the sale of alcohol in a CIA and therefore the application would be dealt with on the basis that exceptional circumstances had to be shown.


When the Sub-Committee originally granted the application in 2013 it was anticipated that the venue would have a low impact on the local area as it was recognised that sexual entertainment venues did not create significant levels of crime and disorder. It had been accepted that conditions could provide a basis for an exception to policy if they were able to constrain licensable activity and minimise cumulative impact. The exemplary record of the premises was proof that the Sub-Committee’s decision had proven to be correct. The applicant, Mr Walls, was an experienced operator and had ensured that the premises was a professional operation. The following points were raised as evidence of this: firstly the nature of the venue, it was a well-run premises which would remain a sexual entertainment venue. This was the reason why people frequented the premises and it would therefore continue not to add to any crime and disorder in the area. Secondly, the venue was of a very high quality. It was decorated to a very high specification to provide a lounge type environment. Thirdly was the high quality of the staff and management at the premises. There was a high ratio of staff to customers providing a high service environment and this ensured the good behaviour of customers. SIA’s were always in attendance however they operated more like meeters and greeters then security staff. Fourthly, it was emphasised that alcohol was ancillary to the entertainment provided. The price of alcoholic drinks was high, no draught beer was available and no promotions involving alcohol took place. The clientele at the venue were of an older nature, averaging between the ages of 35 and 55. Free tea and coffee was supplied to customers after 03:00 and this helped create the low-key conversational environment. Music levels were low and this allowed customers and dancers to engage with one another in conversation. Finally, the venue was not a mass occupancy premises. No queuing took place outside the premises, only five smokers were allowed outside and there was no rapid emptying of the premises. Previously the operation had been a nightclub which had caused considerable trouble to the responsible authorities. Since the applicants had purchased the premises and turned it into a sexual entertainment venue it was now a well-run operation which was having a positive impact on the area. No crime and disorder or nuisance complaints had been made since the premises opened seven years ago.


Mr Kolvin explained that there were no external images displaying the fact that the premises was a sexual entertainment venue. It was very discrete, the door was kept closed at all times and no external drinking was permitted. The venue did not affect the character of Leicester Square and had demonstrated it had been a good neighbour to local businesses and residents. It played an active role in keeping Leicester Square safe and no objections had been received from local residents, businesses or community associations. It was making a positive contribution to upholding the licensing objectives in the local area. For these reasons it was felt that the premises could be regarded as an exception to policy. The request for later hours did mean that the application was very similar to the application from Platinum Lace Gentleman’s Club made in 2011. That application was granted and allowed the premises to sell alcohol until 06:00 hours as it had been demonstrated it was an exception to policy. Platinum Lace requested a year later for the last entry to the premises to be extended to 04:00 and this had been granted based on the fact no objections had been received, and no issues reported. This provided empirical evidence of what happened when the precise extension requested was granted.  This provided the following, powerful pieces of evidence to support the application before the Sub-Committee:


  • The Platinum Lace experience;
  • The Sub-Committee’s findings in relation to the application by “14” made in 2013;
  • The experience of operating Temporary Event Notices (TENS) at the premises for the hours requested without any issues or concerns raised; and
  • The applicant was also proposing a tapered reduction in capacity from 02:00 which would help with the dispersal of customers.


The Sub-Committee was interested in how in practice the reduction in capacity would work? Mr Walls, representing the applicant company, advised that a count on how many customers were within the premises was maintained. This allowed staff to refuse entry to customers if required however it was very unusual to a have a high capacity later in the evening. Customers normally stayed in the premises for an average of 2 to 2.5 hours and the capacity was usually maintained through natural filtration. If the capacity was too high at a certain allocated hour then customers would be asked to leave, although this had never occurred.


In requesting the extension in hours Mr Kolvin highlighted the concessions being offered by the applicant to ensure the premises did not add to the cumulative impact in the area. The tapered limit on the capacity of the venue would help ensure there were no issues with the dispersal of customers. It was also proposed to only serve alcohol to customers who were seated after 03:00 to ensure the premises became even more low-key the later it operated. A taxi marshal would also be deployed from 03:00 to escort exiting customers’ to taxis, providing more guardianship in the local area. The Sub-Committee was reminded that the application was very similar to Platinum Lace’s except “14” would have half the capacity. The application had strong local support and there was actual evidence of the benign consequences of granting later hours for sexual entertainment venues.


Mr Kolvin suggested that the application would not have any impact on the local area. Extensive conditions were already attached to the licence, an additional security presence was proposed and the sale of alcohol would be ancillary to the entertainment provided. There was empirical evidence from Platinum Lace and the previous application submitted for “14” that it would promote the licensing objectives. The local support for the application, the tapered capacity limits and the successful operation of numerous TENS all made the application an exception to policy.


Mr Kolvin recognised that representations had been received from the responsible authorities. Environmental Health (EH) had submitted a standard representation based on that the later hours were likely to increase levels of nuisance. Evidence had been subsequently presented that this was not the case and no further evidence had been supplied by EH. The Licensing Authority had submitted a policy based representation and no further details had been provided. The Police had submitted a brief representation regarding cumulative impact which stated that further details would be forthcoming.


In response to a question Mr Walls confirmed that any events would be internal only and the cover charge to enter the premises was £20.


Mr Watson, representing Environmental Health, confirmed that the premises had not created any additional nuisance in the local area and had not been subject to any enforcement action. The previous premises had operated as a nightclub and had been an operation creating nuisance. The three aspects of the application were addressed:


  • No objections were raised to the removal of conditions 43 and 44;
  • With regards to the earlier hours requested the applicant had shown that it could operate in a discrete manner. No problems had been reported to EH and it was felt that earlier hours would not create any issues. No objections had been received from local businesses or residents. The licence was currently conditioned very heavily and alcohol would be ancillary to the premises operating as a sexual entertainment venue. The current operation was very professional unlike the previous operation which had been a dysfunctional nightclub.
  • Concerning the later hours requested the venue could currently operate until 06:00 hours as a sexual entertainment venue Monday to Saturday (though it was noted by the Sub-Committee that the SEV only operated until 06:00 on the days following Thursday to Saturday evenings). Other venues in the local area were not as heavily restricted and further restrictions in capacity would be introduced.


Mr Watson was of the opinion that the proposals would not increase levels of nuisance in the local area and the representation had been maintained to simply answer any questions the Sub-Committee may have had. In response to a question Mr Watson confirmed that as the licence was already heavily conditioned there were no further conditions he would add to the licence.


My Sycamore, representing the Licensing Authority, agreed that the conditions on the licence were sufficient. With regards to the earlier hours requested the character of the area had to be taken into account. The premises was discrete however the Sub-Committee had to consider if allowing a sexual entertainment venue to be open in a family location from 17:00 was appropriate. Concern was also expressed that allowing the later hours would result in additional people being located within a CIA after core hours. After 04:00 50 additional people would be in the CIA resulting in an increase in cumulative impact. Extending the last entry hour for customers to 04:00 had the potential to result in people remaining in the CIA longer before entering the premises.


PC Janes, representing the Metropolitan Police, confirmed that their representation was maintained on the grounds that the later hours applied for went beyond the core hours policy. PC Janes confirmed that the Police had no concerns over the premises opening at 17:00 hours. The Sub-Committee was advised that the venue was not a source of crime and disorder and had operated TENs without any issues arising. Only one incident had been reported in the last year and this related to a theft at the premises.


Mr Maqedonci, a local resident, explained that he lived on the south side of Leicester Square. Problems had been experienced when it had been previously operated as a nightclub however since the current owners had operated the premises all the problems had ceased. The venue was very discrete, no customers congregated outside the premises and it had a very positive impact on Leicester Square.


Mr Kolvin highlighted how a debate had taken place over the late last entry hour during the decision to grant the Platinum Lace application and no issues had arisen from granting it. The Sub-Committees attention was drawn to the evidence supplied which highlighted the premises was not having a negative impact on the area but was in fact having a positive impact on the Leicester Square area. If the Sub-Committee was satisfied if that was the case then it would be appropriate to grant the application as an exception to policy.


The Council’s Policy Adviser requested clarification on the nature and extent of vertical drinking which could occur at the venue. Mr Kolvin advised that there was a bar at the venue which allowed customers to stand, drink and watch the entertainment. Therefore there was the opportunity for vertical drinking but the premises was more setup to provide a seated lounge experience. If the Sub-Committee was minded to grant the later hours restrictions on capacity would be imposed, drinks would only be served after 03:00 to those customers seated and this would all create a safe, relaxed environment.


The Sub-Committee carefully considered the variation to the sexual entertainment venue application and recognised that (for the purposes of the variation to the licence held under the Licensing act 2003) the applicant had accepted that for the application to be granted it had to be demonstrated it was an exception to policy. The Sub-Committee acknowledged that the premises was professionally run and the applicant had significant experience in managing such an operation. The positive effect it was having on the local area was highlighted by the lack of objections received to the application and the numerous letters of support received by residents and businesses. The discrete nature of the venue was recognised and it was felt this made it appropriate for the local area especially bearing in mind that the previous operation had been a nightclub which had created significant disturbance to Leicester Square. In considering the application the Sub-Committee acknowledged that sexual entertainment venues generally caused fewer problems than other types of premises. The condition restricting the sale of alcohol to be ancillary to striptease entertainment, and with the venue only intended to operate as a sexual entertainment venue provided reassurance that the premises would not become alcohol-led.  The licence was already heavily conditioned to ensure the licensing objectives were upheld plus the proposed restrictions to the capacity of the venue would help ensure it would not add to cumulative impact in the area. This would be helped through the condition requiring a marshal to be deployed outside the venue from 03:00 to escort customers leaving the premises to taxis and help provide further guardianship in the area. These proposals would ensure there was a gradual and well managed dispersal of customers from the premises. No issues had also arisen from the operation of the TENS. The SEV policy provides that the licensing authority will generally grant an SEV licence for the hours authorised for other licensable activities under the Licensing Act 2003. The application did not give rise to any concerns about granting the variation in the locality where the premises was situated bearing in mind the evidence that had been received regarding the current operation of those premises and there were no other concerns about the use of premises in the vicinity or about the layout, character or condition of the venue itself.  As such, after careful consideration, the Sub-Committee agreed to grant the application accordingly.


The Sub-Committee agreed to amend or delete the following conditions in order to update the licence accordingly:


·         Additional Condition 1 (now numbered Condition 24) be amended to read: “The maximum number of persons accommodated at any one time (excluding staff) shall not exceed the following:


1. Capacity of 200 (customers) until 2.00am

2. Capacity of 150 (customers) from 2.00am to 3.30am

3. Capacity of 100 (customers) from 3.30am to 4.30am

4. Capacity of 50 (customers) from 4.30am until closing time


  • Removal of additional condition 12 from the licence (appearing as condition 35 on the current licence).


In reaching its decision, the members of the Licensing Sub-Committee had full regard to the Human Rights Act implications and the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out in the report. No specific points were raised about those matters at the hearing but the Sub-Committee was satisfied that there were no adverse implications and that the decision to grant the application was in accordance with its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.   



Conditions attached to the Licence

Standard Conditions for Sexual Entertainment Venue Premises


1.    Whilst Relevant Entertainment is taking place no person under the age of 18 shall be on the licensed premises and a clear notice to that effect shall be displayed at the entrance in a prominent position so that it can be easily read by persons entering the premises.


2.    Whenever persons under the age of 18 are admitted to the premises there will be no promotional or other material on display within the premises which depicts nudity or partial nudity.


3.    The licence or a clear copy shall be prominently displayed at all times so as to be readily and easily seen by all persons using the premises.


4.    No provision of relevant entertainment, or material depicting nudity or relevant entertainment, shall be visible from outside the premises.


5.    Menus and drinks price lists shall be clearly displayed at the front entrance of the club, reception area, tables and bar at such a position and size as to be easily read by customers. This price list shall show all consumable items and any minimum tariff including charges and fees applicable to Performers.


6.    Except with the consent of the Licensing Authority, no advertisements of any kind (including placard, poster, sticker, flyer, picture, letter, sign or other mark) shall be inscribed or affixed at the premises, on the surface of the highway or on any building, structure, works, street furniture, tree or any other property or be distributed in the street to the public that advertises or promotes the relevant entertainment at the premises.


7.    The licence holder or other person concerned in the conduct or management of the premises shall not seek to obtain custom by means of personal solicitation or touting, nor enter into any agreement with a third party to do so.


8.    Adequate toilets, washing and changing facilities for use by the Performers shall be provided.


9.    Either the licence holder or a named responsible person shall be present throughout the time the Relevant Entertainment takes place.


10.The premises will install and maintain a comprehensive CCTV system as per the minimum requirements of a Metropolitan Police Crime Prevention Officer that ensures all areas of the licensed premises are monitored including all entry and exit points will be covered enabling frontal identification of every person entering any light condition. All cameras shall continually record whilst the premises is open for licensable activities and during all times when customers remain on the premises. All recordings shall be stored for a minimum period of 31 days with date and time stamping. Recordings shall be made available immediately upon the request of Police or authorised officer throughout the preceding 31 day period together with facilities for viewing.


11.A staff member from the premises who is conversant with the operation of the CCTV system shall be on the premises at all times when the premises is open to the public and this staff member should be able to show Police recent data and footage with the absolute minimum of delay of the request.


12.An incident log shall be kept at the premises, and made available on request to the Licensing Authority or the Police, which will record the following:


(a) all crimes reported to the venue;

(b) all ejections of patrons;

(c) any complaints received;

(d) any incidents of disorder;

(e) seizures of drugs or offensive weapons;

(f) any faults in the CCTV system or searching equipment or scanning equipment;

(g) any refusal of the sale of alcohol;

(h) any visit by a relevant authority or emergency service;

(i) any breach of licence conditions reported by a Performer.


13.The licence holder shall produce a Code of Conduct setting out rules and obligations between the licence holder and performers whilst performing. All Performers shall sign the Code of Conduct in their proper name acknowledging that they have read, understood and are prepared to abide by the said Code of Conduct, and a copy so signed shall be retained by the licence holder and shall be readily available for inspection by the Police and/or authorised persons upon reasonable request.


14.Individual records shall be kept at the premises of the real names, stage names and addresses of all Performers working at the premises. The record will include either a copy of their birth certificate, current passport, EU driving licence or national identity card and shall be made immediately available for inspection by the Police and/or the Licensing Authority upon request.


15.Details of all work permits and/or immigration status relating to persons working at the premises shall be retained by the licence holder and be readily available for inspection by the Licensing Authority, a Police Officer or Immigration Officer.


16.Relevant entertainment shall be given only by Performers and the audience shall not be permitted to participate in the relevant entertainment.


17.There shall be no physical contact between Performers whilst performing.


18.Performers will not request or give out any telephone number, address or any other contact information from or to any customer. Any such information given by a customer shall be surrendered to the premises manager as soon as is practicable.


19.Relevant Entertainment shall take place only in the designated areas approved by the Licensing Authority as shown on the licence plan. Arrangements for access to the dressing room shall be maintained at all times whilst Relevant Entertainment is taking place and immediately thereafter.


20.Customers must remain fully clothed at all times. The Performer must not remove any of the customer’s clothing at any time.


21.Where relevant entertainment is provided in booths, or other areas of the premises where private performances are provided, the booth or area shall not have a door or other similar closure, the area shall be constantly monitored by CCTV, and access to the booth or other area shall be adequately supervised.


22.Whenever Relevant Entertainment is being provided there shall be no physical contact between Performers and customers or between customers and Performers except for the exchanging of money or tokens at the beginning or conclusion of the performance and only for the purpose of that performance. Clearly legible notices to this effect shall clearly be displayed in each private booth and in any performance area.


23.Performers must redress fully immediately after each performance.


Additional Conditions attached to Sexual Entertainment Venues Licence


24.The maximum number of persons accommodated at any one time (excluding staff) shall not exceed the following:


1. Capacity of 250 (customers) until 2.00am

2. Capacity of 200 (customers) from 2.00am to 3.30am

3. Capacity of 100 (customers) from 3.30am until 4.30 am

4. Capacity of 50 (customers) from 4.30am until closing time


25.All seating shall consist of tables and chairs arrangements and there shall be no cinema style seating.


26.SIA licensed security shall be posted in the parts of the premises where striptease / table / lap dancing is taking place.


27.All emergency doors shall be maintained effectively self-closing and not held open other than by an approved device.


28.The edges of the treads of steps and stairways shall be maintained so as to be conspicuous.


29.Curtains and hangings shall be arranged so as not to obstruct emergency signs.


30.The approved arrangements at the premises, including means of escape provisions, emergency warning equipment, the electrical installation and mechanical equipment, shall at all material times be maintained in good condition and full working order.


31.The means of escape provided for the premises shall be maintained unobstructed, free of trip hazards, be immediately available and clearly identified in accordance with the plans provided.


32.All exit doors shall be available at all material times without the use of a key, code, card or similar means.


33.Any special effects or mechanical installations shall be arranged and stored so as to minimise any risk to the safety of those using the premises. The following special effects will only be used on 10 days prior notice being given to the Licensing Authority where consent has not previously been given.


i. Pyrotechnics including fire works

ii. Firearms

iii. Lasers

iv. Explosives and highly flammable substances

v. Real flame

vi. Strobe lighting


34.No noise shall emanate from the premises nor vibration be transmitted through the structure of the premises which gives rise to a nuisance.


35.After 21.00 hours a log shall be maintained to ensure that the capacity limit set for the premises is recorded hourly and can be properly monitored. Information regarding the capacity will be given to an authorised officer or Police Officer on request.


36.The certificates listed below shall be submitted to the Licensing Authority upon written request.


Any emergency lighting battery or system

Any electrical installation

Any emergency warning system


37.No person shall give at the premises any exhibition, demonstration or performance of hypnotism, mesmerism or any similar act or process which produces or is intended to produce in any other person any form of induced sleep or trance in which susceptibility of the mind of that person to suggestion or direction is increased or intended to be increased.


NOTE: (1) This rule does not apply to exhibitions given under the provisions of Section 2(1A) and 5 of the Hypnotism Act 1952.


38.Door staff shall be employed at all times when the premises are open for licensable activity. There shall be a minimum of two door supervisors to be employed at the entrance of the premises after 8pm. All door supervisors at the entrance to wear high visibility jackets.



Supporting documents: