Hillingdon Council has rejected a plan for a new restaurant in Hayes after spending almost 90 minutes grilling the applicant who admitted his experience only extended to spending a few hours in a friend’s restaurant.
The applicant was also unable to explain the four objectives every licensee had to abide by, despite previously holding an alcohol licence for eight years.
During the almost hour-and-a-half hearing, the chair of the licensing sub-committee, Cllr Roy Chamdal, repeatedly asked Manmohan Singh Kapoor to describe the four licensing aims to the panel in a manner that felt like a quiz.
The four licensing objectives are: Prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance, and protection of children from harm.
Mr Kapoor had the right to sell alcohol in Hillingdon for eight years, having run an off-license from 2012-2020, however, councillors were sceptical about his knowledge.
Cllr Chamdal repeatedly asked the applicant to tell him the licencing objectives with it being unclear if Mr Kapoor didn’t understand or didn’t know. The legal advisor to the panel also interjected several times to tell the applicant, who admitted that his English wasn’t the best, to use his representative who could act as an interpreter.
Even with these interventions councillors on the panel did not seem convinced that he knew enough to be able to successfully achieve what they were looking for when handing out licences.
The applicant’s experience also came into question with Cllr Chamdal continuously querying his exposure to the industry and knowledge of running a restaurant. Mr Kapoor said he had spent several hours in his friend’s restaurant learning the ropes, however, this did seem to be enough to convince the panel.
Concerns about the plan were also raised by the ward councillor Darran Davies who suggested that the restaurant presented a risk to public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.
Patiently the panel picked apart Mr Kapoor’s plans eventually bringing his dream of opening the family restaurant to a halt. At points, the hearing felt more like a school exam than a licensing hearing with the length of the meeting reflective of both issues to do with the application and communication difficulties.
In his summing up of the application, the chair said that the panel had not felt that, despite the applicant holding a licence previously, he could properly demonstrate his knowledge of licensing objectives. Applicants who are rejected can challenge the decision in the magistrates’ court 21 days after receipt of the sub-committee’s ruling.