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BIRMINGHAM: Fire service objects to café’s licence

BIRMINGHAM: Fire service objects to café’s licence

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The fire service is objecting to a café and restaurant’s alcohol licence bid because it said staff had no plans in place for evacuation.

Owners at Masimo’s Café in Villa Road, Lozells, have applied for a licence to permit the sale of alcohol and late night refreshment until 12.30am on weekday nights and 1.30am on Friday and Saturday nights.

The proposed opening hours are 12 noon until 1am on weekday nights and 12 noon to 2am on Friday and Saturday and there are plans for outdoor seating according to the report to councillors.

West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council’s environmental protection unit and Cllr Mahmood Hussain (Lab, Birchfield) have objected to the application.

The matter will be discussed at a city council licensing sub-committee hearing next week and then decided on by city councillors who are members of the sub-committee.

Daniel Hodgkins, watch commander with Birmingham Fire Safety Team said: “I have visited the premises and there are some fire safety issues which will negatively affect the licensing objective of public safety if the licence application is granted in its current form.

“The responsible person could not provide or had no idea of occupancy figures, he also had no understanding of an evacuation strategy which would ensure safe use of this premises by relevant persons.

“Consequently, the fire authority hereby makes representation to the application.”

He said for the authority would not remove its representation unless evidence was provided of a “clear evacuation strategy” and “clear occupancy figures” as well as a fire risk assessment undertaken.

PC Ben Reader of West Midlands Police said the operation appears to be a shisha lounge.

He said: “This premises has historical non-compliance with Covid regulations and licensable activity. This undermines the public safety as well as the crime and disorder licence objectives.

“The area in which this application is being made is a high impact area for crime and ASB [antisocial behaviour]. The local neighbourhood team would object to a further licensed premises at this location as it may add to crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour.”

A representation was also made by Martin Key, environmental protection officer at the city council, who said the “fundamental issue is the late hour requested and the significant outdoor use”.

Cllr Hussain said: “I am writing to you in strong objection to the above premises license because as a ward councillor I am fully aware that this particular location already has lots of issues around anti-social behaviour, crime, litter, people hanging around urinating and drug dealing.

“There are already lots of shops selling alcohol in this location and by adding more to this road will cause increased antisocial behaviour as well as other unwanted issues in this area. This will have a huge impact for the residents, shoppers and other traders.

“This will cause and have a drain on the local resources for the police and council.”

The venue has stated in its application that staff will be trained in licensing law, a Challenge 25 policy will be in place and CCTV in operation.

In relation to public safety, the applicants said: “Suitable fire extinguishers, fire alarms and fire exits are maintained.

“I will fully support any directives received from the authorities.

“A fire risk assessment will be carried out and made available to responsible authorities.

“Floor staff will conduct physical sweep inside the premises to remove hazardous objects/waste as deemed necessary by the management.

“The designated premises supervisor is aware of his responsibilities by the staff and customers in respect of public safety and will take all reasonable steps to ensure the maintenance of all provided safety arrangements and equipment in accordance with the requirements of current installations.

“Fire exits will be maintained and kept clear.”

The licensing sub-committee hearing will be held on September 28 from 10am and can be viewed on the city council’s committee meetings YouTube page.

Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter

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