Agenda item

Vapiano, 84-86 Wardour Street, W1



Ward/ Cumulative Impact Area

Site Name and Address


Licensing Reference Number


West End Ward / West End Cumulative impact area

Vapiano, 84-86 Wardour Street, W1

Variation of a Premises Licence







Thursday 10th May 2018


Membership:            Councillor Tim Mitchell (Chairman) and Councillor Heather Acton


Legal Adviser:           Horatio Chance

Policy Adviser:          Chris Wroe

Committee Officer:   Tristan Fieldsend

Presenting Officers:Simone Murray


Relevant Representations:     The Licensing Authority, Environmental Health, Councillor Jonathan Glanz (West End Ward Councillor), The Soho Society, The Meard and Dean Streets Residents Association and Four Local Residents


Present: Mr Niall McCann (Solicitor, representing the Applicant), Ms Vikki O’Neill (Marketing Director, representing the Applicant Company), Miss Heidi Lawrance (Licensing Authority), Mr Dave Nevitt (Environmental Health) and Mr Richard Brown (Solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau Licensing Advice Project, representing The Soho Society, The Meard and Dean Streets Residents Association and Philip Antscherl)


Vapiano, 84-86 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TG (“The Premises”)




Conditions being Varied, Added or Removed




Condition 26


There shall be no take away of hot food and hot drinks after 23:00.



Condition 27


There shall be no sales of alcohol for consumption off the premises, save for persons who have dined at the premises.




Add the Following Condition:




Condition 11


There shall be no take away of hot food and hot drinks for immediate consumption after 23:00.


Condition 27


There shall be no seals of alcohol for consumption off the premises, save for persons who have dined at the premises or are being delivered a substantial table meal to a bona fide address.


Notwithstanding condition 13, deliveries of alcohol and the provision of late night refreshment (where applicable) shall be permitted to be made from the premises until 23:00 hours on Sundays, 00:00 hours Mondays to Thursdays, 01:00 Fridays to Saturdays and 00:30 on Sundays before bank holidays.



Amendments to application advised at hearing:


The Applicant advised that the additional condition to be added to the licence would now read “Notwithstanding condition 13, deliveries of alcohol with a substantial table meal and the provision of late night refreshment (where applicable) shall be permitted to be made from the premises until 23:00 hours.”



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


The Sub-Committee considered an application by Vapiano Ltd for a variation of a premises licence in respect of Vapiano, 84-86 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TG.


The Licensing Officer provided an outline of the application to the Sub-Committee.


Mr McCann, representing the Applicant, explained that Vapiano Ltd was an Italian restaurant group, which currently operated six premises within the UK. The Sub-Committee was provided with a description of the customer experience upon entering the Premises and how it created a quick turnaround of customers. What the Application before the Sub-Committee was seeking was to permit deliveries of food and alcohol from the premises by online food delivery companies until 23:00 hours. Despite some apparent contradictions on the existing conditions on the licence, Mr McCann was of the opinion that it already did permit a takeaway service to be provided, excluding alcohol, until 23:00. Therefore, the aim of the application was to allow deliveries of alcohol to take place to those customers who had ordered a substantial table meal for delivery. It was stated that at the Applicant’s other restaurants alcohol accounted for only 2% of their delivery sales, which was considered very low. This was mainly due to most deliveries taking place during the day to work locations or residential addresses. The Applicant’s other restaurants were permitted to deliver alcohol and the application was seeking to establish consistency across all the premises.


With regards to the representations received Mr McCann advised that constructive discussions had been held with the Responsible Authorities. Following these discussions the application had been amended to address concerns and as such any takeaway delivery services would now be prevented from operating past 23:00 hours. In terms of the other representations, there were several key parts. Firstly, there was concern raised over delivery drivers loitering in the vicinity of the Premises. The Sub-Committee was advised that this was not a concern at the Applicant’s other premises and the delivery drivers would only be called once the order was made. The Sub-Committee was advised that the time period between the order being placed and the food being cooked could be as short as two minutes. Secondly, alcohol sales would be subject to the Challenge 25 policy and if any delivery companies were found not to be adhering to this, the contract with the company would be terminated. Thirdly, any further concerns over pick-ups by delivery drivers would be mitigated by the layout of the Premises and its style of operation. Drivers would be greeted at a dedicated station by a member of staff, separate from members of the public, where there was plenty of room for them to wait inside the Premises. The resident representations received were mainly concerned with the hours requested and this was why the Application had now been scaled back to prevent deliveries after 23:00. This was still considered a busy time at that location and many other premises would still be operating delivery companies at that time. Regarding noise from the pick-ups it was expected that there would be approximately three to four pick-ups an hour, which was considered very small for such a busy area. In terms of the environmental aspect of deliveries, discussions had taken place with a delivery company and the Sub-Committee was advised that assurances had been made that within twelve months one third of its fleet would consist of either electric vehicles or pushbikes. Also, no cars were operated with the W1 postcode area. Finally, concern had been expressed over potential litter issues but the Sub-Committee was assured that deliveries would only take place to work offices or residential addresses. There would be no deliveries to locations on the street therefore there would be no litter created by way of public nuisance.


Mr McCann advised that the application was for a minor change to the licence as the Applicant already had the ability to provide takeaway aside from alcohol. The application would not add to cumulative impact in the local area and this was due to the controls in place. The Applicant had responded to the concerns raised and would ensure that the deliveries would be as environmentally friendly as possible.


Miss Lawrance, representing the Licensing Authority, advised that helpful discussions had taken place with the Applicant. The proposals and amendments to the application were noted and the reduction in hours was accepted. The Licensing Authority’s main initial concern related to insufficient information on how the public nuisance licensing objective would be best promoted but the Applicant’s subsequent information on how the Premises would be managed was noted. If the Sub-Committee was minded to grant the application, the Licensing Authority requested that a condition be added to the licence requiring a contact number for the Premises to be available to all local residents in the event of any nuisance being experienced at the Premises. The Premises was located in a Cumulative Impact Area (CIA) however and therefore the Licensing Authority’s representation was maintained.


Mr Nevitt, representing Environmental Health (EH), advised that the provision of late night takeaway for immediate consumption was often a source of nuisance to residents. This was why EH was initially concerned with the application, however the reduction in hours to 23:00 and the fact it would not be for immediate consumption provided some reassurance to the Sub-Committee. EH’s representation was maintained though as local residents had objected to the application and further clarity was still required on the wording of several of the conditions.


Mr Brown from the Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau, representing The Soho Society, The Meard and Dean Streets Residents Association and a local resident, expressed concern over the provision of any delivery or takeaway service. The variation application had been described earlier as a minor change however for local residents it would have a major impact. The location of the Premises was very different to that where the Applicant’s other premises were located due to the Premises proximity to such a high density of residential properties. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to the current condition 9 on the Premises licence which was a modified model restaurant condition. This had been granted in 2013 and took into account the style of the operation by precluding any delivery or takeaway and ensuring all meals had to be consumed at a table. It was unknown how the current condition 22 had been placed on the licence as this appeared to contradict condition 9. The Sub-Committee was advised however that condition 9 clearly set out that the Premises should operate as a traditional restaurant. The application was seeking to permit deliveries, which as evidenced were already being provided, but Mr Brown was of the opinion that the conditions on the licence should prohibit this.


Mr Brown highlighted residents’ concerns over the potential public nuisance caused by additional delivery drivers operating in the area. Delivery drivers did tend to congregate and park up at premises in order to pick up deliveries and this would be an issue in the local area. Meard Street was very narrow and semi-pedestrianised and already experienced delivery drivers using it as a cut-through. The application was likely to increase public nuisance in a CIA with the noise from delivery vehicles becoming a source of anti-social behaviour. Meard Street was very quiet later in the evening and the proposal before the Sub-Committee was likely to create inconvenience for residents.


Mr Brown highlighted that the Applicant had confirmed that a Challenge 25 policy was in place, however there was a disjoint over whether this related to their current delivery drivers or external delivery drivers. Therefore, a question was raised over the level of control they could exert over implementing this policy. It was acknowledged that the Applicant had held discussions with the Responsible Authorities but unfortunately, there had been no contact with local residents to address their concerns. The residents represented by Mr Brown were unhappy with the application and felt that the increased operation of online food delivery companies was a growing problem in Soho. Takeaway and deliveries were not a core part of the Premises’ business and such an operation was not welcome in the local area. The Sub-Committee was therefore advised to refuse the Application and provide clarification on whether takeaways were also currently permitted under the existing licence.


In response to questions from the Sub-Committee Mr McCann advised that the Premises would have a dedicated station within it to deal with delivery drivers only. As soon as an order was made the cooking of the order would start immediately therefore ensuring there would be no congregating of drivers. The restaurant was busy however it was also large which meant that there was plenty of room internally for up to six delivery drivers to wait inside. The Applicant had been assured by the delivery companies that their drivers would not congregate in the local area. Instead they would circulate in the area until their order was ready for pickup. The Applicant recognised it had limited control however over where a driver could stop for a rest. When undertaking a pick up the drivers would park their bikes outside the Premises and it was expected that this would be for a period of approximately thirty seconds. In terms of the routes used by drivers, communication with delivery companies could be entered into, along with other local restaurants, to ensure that they did not use Meard Street. The Sub-Committee was interested to learn if takeaways were already currently being provided and Mr McCann confirmed that this was the case without the provision of alcohol.


Mr Brown considered that if delivery drivers circulated in the area or waited outside the Premises for an order both situations would be undesirable to residents. Local residents already experienced nuisance from deliveries due to takeaways and the application would simply exacerbate this problem. The conditions currently on the licence were in conflict, however the current condition nine should take precedence as this was imposed when originally considered by the Sub-Committee in 2013 and was specific about what type of Premises was envisaged. In response to a question from the Sub-Committee Mr Brown was of the opinion that the application should still be refused even if all deliveries were to be undertaken by pushbikes. It would address environmental concerns but it would not resolve the concerns raised regarding the congregating of drivers and the associated noise impact.


Mr McCann advised that the Applicant was content for a condition to be added to the licence requiring a contact number for the Premises management to be available to all local residents. Following a question from the Council’s Legal Adviser Mr McCann considered the application to be an exception to the Council’s CIA Policy. It was not seeking for deliveries to take place after 23:00 hours and any impact would be negligible as they already provided a takeaway service with sales of alcohol expected to only form 2% of any delivery sales.


The Sub-Committee carefully considered the Application and noted that conditions had originally been placed on the licence in 2013 to ensure the operation would promote the licensing objectives in the manner expected of a restaurant. The Sub-Committee was of the opinion that the variation application before it would significantly alter the character of the Premises, making it a more casual dining experience and moving it away from being a bona fide restaurant. Concerns had been raised by local residents that permitting deliveries to take place would become a source of nuisance due to the residential nature of the area. The Sub-Committee considered that permitting deliveries, even until 23:00 hours only, was likely to result in additional delivery drivers circulating in the area or congregating in close proximity to the Premises and agreed this was likely to become a source of nuisance to residents. The Applicant had advised that only three to four deliveries were likely to take place each hour, however the Sub-Committee felt that any increase in the impact of a Premises located in a CIA, however small, was unacceptable. The Application was therefore considered inappropriate in the circumstances, was likely to add to cumulative impact in the CIA and undermine the licensing objectives. The Sub-Committee was of the opinion that it had not been proven that the application was a genuine exception to Policy and therefore refused the application accordingly.


The Sub-Committee noted that the Premises was currently operating a takeaway service and some confusion existed over whether this was permitted under the current conditions. It was stated that it was not for the Sub-Committee to interpret the existing licence on this occasion and any inconsistencies should be raised with the Licensing Authority. The Sub-Committee also wished to thank the Applicant for their efforts to encourage delivery companies to use environmentally modes of transport.



Supporting documents: