BrewDog wins groundbreaking licence application case against Leeds City Council

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

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Victory: BrewDog wins case against Leeds City Council over new site
Victory: BrewDog wins case against Leeds City Council over new site
A district judge has accused a licensing authority of bringing “the iron curtain clanging down” by refusing Scottish bar operator BrewDog permission to open a new site, in a ground-breaking case for the trade.

Leeds City Council refused the licence application on grounds that extra customers in the town could add to the crime and disorder in the area. There is also a cumulative impact policy (CIP) in the city centre, a tool that helps authorities limit the growth of licensed premises in a problem area.

District judge Roy Anderson said that there were a number of bars in the area attracting “regular disorder and violence”.

He said: “It cannot be the intention of the CIP to bring the iron curtain clanging down, to allow such clubs to continue to trade while shutting out BrewDog, which attracts more discerning customers who do not engage in binge drinking, though I do accept the requirement of the CIP is to ascertain whether there will be an impact.”

He added: “Their (the police) argument that customers could get caught up in a melee caused by others is not a valid one. A rise in footfall isn’t a reason to refuse entry.”

He accused the council and police of being “too rigid” with the policy. He said: “They seemed to take the view that man was made for the policy, when the policy should be made for man.”

BrewDog area manager Neil Taylor said: “We’re delighted with the outcome. The idea of a CIP makes sense, but we’re proposing to offer something unique (and educate people about beer).” The operator, which runs 10 sites, submitted the licence application in December 2011.

Anthony Lyons of Kuits, BrewDog’s solicitor, said: “It will make local authorities think twice about whether to implement such policies without flexibility.”

Jonathan Smith of Poppleston Allen added: “The decision highlights a rare victory for operators and the burden they face being within stress/cumulative impact areas, and suggests there is some light at the end of the tunnel for good operators looking to start in areas within a council’s CIP.”

Related topics Licensing law

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