THE FUTURE of a shisha lounge in breach of its licence and beset by a litany of allegations hangs in the balance as councillors decide what should be done.

The fate of the Soin Lounge, on Oxford Road, in Denham is in the hands of a licensing sub-committee following dramatic revelations of its alleged activities aired during a hearing on Wednesday, November 4.

Committee members heard allegations of ‘sexual indecency’, ‘violence’, and ‘intimidation’ – alongside unauthorised changes to the premises which invalidate the original permit granted.

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Distressed locals also told of their struggles with ongoing noise and reckless road use – adding social distancing guidelines had also been flouted.

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A review of the licence was brought by environmental health officer Andrew Godman for the “prevention of public nuisance and of crime and disorder”.

The licence has not been transferred since 2009 and remains in the joint names of Mr Moyn Uddin, the designated premises supervisor (DPS), and Mr Abdul Kahir Ujjal. The premises itself however is believed to be under the management of Mr Guarav Soin.

Formerly the Dog and Duck pub, Maya, Turpins and Tiger Cubs, the premises eventually became the Soin Lounge in early August of this year, which is when complaints from locals started coming in.

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They reported a “significant” increase in noise from people, music and cars; anti-social behaviour involving sexual acts in public, public urination and dangerous driving; alleged criminal activity such as drug use, drink driving and fighting; and breaches of Covid restrictions around social distancing.

The safety of ‘young females in the area’ was also raised, as was breaches of smoking and planning legislation.

Some reports claimed to have seen a “firearm” at the Soin Lounge.

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A September 18 visit by licensing officers confirmed violation of social distancing guidelines.

Another attempt on September 25 saw licensing and environmental health officers initially denied entry, despite having a warrant and the company of Thames Valley Police (TVP).

However, once inside officers learned Mr Soin was ‘unaware of conditions attached to the licence’ and that conditions were being breached. He was also warned it was an offence to sell or keep alcohol on site.

It was later discovered “significant structural changes” had been taken, invalidating the licence.

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A letter was sent advising the licence holders and management of the breaches and possible offences, and that a new licence was necessary if the structural changes were not reversed.

Subsequent violations of Covid rules have since been reported, as has confirmation of alcohol sales and smoking witnessed by police. Mr Soin denied to police receiving the letter and knowledge of an invalid licence.

“We’ve had issues since day one,” said resident spokesperson, Kristian Johnson. “Loud noise… sexual indecency… fighting… wolf-whistling and harassment… our fence used as a toilet… the constant smell of shisha… drug paraphernalia… intimidation.

“Cars were using the pavement directly outside our nearly three-year-old daughter’s bedroom to queue for the carpark.

“She was unable to sleep… tired at nursery… lethargic at playtime… so we moved her to the back bedroom.

“I approached one car and saw those inside performing a sexual act. I told the bouncer and police.

“I’m scared for my daughter growing up in this area.”

He added witnessing a group fight in which “the Soin brothers” allegedly “joined” and ‘a security guard dragged and forced someone down into a puddle’.

Another resident said things had “deteriorated in a massive way”.

Trevor Hooper, licencing officer for TVP, said: “In all my [22 years] of doing this job I’ve never had so much information… come in such a short period of time.

“They seem to have complete disregard for any of the rules.”

Cllr Guy Hollis, Mr Godman and the police urged revocation of the licence.

In defence of Mr Uddin, solicitor Martin Jones said there was “no challenge to the evidence”, adding he has “no personal connection” to Mr Soin, and ‘no active management’ of the premises.

Mr Uddin said he “regrets the nuisance caused”, acknowledged the licence breaches, and that he “should have done more” to stop the problems.

He added ‘the Soins are naïve, not malicious’. He said he asked Mr Soin to stop selling alcohol.

Mr Uddin asked to be removed as the DPS and urged a ‘wholesale change in management and an appropriately skilled DPS’. His lawyer recommended suspension over revocation.

The committee retired to consider the future of the Soin Lounge and will notify directly all individuals involved.

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