Licensing and Appeals Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday, 18th October, 2010
Time:
6.45pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor D.J. Barnard (Chairman), Councillor A. Bardett, Councillor Tom Brindley, Councillor Paul Grimes, Councillor Lorna Kercher, Councillor Joan Kirby, Councillor Paul Marment, Councillor Alan Millard, Councillor M.R.M. Muir (until 7.20pm) and Councillor M.E. Weeks.
In attendance:
Head of Housing & Public Protection, Licensing & Enforcement Manager, Senior Licensing & Enforcement Officer, Senior Lawyer and Committee & Member Services Manager.
Also Present:
Councillor Bernard Lovewell (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing & Environmental Health).
Item Description/Decision
PART I
1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Dave Chambers, Lisa Courts and Mike Rice.
2 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Committee held on 21 January 2010 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and signed by the Chairman.
3 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no notification of other business.
4 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Chairman reminded Members that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda should be declared as either a prejudicial or personal interest, and that they required to notify the Chairman of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a prejudicial interest should leave the room and not seek to influence the decision during that particular item.
5 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
No items were presented for consideration by the Licensing and Appeals Committee under public participation.
6 POLICY UPDATES
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer presented a report of the Strategic Director of Planning, Housing and Enterprise updating the Committee on the current status of all licensing policies. The following appendix was submitted with the report:

Appendix A - Summary of the Council’s Licensing Functions.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer updated the position with regard to the various non-statutory policies administered by the Licensing and Enforcement Team, as set out in the report. In respect of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, Members noted that this would be reviewed by the Committee at its meeting to be held on 23 November 2010. The Street Trading, Street Collection and Door to Door Collection Policies would be considered by the Committee at its meeting scheduled for 15 December 2010.

RESOLVED: That the update report be noted.

REASON FOR DECISION: To keep the Committee informed of the current status of each licensing policy.
7 LICENSING ACT 2003 - PROPOSED STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY 2011-14
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer presented a report of the Strategic Director of Planning, Housing and Enterprise summarising the responses to the public consultation in respect of the Council’s proposed Statement of Licensing Policy 2011-14, and requesting the Committee to make a recommendation to Council in respect of the Policy. The following appendices were submitted with the report:

Appendix A - Schedule of comments received during the consultation, including recommendations;
Appendix B - Proposed Statement of Licensing Policy 2011-14.

By way of introduction, the Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer provided a series of performance statistics demonstrating the effectiveness of the service and good practice operated on licensing matters at NHDC. The Committee congratulated all officers associated with the licensing process on the excellent performance statistics.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer advised that, in general terms, the Policy appeared to be working well, and hence there were no significant changes in respect of its content. However, due to changes in legislation and Statutory Guidance, as well as case law, alterations to the Policy were proposed to reflect these developments. These were outlined in the report, but reference was made to the clarification in the Policy in respect of specific application types, in particular garages and large scale events.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer commented that the overall structure of the Policy had been re-visited with a view to providing a more user-friendly document. The revised Policy followed a more logical sequence for applicants and was divided into separate sections dealing with the Council’s statutory responsibilities in its role as the licensing authority and the Council’s vision for licensing in its role as the local authority. The revised Policy now guided applicants logically through the application process before dealing with other post-application issues, such as reviews and other enforcement options.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer stated that the Government was currently reviewing the Licensing Act 2003 and had recently consulted on proposed changes to the licensing regime. Recent communication from the Home Office, which had now assumed responsibility for alcohol licensing, had confirmed that any changes would be subject both to primary and secondary legislation, as well as changes to the Statutory Guidance, which may involve further Government consultations. On this basis, licensing authorities had been advised to proceed with their statutory duty to publish a Statement of Policy by 7 January 2011, as required by section 5 of the Act, based on the current licensing regime. Paragraph 2.5 of the proposed Policy referred to this issue and stated that a further review of the Policy would be undertaken at such time as any legislative changes came into force.

The Committee debated the Policy, and the following comments/amendments were made:

• In respect of Temporary Event Notices (Section 23.7), the Committee requested officers to progress the proposed workshops with Area Committees and Parish/Town Councils throughout the District, and to give consideration to the production of a simplified procedure for TENs which could be publicised via the NHDC Outlook Magazine and supplied to all Parish/Town Council Clerks;

• Paragraph 15.4 - an amendment to clarify that the turnover figures required to be provided by applicants on licence applications for garages should be net of taxes;

• In order to ensure the continued input of the Building Control Team into licensing applications, the following additional paragraphs:

(i) Paragraph 17.1.7 - Due to the specialist nature of large scale events, particularly in respect of temporary demountable structures, the appropriate Responsible Authority will consult with the Council's Building Control Team on all large scale event applications (as defined by section 17.1.1 of the Policy) to ensure the Licensing Authority has all relevant information when considering the licensing objective of public safety. This paragraph does not preclude the appropriate Responsible Authority obtaining Building Control advice on other non-large scale applications where appropriate.

(ii) A new Paragraph 26.5 (with the existing Paragraph 26.5 being re-numbered 26.6) - Whilst the Responsible Authorities listed in paragraph 26.4 above are the only statutory bodies permitted to submit representations under the Act, this does not preclude the Responsible Authorities from seeking professional and/or specialist advice from other persons where it is necessary to ensure the promotion of the licensing objectives.

RESOLVED: That the proposed Statement of Licensing Policy 2011-14 in respect of the Licensing Act 2003, as attached at Appendix B to the report, incorporating the results of the public consultation exercise, and as amended, be supported.

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL: That the Statement of Licensing Policy 2011-14 in respect of the Licensing Act 2003, as attached at Appendix B to the report, and as amended, be adopted.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure publication of the three yearly Statement of Licensing Policy by 7 January 2011, in accordance with Section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003.
8 ADOPTION OF REVISED SCHEDULE 3 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1982 AND PROPOSED SEX ESTABLISHMENT POLICY 2011-16
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer presented a report of the Strategic Director of Planning, Housing and Enterprise summarising the responses to the public consultation in respect of the Council’s proposed Sex Establishment Policy 2011-16, and requesting the Committee to make a recommendation to Cabinet in respect of the Policy. The Committee was also requested to recommend to Council the adoption of a revised Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, in order to ensure the robust regulation of sexual entertainment venues in the District. The following appendices were submitted with the report:

Appendix A - Schedule of comments received during the consultation, including recommendations;
Appendix B - Proposed Sex Establishment Policy 2011-16;
Appendix C - Revised Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer advised that, due to changes in legislation, the Policy had been amended to include the licensing of sexual entertainment venues that now fell with in the Council’s remit. The Police and Crime Act 2009 had amended the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 to include the ability for authorities outside of London to regulate sexual entertainment venues.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer stated that the legislation was targeted at premises which provided regular sexual entertainment, such as lap dancing clubs and strips clubs. Infrequent gentlemen’s/ladies nights would not ordinarily be affected by the proposals.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer explained that should the revised Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and the proposed Sex Establishment Policy be adopted, the Council would be able to regulate and control such premises, including the imposition of the specialised conditions included within the proposed Policy. This would allow the Council to restrict the location and numbers of such venues in the same way as it currently regulated sex shops and sex cinemas. It was therefore the recommendation of Officers that the Licensing and Appeals Committee recommend to Full Council that the revised Schedule 3 be adopted.

The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer commented that, whilst the previous Policy was adopted for a period of three years, it was proposed that the new Policy was adopted for a maximum period of five years. By setting a maximum period, this ensured that the Policy was reviewed on a regular basis to ensure its effectiveness and relevance. However, a five year period would allow greater flexibility, particularly in ensuring that all licensing policies were not subject to review at the same time. It was therefore recommended that the Policy be referred to Cabinet for adoption.

The Committee supported the proposed adoption of the amended provisions of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

In respect of the proposed Sex Establishment Policy, the Committee made the following amendments to Appendix B of the document - Standard Conditions for Sexual Entertainment Venues:

• Condition 11 - to be re-worded to read “There must be no contact of a sexual nature between performers”;

• Condition 13 - to be deleted;

• Condition 16 - removal of the words “seated and” in the second line.

RESOLVED: That the proposed Sex Establishment Policy 2011-16, as attached at Appendix B to the report, incorporating the results of the public consultation exercise and including the new provisions for sexual entertainment venue licensing, and as amended, be supported.

RECOMMENDED TO CABINET: That the Sex Establishment Policy 2011-16, as attached at Appendix B to the report, and as amended, be adopted with effect from 1 January 2011 or from such time that Council adopt the amended provisions of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, whichever is the latter.

RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL: That the amended provisions of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as attached at Appendix C to the report, be adopted.

REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the adoption of a modern, effective policy, in order to ensure that the trade and the public had a document which fully explained the licensing process.
Published on Friday, 12th November, 2010
Start - 6.45pm
End - 8.40pm