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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Severn Room

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

17.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.

Minutes:

17.1          The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was taken as read. 

17.2          The Chair welcomed the new Senior Licensing Officer to the meeting and extended his thanks, on behalf of the Committee, to the temporary Licensing Officer who would be leaving at the end of the month.

18.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

18.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G J Bocking, R Furolo, A S Reece, M J Williams and P N Workman.  There were no substitutions for the meeting.

19.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

19.1          The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

19.2          There were no declarations made on this occasion.

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018.

Minutes:

20.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

21.

Review of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To approve the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy for public consultation following the Working Group’s review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

21.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 8-80, asked Members to approve the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy for public consultation following the Working Group’s review.

21.2           The Chair indicated that he had also chaired the Working Group which had met on three occasions since it had been established by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 18 October 2018.  A lot of good work had been done to address some of the discrepancies between Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy and the policies of Cheltenham Borough and Gloucester City Councils whilst also ensuring that Tewkesbury Borough Council retained its own identity.  Representatives from the hackney carriage and private hire industry had been invited to attend the second meeting and one of the attendees had commented that he had never been asked to attend a Working Group meeting before which the Chair felt demonstrated that the Council’s principles of public engagement worked well.  The Environmental Health Manager went on to explain that, in order to make the policy clearer and more user-friendly - for Officers, Members and the taxi industry itself - the revised policy had been split into four separate documents, attached at Appendices 1-4.  Members were informed that any references to the Head of Service/Head of Place would be amended to the Senior Licensing Officer who was the decision-maker.  The main proposed changes were set out within the Officer report and he welcomed any questions.

21.3           A Member drew attention to Page No. 68, Paragraphs 5.11 and 5.13 of the policy which made reference to a premises licence and temporary event notice respectively and she indicated that these seemed to be taken from the wrong policy.  In response, the Senior Licensing Officer explained that taxi and private hire drivers were able to provide alcohol in their vehicles, for instance, in a limousine catering for hen or stag parties, and, in order to do so would require either a premises licence or a temporary event notice at the premises where the alcohol was actually sold e.g. the driver’s home.  The Member thanked the Officer for the explanation and indicated that this needed to be clarified in the policy.  A Member queried whether the policy allowed use of classic cars for a taxi service and confirmation was provided that this was covered under novelty vehicles; whilst the policy did give examples, a decision on what constituted a novelty vehicle was ultimately left to the discretion of the Senior Licensing Officer.

21.4           A Member drew attention to Page No. 20, which set out guidelines on the relevance of convictions, and noted that incidents had to be reported within a 24 hour period.  She expressed the view that it should specify who this had to be reported to e.g. the Police or the local authority.  The Environmental Health Manager undertook to look at the wording around this to ensure there was clarity.  With regard to the requirement for operators to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Review of Street Trading Policy pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To approve the revised Street Trading Policy following public consultation. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

22.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 81-112, which asked Members to approve the revised Street Trading Policy following public consultation.

22.2          The Environmental Health Manager explained that, at the Licensing Committee meeting on 18 October 2018, it had been agreed that a wider public consultation be carried out on the revised draft Street Trading Policy to seek views regarding the inclusion of a requirement for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check as a pre-requisite to being licensed as a street trader.  Given that no comments had been received as a result of the public consultation, it was proposed that the revised Street Trading Policy be approved. 

22.3          A Member queried how the consultation had been carried out and was advised that the first stage had involved writing directly to the existing street traders; the revised draft policy had subsequently been published on the Council’s website alongside the existing policy.  It was

RESOLVED          That the revised Street Trading Policy be APPROVED following public consultation.

23.

Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To approve the publishing of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles 2019-22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

23.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 113-134, set out the Tewkesbury Borough Council Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles 2019-22.  Members were asked to approve the Statement for publishing.

23.2          Members were advised that it was a requirement of the Gambling Act 2005 that the Council publish its Statement of Principles every three years.  It was noted that Gloucestershire County Council had been undertaking local area profiling which would feed into the Statement of Principles and the Senior Licensing Officer had been working with the County Council to establish what changes needed to be made.  As such, it was proposed that the current Statement of Principles be re-published for 2019-22 pending a more detailed review later in the year taking account of the revised local area profiles.  Assurance was provided that any changes would be brought back to the Committee for consideration.  Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Tewkesbury Borough Council Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles 2019-22 be APPROVED for publishing as set out at Appendix 1 to the report.

24.

Licensing General Update pdf icon PDF 147 KB

To consider the updates in respect of the changes to the Houses in Multiple Occupation regime and implementation of the Animal Welfare Regulations. 

Minutes:

24.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 135-138, which provided an update in respect of the significant changes to Houses in Multiple Occupation licensing and implementation of the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018.  Members were asked to consider the report.

24.2          The Chair felt it was important to note that the inspection and processing of applications arising from the Animal Welfare Regulations had been significantly more time-consuming than the previous regime with the issuing of a licence proving to take six to seven hours of Officer time compared to two to three hours previously.  The Environmental Health Manager explained that all existing licences were required to be converted under the regime - as well as licensing new animal activity - and this was a significant piece of work which needed to be done in a timely fashion alongside other licensing work, such as the inspection of food premises.  Since the publication of the Committee report, the number of applications for licensable animal activities had risen to 44, of which 36 had been inspected and two re-visited with 23 licences having been issued to date.  The Council was the first in the county to refuse an application, which it had done the previous day, and a second refusal was anticipated once the report had been written up.  The impact assessment of the regulations suggested that there would be an increase in the amount of regulated activities and it was intended to formulate a plan to publicise the changes in the community.

24.3          A Member questioned whether the Council had a provision for licensing exotic animals, such as pythons, which might be taken to school fetes etc. and she queried whether the licence was granted by the local authority from where the animal was based or in the area where the event was taking place - she was concerned as to who monitored their welfare particularly following the reports of pythons being abandoned in another part of the country.  In response, the Environmental Health Manager advised that these animals were covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 which was very stringent in terms of the specialist conditions that were needed.  They were also covered in part by the Animal Welfare Regulations in terms of the display of animals, for instance, mice should not be kept next to cats as this could induce stress.  The legislation was unclear in places, because it was new, and had generated a lot of discussion among the countywide licensing group.  It was recognised that animals may be housed within Gloucestershire but performing in another area, or vice versa, and generally the regulations were intended to prevent unnecessary suffering to animals so action could be taken provided the owner was known to the licensing authority. 

24.4           A Member sought confirmation as to the number of registered dog breeders in the borough and the Environmental Health Manager undertook to circulate this following the meeting.  Another Member queried why two  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Licensing Audit Action Plan pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To consider the progress made against the action plan arising from the Licensing audit.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25.1          The report of the Environmental Health Manager, circulated at Pages No. 139-150, provided an update on progress made against the actions arising from the internal audit of the licensing function.  Members were asked to consider the report.

25.2          Members were advised that the majority of actions contained within the plan had now been completed with the exception of two, as set out at Page No. 140, Paragraph 2.2. of the report.  The first related to the cost recovery of fees associated with animal boarding establishments and it was noted that a new charging scheme was being developed following the introduction of the Animal Welfare Regulations.  The second was the requirement to carry out inspections of licensed premises and introduce risk ratings and the Environmental Health Manager explained that it had been intended to incorporate the risk rating visits into the food inspection programme; however, two of the Officers who were qualified to carry out those inspections had left the authority meaning that an external contractor had been used to ensure that the food inspection programme was achieved and it would not have been appropriate for them to carry out licensing inspections.  Members were advised that the Senior Licensing Officer had been tasked with working with the Principal Environmental Health Officer to incorporate the licensing risk rating inspections into the 2019/20 food inspection programme.  The Environmental Health Manager reassured Members that, whilst there was no formal inspection programme, premises were inspected as and when necessary and Officers worked very closely with the Police so any incidents which did arise in the interim would be quickly dealt with.

25.3          A Member drew attention to Page No. 145, Action 3.2 which required the safeguarding policy requirements to be implemented.  She noted that the report referred to safeguarding training courses for taxi drivers being run in March/April and November/December 2019 and she sought clarification as to whether these had already been run or were scheduled for the forthcoming year.  The Environmental Health Manager confirmed that the training courses had taken place with eight sessions held in March/April and November/December 2018, rather than 2019 as stated in the report.  He advised that any drivers who were still required to undertake the training would receive a letter giving them a month to attend a training course; it was noted that Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough Councils both ran regular courses which they could attend.  It was subsequently

RESOLVED          That the progress made against the Licensing Audit Action Plan be NOTED.