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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

10.

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:

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

11.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

11.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillor C Softley.  There were no substitutions for the meeting.  

12.

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:

12.1           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.

12.2          The following declarations were made:

Councillor

Application No./Item

Nature of Interest (where disclosed)

Declared Action in respect of Disclosure

P W Ockelton

Item 15 – Licensing Audit Action Plan.

Is a member of a private club which would be subject to the licensed premises risk rating. 

Would not speak or vote and would leave the room for consideration of this item.

12.3           There were no further declarations made on this occasion.

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 17 October 2019 and the Licensing Sub-Committee (Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005) meeting held on 12 November 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13.1          The Minutes of the of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 17 October 2019, and the Licensing Sub-Committee (Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005) meeting held on 12 November 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as correct records and signed by the Chair.

14.

Review of Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire Policy pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider progress of the Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire Policy review and the proposed timetable for completion.

Minutes:

14.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 13-15, provided an update on the progress of the review of the Council’s Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire Policy.  Members were asked to consider the report and the proposed timetable for completion.

14.2           The Senior Licensing Officer explained that it had initially been intended to bring the proposed revised Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire Policy to this meeting for debate and discussion; however, work was still ongoing and it was now proposed that it be brought to the next meeting of the Committee on 18 June 2020.  The main reason for the delay was because, towards the end of 2019, Gloucestershire County Council had set-up a countywide taxi group to consider the various policies of the licensing authorities within the county.  The group was comprised primarily of the Chairs of the Licensing Committees for each Council, although Officers had been invited to one meeting to provide technical support.  The group had carried out a public consultation among taxi and private hire users in Gloucestershire to establish people’s priorities and concerns.  That consultation had finished and the group was due to meet on 20 February to consider the results and finalise recommendations to the Licensing Committees; Officers were invited to attend that meeting. The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that the Chair of Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Licensing Committee had attended the countywide group and the Committee would be able to feed any recommendations into its own policy review.  He clarified that, in the event that the countywide group did not conclude its work at the next meeting, he would still bring the proposed revised policy to the next meeting of the Committee; any recommendations arising from the countywide review could be incorporated into Tewkesbury Borough Council’s policy at a later date without having to undergo a full review, provided it was publicised.

14.3           A Member questioned whether any significant changes had been discussed to date and the Chair advised that no definite decisions had been made as yet, it had been more of an information-gathering exercise which had allowed each of the authorities to explain their priorities, for instance, the biggest concern for Tewkesbury Borough Council – and Cotswold District Council – was taxi coverage whereas Cheltenham Borough Council was concerned about environmental issues and Gloucester City Council was more focused on safeguarding.  In response to a query as to whether environmental concerns were linked to the age of vehicles, the Chair explained that Cheltenham Borough Council was looking to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible so the age of vehicles was one element of that and its policy required taxi and private hire vehicles to be no more than five years old; however, Tewkesbury Borough Council’s proposed revised policy currently had a vehicle age limit of 10 years. 

14.4           A Member indicated that his understanding of the countywide group was that a joint policy or protocol would allow sharing of information, for instance, where licenses had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Licensing Audit Action Plan pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider the progress made against the two outstanding actions within the Licensing Audit Action Plan arising from the licensing audit.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 16-19, provided an update on the two outstanding actions within the Licensing Audit Action Plan arising from the licensing audit.  Members were asked to consider the report.

15.2          The Senior Licensing Officer advised that the two items outstanding were a review of the fees for licensing under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 and a programme of inspections for licensed premises.  As Members would be aware, the Environmental Health Manager had recently left the authority so the Senior Licensing Officer had inherited these outstanding actions.  He explained that a Business Transformation team was currently being recruited by the Council and one of its initial priorities would be streamlining the licensing service with the adoption of new technological solutions such as online applications, releasing Officer time to be able to carry out activities such as inspections, compliance, enforcement and reviewing fee structures.  In terms of animal licensing fees, work was underway to determine the cost of providing the service under the new regulations introduced at the end of 2018; Officers were recording the time expended on this activity and, once sufficient data had been gathered, the existing fees would be revised accordingly to ensure the Council was recovering its costs.  A Member expressed concern that the fees would not cover the costs of any additional staff which may be identified as necessary.  In response, the Senior Licensing Officer clarified that licensing authorities were not allowed to make a profit from licensing but, equally, they should not make a loss as that would effectively mean that the service was being subsidised by the taxpayer.  All Officers needed to ensure they accurately recorded their time spent on animal licensing in order to identify the true cost of providing the service; however, budget and recruitment was the responsibility of the Head of Community Services.

15.3           A Member queried how many animal licenses were granted each year and how frequently they needed to be reviewed and pointed out that, if Officers were not up to speed with issuing licences, there was a risk of complaints from animal welfare groups etc.  In response, the Senior Licensing Officer confirmed there were 65 animal premises with licences which had transferred from the old to the new regime and all had been inspected in 2019.  The government had issued guidelines to licensing authorities which set out that applications should be dealt with within 10 weeks of receipt and he was pleased to report that Tewkesbury Borough Council was easily achieving that.  Premises were given a rating, similar to the food hygiene rating system, and they were granted a licence for a period of one, two or three years on that basis – as inspections were undertaken on renewal, this meant that not all premises would need to be re-inspected during the current year, although they could be re-inspected at any time.  In response to a query as to the type of premises inspected, Members were advised that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.