Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Thursday, 4th March, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Jill Holyoake 01202 127564  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

26.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr B Dion and Cllr B Dove.

27.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.

 

Minutes:

Cllr A Filer was substituting for Cllr B Dion and Cllr T O’Neill was substituting Cllr B Dove for this meeting of the Committee.

28.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

Cllr G Farquhar declared a non-pecuniary interest in the agenda item on the harmonisation of licensing fees. As an activist/educator on the exploitation of greyhounds, he would not take part in any decision relating to premises or licences of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain or any bookmaking activities within the BCP Council area.

29.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 331 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 4 February 2021 and the Licensing Sub Committee meeting held on 21 January 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 4 February 2021 and the minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee held on 21 January 2021 were confirmed as an accurate record for signing by the Chair.

30.

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:

 

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

 

The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a public statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no public questions, statements or petitions for this meeting.

31.

Harmonisation of Licensing Fees for BCP Council pdf icon PDF 159 KB

The purpose of this report is for the Committee to consider a review of the non-statutory set fees charges for licences/registrations which are administered by the Licensing Committee.

 

This is the first time the Licensing Authority for BCP Council has assessed the non-statutory set fees since the its creation on the 1st April 2019.

 

Currently licence holders in the three legacy council areas are paying different fees for the same licences. This disparity causes confusion for applicants and makes administering the licensing function challenging.

 

The fees being proposed cover the following areas of licensing activity:-

 

·       The Taxi and Private Hire function issues licences to drivers, vehicles and Operators and the fees the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows the local authority to charge fees on a cost recovery basis only.

 

·       The Gambling Act 2005 sets statutory fees for certain activities in addition the Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 allows local authorities to set fees up to a statutory maximum for certain types of premises such as casinos, bingo halls and betting shops.

 

·       Licenses are also issued for pleasure boats which are hired and self driven or provide passage for up to 12 passengers. This function is covered under the Public Health Act 1907 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which, together with an updated Appendix 1 Fee Schedule, appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The Committee was asked to consider the schedule of proposed fees for licences/registrations administered by the Licensing Committee, as set out in the updated Appendix 1. This was the first time the Licensing Authority for BCP Council had reviewed these fees since the its creation on the 1st April 2019. Currently licence holders in the three legacy council areas were paying different fees for the same licences. This disparity was causing confusion for applicants and made administering the licensing function challenging. The proposed fees were based on statutory requirements and case law. They covered three main areas of licensing activity, as follows:

 

The Taxi and Private Hire function, which issued licences to drivers, vehicles and operators. The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allowed the local authority to charge fees on a cost recovery basis only. These fees covered the cost of administration, compliance and the issuing of licences, plates, etc. Hackney Carriage licensing fees also included recharges for the upkeep of taxi ranks and the requirement to undertake an unmet needs survey every three years. Driver fees included the cost of more frequent, six monthly DBS status checks under the new policy, where previously it had been every three years. It was noted that the dual licence fee in Appendix 1 should be listed under the Driver section, not the Vehicle section. 

 

Taxi and Private Hire fees had last been reviewed in Bournemouth and Poole in 2015 and in Christchurch in 2017. The Licensing Manager explained that the new fees had been calculated from a starting point of zero, without reference to previous fees, to reflect the actual cost to BCP Council of providing the service. The finance officer had reviewed the proposed fees and had confirmed that they were set appropriately. There was a statutory requirement to advertise the new fees for a minimum period of 28 days. Any objections received would require consideration by the Licensing Committee.

 

The Gambling Act 2005 set statutory fees for certain activities; in addition the Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 allowed local authorities to set fees up to a statutory maximum for certain types of premises such as casinos, bingo halls and betting shops. These fees covered the cost of administration, compliance, inspection, checking of documents, and liaison with the Gambling Commission. Previous fees in Bournemouth and Poole had been the same, in Christchurch significantly lower. Fees had not been reviewed for a number of years.

 

Licences were also issued for pleasure boats which were hired and self-driven or provided passage for up to 12 passengers. This function was covered under the Public Health Act 1907 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

 

The Head of Communities confirmed that the fees had been set in line  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To consider the Committee’s Forward Plan and receive any updates, as appropriate.

Minutes:

The Chair provided an update on a number of items relating to the Committee’s Forward Plan since the last meeting on 4 February 2021.

 

BCP Sex Establishment Policy:

 

The Chair reported that the new BCP Sex Establishment Policy was currently rescheduled for the meeting on 19 May 2021. In order to consider in detail the 200 consultation responses received on what was a sensitive policy it was proposed to set up a working group of five members, provide an update to the Committee on 19 May, and consider a full report for decision at an additional meeting to be arranged in July.  Anyone interested in being on the working group was advised to contact Democratic Services.

 

A Committee Member asked if there were any statutory deadlines for new BCP licensing policies to be adopted. The Senior Solicitor explained that there was no set deadline for completing the BCP Sex Establishment Policy. It was important to take time to give the issues raised proper consideration. With regard to a new BCP Gambling Policy the Gambling Commission had indicated a national implementation date of 2022, subject to licensing authorities working on a draft policy in the interim period. The draft BCP Gambling Policy was due to be considered by the Committee on 19 May 2021.

 

Review of Licensing Sub Committee Arrangements:

 

The Chair explained that she had originally requested this item, but as arrangements were working well it was not considered necessary to review these at the current time. The Committee would be asked to review the trial of the second reserve at its May meeting.

 

Taxi and Private Hire Policies:

 

As agreed by the Committee at its February meeting these policies would remain on the Forward Plan for monitoring purposes.

 

RESOLVED that a working group of five members of the Licensing Committee be set up to consider the consultation responses on the draft BCP Sex Establishment Policy, to provide an update to the Committee on 19 May and a full report at an additional meeting to be arranged in July 2021.

 

Voting: Unanimous

33.

Item of Any Other Business - Procedural Issue

Minutes:

The Chair asked the Senior Solicitor to report on a procedural issue in relation to the provisions of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The Chair confirmed that she had decided to accept this item of any other business as a matter of urgency in order to comply with the legislation and timescales.

 

The Senior Solicitor explained that there had been an administrative oversight in respect of the resolution of the Council on 23 February 2021 to adopt Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to enable the creation of a single Private Hire relevant area for BCP Council.

 

In order to meet the procedural requirements of section 45 of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976,  BCP Council was required to notify the Parish Councils and place an advert in the local paper for two consecutive weeks of the Council’s intention to resolve that the provisions of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 would apply in their area. Unfortunately the notification and advertisement had not taken place within the statutory timescale. In order to rectify the matter, the relevant parish councils had now been notified and adverts would be placed in the local press on 5 and 12 March 2021.

 

The Licensing Committee was therefore asked to pass a further resolution to recommend to Council the adoption of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to apply to the whole administrative area of BCP Council from 1 June 2021 This date would tie in with the expected implementation of the new taxi and private hire licensing fees and policies.

 

A Committee Member asked whether there was any opportunity for parish councils or other interested parties to comment on the proposal once they had been notified. The Senior Solicitor confirmed that there was no provision in the legislation for comments or objections to be considered.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Council resolves that Part II of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976 shall apply to the whole administrative area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council from 1 June 2021.

 

Voting: Unanimous