Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR
Contact: Caroline Salisbury, Democratic Services Officer
To approve the record of the meeting held on 24 July 2012.
The record of the meeting held on 24 July 2012 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs Diane Chambers, Harriott and Mrs Kearney.
Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances
The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.
There were none.
Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests
A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.
A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.
A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.
Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.
In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons.
There were none.
This reports asks the committee to consider the result o a consultation on setting a limit on the number of venues which may be licenced as sexual entertainment venues within a specified area and to decide whether to make a recommendation to Full Council.
The Licensing and Local Land Charges Manager
introduced the report, which set out the result of the consultation
to limit the number of Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEV) in a
specified area. The report set out three possible options available
to the committee, although Members might have other options they
wished to put forward. Officers advised that if Members wished to
consider Option 3 (to make revisions in line with the response
received through the consultation and carry out a further
consultation on the amendments), this would reschedule approval due
by Full Council on
A plan was circulated showing the area consulted on and the area requested by the residents group that had responded to the consultation, as set out in Appendix B.
A Member stated that he hoped the committee would support Option 3 on the basis of the submission by the residents group as they took the issue seriously. The reasons the residents requested that the area was enlarged were clearly set out in Appendix B and it was important to consider the perception this type of venue gave an area. The consultation had been put forward based on an historic area with important landmarks. The additional area requested to be included in the restricted area also included a Conservation Area. Choosing Option 3 would be a sensible way forward and would only mean a slight delay in the final decision and implementation of the new policy. There were no SEV applications pending and although everyone else in Medway had the opportunity to send their views to the council, there had been no other responses, excepting that from the residents group in New Road, Chatham. This had been an area which, historically, had problems with prostitution and there had been a lot of partnership work and specific campaigns carried out there which had seen this reduced. This would be another clear message that the council took this matter seriously and was looking to assist the area further.
Another Member of the committee advised that whilst he had an enormous amount of sympathy for Members wishing to choose Option 3, he would urge the committee to agree to Option 2 (to approve and recommend the area and limit within it, as consulted on, to Full Council for decision in October 2012). He explained that his reason for this was that he had been on a previous 1982 Act Hearing Panel to consider a SEV application in Rochester and had heard the objections voiced by local residents. However, the Panel had been legally powerless to act on some of the points that had been raised and the application had been approved. This had led to Members requesting the consultation to limit the number of venues within the Historic Rochester area to demonstrate that the residents had been listened to. Any future application elsewhere in Medway would be looked at individually and the representations considered carefully at that time but there could not be a blanket approach, as ... view the full minutes text for item 389.
Following the adoption of a new Member Code of Conduct and amendments to the Licensing Act 2003, the current Members’ Licensing Code of Good Practice also requires updating. The Committee is requested to inform officers whether there are any areas on which Members require more or clearer advice, so that this can be incorporated in to the revised Licensing Code and also to make any further comments on the current Code for officers to input in to the final version for reporting to Council.
The Head of Legal Services introduced the report advising that the Licensing Code of Practice was now out of date following Members’ approval of a new general Code of Conduct. Also, there had been changes to the Licensing Act 2003 with regard to how Members could make representations on an application and therefore the Licensing Code of Conduct required updating.
Officers apologised that the current Licensing Code of Conduct had been omitted from the agenda and checked to ensure that committee Members had received a copy prior to the meeting.
The committee asked for clarification on Section 7 – site inspections. Members had not held a site inspection with regards to a licensing application but could envisage some circumstances when this might be useful and asked how, in practice, this could take place.
The Head of Legal Services advised that although there had not been the need to hold a site inspection before, there was the possibility during a hearing, if Members were unable to understand the layout of the premises or problems encountered by residents, that the Panel might wish to adjourn in order to visit the premises (as part of the hearing). This would involve the Panel, the applicant and objectors (if the applicant agreed) but the public would not be able to attend.
With regard to Section 5.3 of the current code, a Member asked about the possible conflict of interest for Members who sat on both the Planning and Licensing Committees, as they were governed by separate legislation. Officers advised that there were no rules that Members could not sit on both committees but the issues were often similar (for example, amenity to neighbours) and officers would be concerned if a Member expressed an opinion whilst in Planning Committee at the risk of showing pre-determination or bias when considering the licensing application. If a Member sat and voted at Planning Committee but did not speak, or whilst speaking advised that they were ‘expressing an opinion on planning grounds only’ then this would be sufficient but Members would have to make this decision for themselves. However, the legal section would be happy to give advice to Members prior to consideration of a matter.
The committee noted that the revised Licensing Code would be reported to Full Council on 18 October 2012.