Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee - Thursday, 8 April 2021 6.00pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Stephen Platt, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Moved from 9 March 

Media

Items
No. Item

865.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Adeoye, Bhutia, Kemp and Mahil.

 

(During this period, the Conservative and Labour and Co-operative political groups had informally agreed, due the Coronavirus pandemic, to run meetings with reduced number of participants. This was to reduce risk, comply with Government guidance and enable more efficient meetings. Therefore, the apologies given reflected that informal agreement of reduced participants). 

866.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 9 February 2021.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 9 February 2021 was agreed and signed by the Chairman.

867.

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. 

Minutes:

There were none.

868.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests pdf icon PDF 371 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

869.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To present Members with the consultation responses received in respect of the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The report includes an evaluation of each response and gives a recommendation as to whether or not to amend the draft revised policy statement and, if so, in what way and to what extent. Member input is sought in finalising the policy statement for publication and implementation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 Discussion:

 

The Committee considered a report on the consultation responses that had been received in respect of the draft revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The Licensing Manager outlined the proposed revisions to the policy and members of the Committee raised a number of comments and questions as follows:

 

Consultation period – Concern was expressed that the four-week consultation had been too short to ensure that the views of all interested parties had been captured. The Licensing Manager advised that the policy needed to be renewed by 30 April 2021 when the existing policy ended. All drivers had been individually consulted as well as other stakeholders, and the response rate to the consultation had been significant, indicating that the consultation was sufficient. In addition, the Chairman reminded Members that the Committee had been consulted on, and approved, the proposed consultation period and methodology prior to commencement.

 

First aid kit and fire extinguisher – Clarification was sought on whether there was a legal requirement for vehicles to carry these items or whether the recommendation to require them was a policy issue. The Regulatory Services Manager suggested that Members may wish to consider recommending that this proposed revision be excluded from the draft policy as this would not prevent any requirement being imposed by law.

 

Revised vehicle age criteria – It was questioned whether an upper age limit for vehicles was necessary as some vehicles could remain in good condition beyond the age limit. It was suggested that a vehicle’s emissions would be a more appropriate guide to their suitability for licensing. The Regulatory Services Manager responded that the proposed age requirement was designed to maintain standards including safety standards.

 

Wheelchair accessible vehiclesA number of Members questioned the proposed requirement for all new hackney carriage drivers to have a purpose built or converted wheelchair accessible vehicle. It was considered that more research and consultation with disability groups was required to establish demand for this type of vehicle. Concern was also expressed that the cost might deter people from applying to become a hackney carriage driver. It was recognised that currently, passengers who required a wheelchair accessible taxi might have difficulty in finding one for hire. The view was also expressed that the new requirement might lead to too many wheelchair accessible vehicles which might not always be the preferred choice of passengers. There was a suggestion that a maximum overall number might be appropriate. Alternatively, operators with a specific number of vehicles might be required to ensure that a percentage of them were wheelchair accessible. The Licensing Manager responded that this had been considered but had been discounted as operators did not employ drivers, who could move between different circuits to work.  

 

Officers highlighted the small number of wheelchair accessible vehicles currently in operation within Medway, this being around six out of around 600 vehicles. Members were advised that approximately 10 new hackney carriage drivers were licensed each year which meant that around 50 new vehicles of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 869.

870.

Cumulative Impact Assessment pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To present the Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) to Members and ask for consideration as to whether the evidence gathered and prepared in this report is sufficient and appropriate to justify the continued existence of the current Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP). The fresh evidence for the Cumulative Impact Assessment has been collated following consultation with consultees in accordance with S5(s) of Licensing Act 2003.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee considered a report on the evidence collected for the Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA). Members were asked to consider whether this evidence was sufficiently robust to justify the continued existence of the current Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) as an effective tool for considering premises licence applications in areas of high alcohol related harms.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer reported that, in addition to the consultation responses appended to the report, a further response had been received from Councillor Williams.  All the responses, from Kent Police, the Director of Public Heath, Councillor Williams and a local resident, supported the continuation of the Cumulative Impact Policy based on the evidence in the assessment.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer further reported that in their response, Kent Police stated that they had reviewed the new evidential data contained within the Cumulative Impact Assessment report and did not consider the evidence was sufficient to justify the continued application of the Cumulative Impact Policy in relation to new on-sale premises licence applications.

 

Members considered the evidence, and the view was expressed that the CIP had been a success and had resulted in an improvement in the quality of premises licence applications submitted. There was support for the conclusion of Kent Police that the evidence did not demonstrate that there was an issue with on-sale premises.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)     agreed that the evidence in the Cumulative Impact Assessment continued to support the requirement for a Cumulative Impact Policy in that it showed that it would be inconsistent with the licensing objectives to grant applications for premises licenses in the areas identified; and

 

b)     supported the conclusion of Kent Police that the Cumulative Impact Policy should no longer apply to premises licence applications for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises.

 

In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Browne, McDonald and Prenter requested that their votes in favour be recorded.

871.

Gambling Act 2005: Statement of Gambling Policy 2022-2025 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

The Gambling Act 2005 requires that the Council publish a ‘Statement of Licensing  Principles’, referred to in the Council’s Constitution as the Statement of Gambling Policy, that sets out the policies the Council will generally apply to promote the licensing objectives when making decisions on applications made under the Act.

 

The Council’s current Policy Statement was published in January 2019. This report provides Members with information and guidance on a revised Statement of Gambling Policy under the Gambling Act 2005 and requests approval for public consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee considered a report on the Council’s Statement of Gambling Policy which was due for renewal in January 2022. As required by the Gambling Act 2005, this set out the policies which would generally be applied to promote the licensing objectives in the determination of applications made under the Act.

 

The Licensing Manager sought the approval of the Committee to commence a public consultation on the Statement of Gambling Policy. The results would be reported to the Committee together with proposals for any revisions to the policy. The draft revised policy would then be considered by Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet before being recommended to Full Council for approval.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)   authorised officers to place the current Statement of Gambling Policy at Appendix A to the report on the Council’s website, advertise it and consult with all relevant interested parties; and

 

b)   noted that the results of the consultation would be reported back to a future Licensing and Safety Committee meeting together with a revised draft Statement of Gambling Policy, prior to consideration by Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet and recommendation to Full Council for approval.

 

In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Browne, McDonald and Prenter requested that their votes in favour be recorded.