Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Annette Wight, Democracy Assistant 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Collins, Lillywhite, Seacome, Wilkinson and Thornton. Councillors Payne and Barnes attended as substitutes for Cllrs Lillywhite and Wilkinson respectively.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Willingham declared a non-prejudicial interest in agenda item 7, being that the incident happened in his ward.  Councillor Barnes declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 8, being that the premises was in his ward and that he had previously declared an interest in this venue.   Councillor Barnes would be allowed to speak as an objector and then withdraw from the debate.

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

These must be received no later than 12 noon on the fourth working day before the date of the meeting

 

Minutes:

None

4.

MINUTES OF LAST MEETING pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 12 April 2017.

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting held on 12 April 2017 were approved and signed as a true record.

5.

MINUTES OF SUB COMMITTEE MEETING pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To approve the minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee held on 29 March 2017.

Minutes:

The minutes of the sub-committee meeting held on 29 March 2017 were approved and signed as a true record.

6.

APPLICATION FOR A HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER'S LICENCE pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Mr Adel Ahmadi

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader, Louis Krog, introduced the report regarding an application from Mr Adel Ahmadi for a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence.  Mr Ahmadi had declared a number of convictions on his application form that were outlined in the background papers, however his application fell short of the 10 years statutory time limit that should have elapsed since these offences.  Mr Ahmadi had provided seven character reference letters in support of his application.

 

The Officer advised members that since the application did not comply with the council’s convictions policy, that they should determine whether there were any grounds to deviate from Policy if they felt Mr Ahmadi was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence; to refuse the licence or they did have the option to grant a licence for one year with a review in 12 months.

 

There being no questions to the Officer, the Chair invited Mr Ahmadi to speak in support of his application.  Mr Ahmadi apologised for his behaviour and the mistakes he made back in 2007 and 2008 and told the committee that now, nearly 10 years later, he was a better person and very much wanted this licence to be able to better provide for his family and make a future for them.

 

In response to questions from members, Mr Ahmadi stated that he was 29 at the time of the offences and was Kurdish.  He had come from a communist country to the UK to change his life and stated that he had been granted British nationality this year.   In reply to questions about his drinking and dealing with stressful situations, Mr Ahmadi informed members, that on arriving in the UK, he was alone, couldn’t speak English, had no family and was in a country that was very different to his where you had to defend yourself.   He continued that as he started to learn English and the English way of life, things improved and he became happier with life and therefore didn’t need to drink.  He said he had also learnt about the differences in cultures between this country and his, and not to retaliate but to call the Police if there was a problem.

 

There being no further questions, the Chair invited the applicant to sum up his case.  Mr Ahmadi stated that he was a different person to 10 years ago, that he loved driving and wanted to provide for his family and not to let them down.  He thanked the committee for giving him this opportunity to be present and to become the best taxi driver in Cheltenham.

 

In the ensuing debate, and taking note of the character reference letters, members were of the consensus opinion that Mr Ahmadi’s behaviour had changed since arriving in the UK, that he had turned his life around and by taking British citizenship had shown his dedication to the UK.   They accepted the traumas encountered in moving and settling in a different country and felt his previous record should be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

REVIEW OF PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER'S LICENCE pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Mr David Beale

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader, Louis Krog, introduced the report regarding a review of Mr David Beale’s Private Hire Driver’s Licence PHD309.  On 13 March 2017 a complaint was made to the council relating to Mr Beale, who had been witnessed colliding with a stationary vehicle in Bramery Business Park car park, not stopping and driving off.  Further investigation by Officers revealed that at the time of the collision, Mr Beale’s then licensed vehicle did not have a valid MOT.  It had expired on 17 February 2017.  Further details and interview notes were contained in the background papers.

 

The Officer informed the committee that they needed to decide whether they felt Mr Beale was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence; to continue his licence but with a written warning; to revoke the licence and if revoked whether to do so with immediate effect in the interest of public safety.

 

In reply to questions from members, the Officer informed the committee that a taxi driver without a valid MOT would have their licence suspended immediately or in the case of damage to the vehicle, if the damage was not serious, 28 days rectification notice would be served on the proprietor. He confirmed that without a valid MOT, insurance was also invalidated and that the renewal of a MOT was down to the owner of the car and not for the council to remind the driver.  However, as a matter of courtesy the council did send renewal reminders and one was sent to Mr Beale on 2 February 2017.  The Officer also clarified that it was a policy requirement for drivers to report an accident to the council.

 

There being no further questions to the Officer, the Chair invited Mr Beale and his representative Mr Burt from Taxi Law Birmingham, to address the committee.  Mr Burt informed members that his client had been a taxi driver for 14 years, during which time he had not had any issues with his documentation being in order.  He stated that Mr Beale had been before the Licensing Committee once before concerning an altercation about an MOT test carried out at the Depot and that he had appealed and his licence had been reinstated.  Mr Burt continued that Mr Beale had purchased the vehicle from another taxi driver and had assumed that the MOT renewal date was the same as the licence renewal date, that being 26 March and felt that the seller should have notified Mr Beale that the two did not go hand in hand.   Mr Burt said that his client was aware that the onus was on him to renew his MOT and that he should have checked, but that he had some family problems at this time and this had been overlooked.  He further advised that once Mr Beale had been alerted, as a result of the incident, that his MOT was invalid, Mr Beale made arrangements immediately to have the MOT carried out and to resolve the incident  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

DETERMINATION OF AN APPLICATION FOR A SEXUAL ENTERTAINMENT LICENCE pdf icon PDF 123 KB

12-14 Bath Road

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader introduced the report regarding an application made by Mr Lloyd Christopher Winstanley-Cox on 7 April 2017 for a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence for the premises located at 12-14 Bath Road, Cheltenham, currently known as Fantasy. 

 

A copy of the application form was attached as Appendix A to the report, the premises layout was shown at Appendix B, the location map at Appendix C and a map of Cheltenham’s central shopping area at Appendix D, defining the area deemed appropriate for SEVs under the Council’s policy.

 

The Officer reported that there had been no objections from the Gloucestershire Constabulary, but five representations had been received from members of the public primarily concerning the character of the relevant locality, the fact that the premises fell outside the area deemed appropriate for a SEV and issues around gender equality.  The full summary was set out in the background papers.  The Officer advised members to consider the mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal, to note the government guidance that moral objections to sexual entertainment were not relevant and to note the council’s Public Sector Equality Duty.

 

In reply to a question from a member, the Officer confirmed that the Council’s Policy was not gender specific and thus could allow male or female performers and customers.   One member commented that the committee needed to consider whether the location of the premises would cause any harm to the area, in that the premises fell on the other side of the road to that in which a SEV could be granted. 

 

Councillor Garth Barnes, a member of the Licensing Committee but also ward member for the area in which the premises was located, spoke as an objector, and subsequently withdrew from the debate.  Cllr Barnes stated that this was the 3rd or 4th application of this kind for this premises and that none of them had stayed in business very long.  He expressed concern following the site visit of evidence around the building of what had gone on in the past and the state of the building both inside and out.  He was concerned about no visible fire escape and the flat roof with no safety barrier where people could smoke and was in view of residential properties.   He objected on grounds of locality it being near residential areas and questioned why the licence was needed 365 days a year with opening times of 9pm to 4am when it was mainly targeted at race week.  Cllr Barnes recognised it was a legal activity and stated he was not arguing on moral grounds, but suggested there was no public interest in this club, that it was in the wrong place, that he was not convinced the applicant would substantially improve things and ultimately it was against council policy.

 

The Chair invited Tess Beck and Leslie Painter, two objectors, to address the committee.  Their objections were mainly based on location, being in a residential area, the negative impact a SEV would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

BRIEFING NOTE pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Licensing Service Review 16/17

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader presented the Briefing Note on the review of the Licensing Service for the year 2016/17, which the Vice Chairman of the committee had previously requested.  This outlined the success of both the Licensing team in dealing with over 2000 licensing applications in the 16/17 financial year and the Licensing Committee in dealing with 18 cases that were referred to them, with very few appeals.  The review also outlined the Place and Economic Development service transformation work that the licensing service had been heavily involved in. 

 

Councillor Willingham placed on record his thanks to Louis Krog for this briefing note and remarked on the council’s good record and decision making, as well as noting the successful prosecutions.   It was requested that this Briefing note be produced annually and that if the Cabinet member was happy to do so, to share these statistics with full council.  With the establishment of two sub-committees under the new structure, a member questioned the split of cases referred to the two sub-committees.  The Officer replied that he hoped the sub-committees would be more pro-active and that there were a lot of ancillary matters that he wanted to bring to the sub-committees in the future.

10.

ANY OTHER ITEMS THE CHAIRMAN DETERMINES TO BE URGENT AND WHICH REQUIRES A DECISION

Minutes:

None

11.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Monday 10 July 2017 at 6pm

Minutes:

Monday 10 July 2017 at 6pm.