Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

Hello, please sign in to your account. New customer? Creating a new account only takes moments.

find our main contact details and opening hours or find our location.

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices

Contact: Sophie McGough, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were none.

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

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

 

Minutes:

There were none.

4.

MINUTES OF LAST FULL COMMITTEE MEETING pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 5th December 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the full committee meeting held on 5th December 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.  

5.

MINUTES OF SUB COMMITTEE MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve the minutes of the Miscellaneous Licensing Sub Committee held on 2nd January 2019 and the Alcohol and Gambling Licensing Sub Committee held on 4th February 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

With regards to the exempt minutes of the miscellaneous licensing sub committee meeting, a discussion was had about whether the applicant whose name had been omitted should be made public. The Chair explained that an applicant can’t be named if they are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. Some Members felt that in the interest of transparency if, for example, a taxi driver is stripped of their licence then the public should be made aware of this and the exemption lifted once the criminal proceedings have finished. The Chair reminded Members that they have a duty under the human rights act and there were GDPR implications of releasing information relating to an individual.

 

The Licensing Team Leader suggested taking the matter away for further legal advice and bringing it back to the next meeting once the legal position had been clarified.

 

Subject to the above points, the minutes from the miscellaneous licencing sub-committee meeting held on the 2nd January 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

 

The minutes of the alcohol and gambling sub-committee held on 4th February 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

 

6.

ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE CHAIR

Minutes:

The Chair explained that Andy and Phil from the Licensing team had left CBC. He wished to place on record his thanks to them for their work for the Council, and wished them well for the future.  He also welcomed a new team member, Freya, to the Licensing team.

He further advised that Colin visited Naas, Dublin to attend the latest Purple Flag awards ceremony where he received the new Purple Flag, on behalf of Cheltenham, following its recent successful renewal.  He highlighted that Cheltenham had also been nominated for a new Purple Flag award to find the UK and Ireland’s best night-time economy. The Purple Flag accreditation uses five main core agenda themes; wellbeing, movement, appeal, place and policy. Cheltenham had been nominated under the ‘appeal’ category and we will find out if it has been successful at an awards ceremony later this year in June 2019.

 

7.

APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO PLACE AN OBJECT ON THE HIGHWAY pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Miss Casey Mann - 18/02791/OBJAX

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 The Chair advised that he conducted a site visit on the 5th March, he had not spoken to anyone on site. Councillor Seacome also advised that he had visited the site.

 

The Licensing Team Leader introduced the report, he explained that Bakers Fine Jewellery had made an application to place an advertising board outside 15 Montpellier Walk. The timings that Bakers intended to display the ‘A’ board were outlined at 1.2 of the report and a picture of the proposed structure included at Appendix A. He confirmed that the application does not comply with the council’s adopted policy with regards to its size which exceeds the maximum permitted dimensions and the fact the premises is not disadvantaged by its location. He advised that the committee must determine the application with a view to promoting the Council’s adopted policy and whilst the policy and officer recommendation should not fetter the committee’s discretion, the committee should only depart from the policy where there are clear and defensible reasons for doing so.

 

The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that the area outside Montpellier Walk is classed as privately maintained public highway. This is reflected in the fact that they do not charge  them a licence fee, however, the premises still require permission by virtue of being located on a public highway.

 

The applicant was invited to speak in support of her application, she explained that:

 

·           They had thought it was acceptable to display an A board as many of the other premises on Montpellier Walk also displayed one. Some businesses also had boards larger than what they had displayed. Other businesses on Montpellier Walk also had roped areas with table and chairs within that exceeded the space taken up with an A board.

·           They had understood that they were required to leave a certain width on the pavement for pedestrians and they have taken that in to consideration. 

·           They had not done it to intentionally cause problems but thought they were within their rights due to the fact other businesses on Montpellier Walk had A boards.

·           Bakers was slightly set back and was almost barricaded by the table and chairs of other properties.

 

With regards to the other businesses on Montpellier Walk, the Licensing Team Leader confirmed that there were a number of pending court cases as several businesses had unlawfully displayed A boards. However, it could take up to 6 months for this to go through the courts. He advised that some businesses were lawfully displaying A boards as they were permitted within areas with table and chairs. He reiterated that the committee should deal with the applications on its individual merits.

 

Following a question from Members, he confirmed that there were 3 businesses on Montpellier Walk that had displayed A boards without consent and were  being dealt with through the courts. He advised that a business located in the basement had consent to display an A board due to the fact their premises was disadvantaged by its location.

 

In response to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE BRIEFING NOTE pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader introduced the briefing note. He advised that the briefing paper sought to provide the Licensing Committee with a performance review of the Licensing Section in 2018. He confirmed that the key performance indicators were outlined at appendix 1, which highlighted the time taken to process applications. He highlighted that the licensing section had been actively contributing to the corporate modernisation and commercialisation transformation work during 2018. He gave an update on the policy reviews and explained that both the taxi and private hire and gambling policy statements had been adopted and implemented in 2018 and the street trading review had been prioritised for this year. Subject to resource availability, the street scene activities and sexual entertainment policy reviews would be initiated in 2019.

 

Following questions from Members, the licensing team leader confirmed that the figures highlighted at appendix 1 were the time taken to process applications, not the number of applications.

 

The committee acknowledged that a £93,000 saving had been made as a result of  the licensing teams contribution to the corporate modernisation and commercialisation transformation work and wished to thank the licensing team for their hard work

9.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT CONSULTATION REPORT pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Report of the Licensing Team Leader

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader advised that the Department for Transport had launched a consultation on proposed statutory guidance for licensing authorities on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing. He advised that at present there is no statutory guidance on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing. He highlighted that it was important the Committee were given the opportunity to review and respond to the proposed statutory guidance.

 

Members acknowledged that the issue of taxi and private hire vehicle licensing needed addressing at a national level. Particularly as there had been situations whereby one authority would refuse an application for it to simply be granted in an adjoining authority. Members suggested that there ought to be a core minimum standard for licensing.  The Chair advised that there was a national register of refusals and revocations and Cheltenham Borough Council were a member of this register.

 

One Member drew the committee’s attention to section 2.21 of the proposed statutory guidance which states that the Committee/Board model allows for:

 

Each case to be considered on its own merits. It is rare for the same councillors to be involved in frequent hearings – therefore the councillors involved in the decision making process will have less knowledge of previous decisions and therefore are less likely to be influenced by them.

 

They noted that it was often considered beneficial to have a committee of Members who have a lot of experience in dealing with similar matters, however, this seemed to imply this was not the case. Another Member disagreed with this and stressed that a  consistent approach was necessary and Members should have a sound knowledge of the law when determining applications.

 

Members agreed that the key was establishing a common core standard so that Cheltenham residents were not disadvantaged by adjoining authorities who did not have as high standards.

 

Members acknowledged a recent article publish by the Local Government Association regarding CCTV in taxis. They noted that there was a balance between offering a level of protection and the privacy of passengers. They questioned what Cheltenham’s position on CCTV was as many councils make it mandatory for drivers to have CCTV.

 

The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that their current policy was that CCTV was at the discretion of the driver and was not mandatory. He advised that they had recently reviewed the taxi policy and so it would not come before the committee again for a few years, although they could make a request to Cabinet for a review. He explained that the issue was that ICO had recently issued guidance which stated that the Council would be the data controller and this carried a great level of responsibility for the authority. He advised that at present they were trying to determine how to take a proactive approach to the monitoring of taxi drivers.

 

It was also acknowledged that civil warnings issued by the Magistrates Court should be reported to the licensing office and guidance on dealing with them.

 

10.

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader advised that the consultation was ongoing and this could be distributed to Members if deemed necessary.

 

11.

MAKE-UP OF LICENSING COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of the Licensing Team Leader

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader explained why the report was before the committee. He advised that the full committee had passed a resolution in 2016 for a revised committee structure, this had taken effect in September 2017 and it was requested at committee in December that the committee structure be reviewed. He confirmed that the committee had the option to keep the current structure or resolve as they see fit.

 

Councillor Parsons explained his reasoning for requesting the review, as below:

 

·           He reasoned that whilst the original structure was not perfect, the present structure was unsatisfactory.

·           He noted that there was the miscellaneous committee of 5 that determine almost all applications and despite the fact there are 5 Members on the alcohol and gambling committee only 3 determine the applications.

·           The fact that the alcohol and gambling meetings were often held in the day time meant that many were excluded from attending and the same demographic of Members determined the majority of applications.

·           He was concerned that Members were not getting the required experience and expertise to determine applications. He also stressed that all of the committees should be politically balanced and that the alcohol and gambling committee should have an assigned Chair, not the current practice whereby the Chair is decided at the meeting. 

·           He accepted that it was not necessary for 10 people to determine a minor application, however, reasoned that there was normally more than one item on the agenda.

·           He questioned whether they needed a full committee of 10 and suggested a compromise between the two structures would be more appropriate.

 

In the debate that followed, Members made the following comments:

 

·           Members reasoned that they would never be able to achieve a structure that was perfect, however, agreed that the committees should be politically balanced where practically possible as they were not always able to get the required Members. The was particularly important given that there was a statutory deadline to hear applications.

·           They suggested that Members should be substituted in and out dependent on when they last served on the committee instead of being picked on a first come first serve basis.

·           Some Members felt it important that all Members be given the experience in Chairing a meeting.

·           Other suggestions included having a full licensing committee once a year and 11 miscellaneous committees and if there was, for example, a policy which needed determining a miscellaneous committee be promoted to a full committee meeting.

·           Members felt that having a full committee to determine an A board was disproportionate and time consuming and also having a full committee of 10 determining all applications could be intimidating to applicants.

·           It was suggested that they have a 6/4 split, with 6 on the miscellaneous committee and 4 on the  alcohol and alcohol and gambling committee. The Licensing Team Leader highlighted that changing to a 6/4 split would only work on the assumption that all 4 Members were definitely available to attend on the agreed date. The Chair also highlighted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

REVIEW OF PREVIOUS DECISIONS

Minutes:

There were no updates.

13.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXEMPT INFORMATION

Minutes:

The committee voted unanimously to approve the following resolution:-

 

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraph 7, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

 

Paragraph 7; Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime

 

14.

ANY OTHER ITEMS THE CHAIRMAN DETERMINES URGENT AND REQUIRES A DECISION

The Licensing Team Leader advised that their focus during race week was monitoring any illegal taxi activity, checking taxi meters in response to complaints about overcharging and refusals to take short fares. Council and police staff would also be conducting the alcohol venue and lap dancing club inspections to make sure they are adhering to rules and regulations. He explained that the council in partnership with the police would continue its operation to crack down on ticket touts who were selling race tickets.  He advised that the licensing team would be working from first thing in the morning to the early hours and that Members of the licensing committee had been invited to attend the inspections.

 

The committee thanked the licensing department for all their hard work during the race week.

 

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader advised that their focus during race week was monitoring any illegal taxi activity, checking taxi meters in response to complaints about overcharging and refusals to take short fares. Council and police staff would also be conducting the alcohol venue and lap dancing club inspections to make sure they are adhering to rules and regulations. He explained that the council in partnership with the police would continue its operation to crack down on ticket touts who were selling race tickets.  He advised that the licensing team would be working from first thing in the morning to the early hours and that Members of the licensing committee had been invited to attend the inspections.

 

The committee thanked the licensing department for all their hard work during the race week.

 

15.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

5th June 2019.

Minutes:

5th June 2019.