Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Sophie McGough, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Harman.

 

The Chairman welcomed the new Senior Licensing Officer.

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 the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 305 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 5th June 2019.

Minutes:

These were signed as a true record. 

 

A member asked whether Plan B had been required, with reference to Item 6.  The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that it had not.

 

5.

Minutes of Sub Committee Meetings pdf icon PDF 411 KB

To approve the minutes of the Miscellaneous Licensing Sub Committee held on 3rd July 2019.

Minutes:

These were signed as a true record.

 

6.

Safeguarding - Taxis and Private Hire pdf icon PDF 545 KB

Report of the Licensing Team Leader.

Minutes:

The Chair thanked the officer for an excellent report. 

 

The Licensing Team Leader explained that the report sets out to review objectively taxi safeguarding policies, to make sure that these are watertight and robust from CBC’s point of view.  He also thanked the Senior Licensing Officer for a comprehensive piece of work, and invited members to take a view and raise any questions and comments – no formal decision is required at this point.  He said that comments from GCC and the police are still to come.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer talked members through the report,  highlighting issues as follows:

 

-       CBC has robust standards and promotes good practice in most respects of licensing;

-       public safety has grown in prominence over the years, with high-profile cases demonstrating the connection between taxi drivers engaging in or facilitating criminal activity; parliamentary working groups are looking into this, prior to drafting statutory guidance, to be implemented at some point in the future.  CBC is being proactive in reviewing its own practices;

-       CBC has a taxi policy, involving robust application, monitoring and enforcement measures, and works closely and collaboratively with other councils; regarding private hire, it is easy and legal for companies to have bases in two different areas and be creative in how drivers are licensed – it is important that standards are raised with all neighbouring councils, and NR3 register, set up on the back of promoting good practice, is now being formalised;

-       the report sets out current practices, and considers what actions can be taken to improve safeguarding, with or without changes to Taxi Policy.

 

During the officer’s report, the following points and questions were raised by members:

A member suggested it would be logical to apply the whistle-blowing procedure [Action 13] to planning as well – the officer agreed that this is a sensible idea for any decision-making process.  Another member said that in both licensing and planning, it would be interesting to know whether or not officers have an interest that they would have to declare if they were members.  The Licensing Team Manager said that CBC has a corporate whistle-blowing procedure in place which may just need to be tweaked slightly.  The Chair confirmed that SLT has requested the Committee gives strong consideration to areas of the safeguarding policy which can be included in CBC’s corporate policy.

A member asked whether building on current relationships and improving liaison with other Gloucestershire licensing authorities [Action 16] will give rise to GDPR issues.  The officer confirmed that councils are well-versed in GDPR and only share data in line with that, and that NR3 formalises what a lot of councils were doing previously.  Any sharing of data would have to be supported by policy, legally, and in compliance with GDPR.  The Senior Licensing Officer said that CBC uses the national database for revocations, refusals etc, though Stroud and Tewkesbury do not.  Once the safeguarding policy is in place, it will be taken to GLOG to look at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Review of Previous Decisions

Minutes:

None.

8.

Any other business

Update on:

 

·         Outcome of the street trading policy consultation and changes to the policy as a consequence (verbal)

·         The draft evening and night-time economy strategy (verbal)

·         Progress on the Aboard policy review (verbal)

 

Minutes:

The Licensing Team Leader gave verbal updates on a number of policy issues;  Members have already had input into some of these, and will have input into others in the future.

 

i.              Outcome of the street trading policy consultation and changes to the policy as a consequence

Following a Cabinet report and consultation, a new street trading policy will be introduced, with some minor amendments and two major ones:

o  The sale of real fur – most people support a ban for street trading on markets etc, though there will be issues concerning identification of real/fake fur, and enforcement.  Cabinet will give a steer, though the onus will probably be on the trader, with the Council following up with enforcement action where necessary;

o  Single-uses plastic – CBC has made a commitment to look at this, but the issues are complex and further work is needed to formulate a policy.

 

The new policy is likely to go to Cabinet in October. 

 

ii.             Draft evening and night-time economy strategy

This is on the agenda for Cabinet, and is in the remit of Licensing Committee as the group that steers and implements strategy.  It comes on the back of CBC winning an award for its management of the night-time economy.  It is not a long document but more input and steer is invited; Members are encouraged to read it and comment.

 

iii.            Progress on A-board policy review

Members will remember a long discussion about this – including enforcement resource, planning etc – and licensing officers have done a lot of work looking at the options, initially considering a planning approach to be the way forward.  This is not straightforward, however, and will need realignment of the planning policy.  The current thinking is that some improvements can be made to the current process – for example, simplifying the enforcement process, looking at more delegations, re-drawing the boundaries to focus more on conservation areas and the town centre and treating those outside with less urgency – though members may not like this approach.  It is complicated, and officers are trying to find a practical way through.  They will bring the matter back to Licensing Committee in November, as the decision-making body – Members may prefer to stick with the policy and ban.

 

A member commented that there has never been total consensus about A-board policy and it needs to be streamlined.  He feels that applications shouldn’t come to Committee if wildly outside policy, but that in exceptional circumstances an applicant should have the right for a Committee decision, or ward members have the right to call them in on a similar basis to Planning Committee.  Automatic renewal would also save time, unless new objections have been received.  He understands the importance of the town centre, but feels that people do what they like in some areas and are never challenged, despite their A-boards being potential trip hazards – this needs to be taken seriously.

The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that there is special  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Any other items the Chairman determines urgent and requires a decision

Minutes:

There were none.

10.

Date of Next Meeting

4th December 2019.

Minutes:

4th December 2019.