Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda item

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 control within conservation areas and a statutory duty to deal with what’s happening there; a clearly dangerous obstruction elsewhere should be dealt with, though resource is limited.  The matter needs to be thought through, with input from Members as to whether there is an appetite for more control.

A member asked why the three verbal reports could not have been written and circulated a week ago – it is difficult to engage and easy to miss what the officer is saying without any opportunity to read it and research any important issues in advance.  The Licensing Team Leader explained that the verbal reports are simply updates for information, and that no decisions are required.  The member proposed to request an end to verbal reports – for a committee to be effective, officers should provide everything in writing.