Meeting documents

Licensing Committee
Thursday 23rd January 2020

Chairman:  Councillor K Vickers
Venue:  Church Square House, 30 – 40 High Street, Scunthorpe, DN15 6NL
Time:  10:00 am
E-mail Address:  sophie.smith@northlincs.gov.uk

AGENDA

  1. Substitutions.

  2. Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and personal or personal and prejudicial interests, and significant contact with applicants, objectors or third parties (lobbying), if any.

  3. To take the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 21 November 2019 (copy enclosed) as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign.

  4. Sub-Committee Proceedings – To receive and where necessary confirm the minutes of the meeting of the following sub-committees –  (i) Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 7 November 2019 (copies enclosed).

  5. Licensing Fees and Charges.

  6. The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014.

  7. Information from the Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service.

  8. Appeals Submitted to the Magistrates Court and Crown Court.

  9. Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.

MINUTES

PRESENT: – Councillor K Vickers in the chair.

Councillors P Vickers (Vice-Chairman) Ali, Allcock, Armitage, Clark, A Davison, Ellerby, Hannigan, Mitchell, Rayner, Rowson, C Sherwood, Swift, and Wells.

The committee met at Church Square House, Scunthorpe.

1671 MINUTES SILENCE - As a mark of respect, the committee observed a minutes silence for the passing of Councillor Ivan Glover.

1672 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND SIGNIFICANT CONTACT WITH APPLICANTS, OBJECTORS OR THIRD PARTIES (LOBBYING) – The following members declared personal interests –

Member – Councillor Ali
Nature of Interest – Personal Licence Holder and Taxi / Private Hire Operator Licence Holder

Member – Councillor Armitage
Nature of Interest – Personal Licence Holder

1673 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this committee held on 21 November 2019 having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chairman.

1674 SUB-COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee held on 7 November 2019 be received.

1675 LICENSING FEES - Further to minute 1667, the Director: Operations submitted a report that proposed to review the licensing fees in light of the current legislation and case law, and approve the revised fee structure. On 21 November 2019 the report was considered and approved, however due to errors found in the end calculations, the report was resubmitted for member’s consideration.

Following the court ruling in favour of Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasure Ltd) and others v Westminster City Council, Councils and other licence fee charging bodies across the UK were allowed to recoup regulatory and enforcement costs instead of just the administration costs of granting a licence.

The court determined that the distinction between two types of licensing scheme, known as type A and type B. The details were at paragraph 2.3 of the report.

The fees for licensable activities could be set in a number of ways. They could be determined by Parliament, thus a statutory fee, be a maximum fee or the fee could be set at the discretion of the Council. In some cases, no fee could be charged, for example, charitable collections.

Where the Council had discretion in setting the fees, the Council were bound by legislation and case law. Distinct elements the Council needed to comply with were detailed at paragraph 2.6 of the report.

In accordance with the legislation, the Provisions of Service Regulation 2009 and the relevant case law, the cost of administering and processing each application had been considered. Where an element could be included for enforcement it had been listed separately. The costs were based on the time each application took to process and the costs of the licensing function. The revised fees following the review were attached as Appendix A of the report. The errors from the previous report were highlighted in red.

If the Council did not comply with the legislation and regulations, then it would be open to a legal challenge, which would have had serious implications both financially and for the Councils reputation.

Applicants could apply for their licence and pay either one of the following ways:

a) Pay application and processing fee only (Application Fee)
b) Pay application, processing and enforcement fee (Licence Fee)

Where the applicant had been unsuccessful in their application and had paid point b), they would be refunded the enforcement element of the payment. The Application Fee was non-refundable.

Following the Directors verbal presentation and responses to questions by the members, the Chairman facilitated a discussion on the proposed fees and charges.

Resolved - (a) That the fees and charges as detailed at Appendix A be approved, subject to all licences relating to sex establishments which would remain at the current total fee, and (b) that the fees and charges be advertised in accordance with any legal requirements.

1676 THE OPENNESS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES REGULATIONS 2014 - The Director: Operations submitted a report advising the Committee of all decisions taken by Authorised Officers of the Licensing Division, in relation to licences, registrations, permits and consents, under the scheme of delegation.

The adoption of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations in August 2014 changed the requirements placed on local authorities in regard to reporting decisions taken under delegated authority by officers.

Prior to the new regulations, officers were required only to produce a report on decisions taken under authority delegated to them under the Executive powers.

The requirement had now been extended to all decisions, whether made by an officer or on behalf of another committee/sub-committee or joint committee, in which the Council participated. This applied where the decision had been delegated to an officer, either under a specific delegation or under a general authorisation.

A summary of all decisions made by officers for licences, registrations, permits and consents issued between 23 October 2019 and 9 January 2020 was made available on the Council’s website, at the meeting and was displayed in the group offices for viewing.

Resolved - That the report be noted.

1677 INFORMATION FROM THE MINISTER FOR CRIME, POLICING AND THE FIRE SERVICE – The Director: Operations submitted a letter from the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service.

The letter raised an important issue about collaboration between licensing and planning committees. The Government did not agree with the committees main recommendation that there should be a trial merger of licensing committees with planning committees. This was because a local planning authority was already listed in the Act as a responsible authority and therefore already had a statutory role in considering applications for the grant, variation or review of a premises licence.

However, there were instances where the synergy between licensing and planning regimes could be improved. For this reason, Section 182 Guidance was amended to clarify the issue of coordination between the decisions of licensing and planning committees.

The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service were supporting the Institute of Licensing (IoL) in identifying opportunities for improving collaboration between the two regimes. Examples would be gathered of best practice where the regimes interact effectively at a local level and would explore potential solutions in both the short and longer term.

A copy of the letter was circulated to the members.
Members asked questions on aspects of the letter to which the Director responded to.

Resolved - That the letter be noted.

1678 APPEALS SUBMITTED TO THE MAGISTRATES COURT - The Director: Governance and Partnerships informed the sub-committee of an appeal which was heard on Thursday 12 December 2019 at Crown Court. The decision was that the appeal be dismissed and that all Council’s costs were to be recovered.

Resolved - That the position be noted.

1679 EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC – Resolved – That the public be excluded from the meeting for consideration of the following urgent item on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

1680 COMMUNICATION - OFFICERS, MEMBERS AND LICENCE HOLDERS - A discussion took place in relation to communication between officers, members and existing and/or former licence holders. This matter was considered urgent as members were being contacted directly by the aforementioned and sought clarification as to how they should respond. The Director: Operations advised the committee as to how to proceed. The Chairman facilitated a discussion between the committee and the Director.

Resolved - That clarification of the procedure be noted, implemented and received with thanks.

Reports