Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Appeals Committee
Tuesday, 21st November, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Luciane Bowker  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Items
No. Item

23.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Bill Soane.

24.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 July 2017.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 3 July 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

25.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

26.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

27.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

28.

Dermal Treatment pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive a report containing information regarding the adoption of Bylaws in relation to acupuncture, tattooing, electrolysis, ear piercing, cosmetic piercing and semi-permanent skin colouring. 

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Dermal Treatment report which was set out in agenda pages 9-24.

 

Laura Driscoll, Principal Officer, Public Protection Partnership explained that this report contained the two different options which had been requested by the Committee during the discussion of the item at its previous meeting. 

 

Laura stated that the report set out two options in relation to the adoption of a set of byelaws to regulate acupuncture, tattooing, electrolysis, cosmetic and ear piercing and semi-permanent skin colouring.  The Committee was asked to consider both options and recommend the adoption of one of them.

 

During the discussion of the item the following comments were made:

 

·           In response to a question Laura explained that it had been a request of the Committee to consider having a separate byelaw for Acupuncture.  She explained that medical practitioners were exempt from this licence but other practitioners were not;

·           Councillor Ferris reminded the Committee that at the previous meeting Members had felt that Acupuncture was different from the other treatments such as Tattooing; Acupuncture was practiced for medical reasons and therefore it should be separated;

·           The Chairman stated that the NHS was no longer funding Acupuncture except for headaches as there was no evidence that could not be explained by the placebo effect;

·           Councillor Rowland stated that at the last meeting Members had believed that Acupuncture was more medical than it is, and in comparing the two sets of papers she now believed that there was little reason to separate it;

·           Councillor Halsall pointed out that the two sets of bylaws were identical, with only a small difference in paragraph four and he saw little advantage in separating it;

·           Councillor Chris Smith pointed out that the procedures were of different nature, in that Acupuncture was applied for reasons of wellbeing and the other treatments were applied for cosmetic reasons;

·           Members felt that it was important to know the cost implications in order to make an informed decision;

·           Julia O’Brien, Team Leader, Licensing informed that it cost:

o   £129 for a personal registration

o   £256 for a premises registration

o   £351 for a combined registration

·           Julia explained that should the Committee opt for two sets of bylaws, people would have to apply for two separate registrations, incurring in a higher cost for the registrations.

 

Upon being put to the vote the majority of Members decided to opt for the adoption of one set of bylaws as set out in the Annex A of the report.

 

RESOLVED That: The Committee recommends that Council pass a resolution to adopt one set of byelaws for dermal treatments.

 

29.

Pet Shop Licence Conditions pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To consider a report giving details of a consultation in respect of the adoption of a new set of licence conditions for pet shops. 

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Pet Shop Licence Conditions report which was set out in agenda pages 25-70.

 

Laura stated that the report contained information in relation to a consultation exercise in respect of the adoption of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) model licence conditions for pet shops.  She pointed out that this model was considered the best model in the field. 

 

Members were informed that it was proposed that a consultation exercise be carried out with holders of pet shop licences in respect of the adoption of a new set of licence conditions, and for any responses to be reported on for consideration at a future meeting of the Committee.

 

During the discussion of the item the following comments were made:

 

·           Councillor Halsall asked that the annexes contained in the agenda pack be labelled more clearly in future reports;

·           Councillor Ferris stated that he had sent a number of questions to Josie Wragg, Interim Director of Environment and Clare Lawrence, Assistant Director, Place in relation to this item for which he had received no answers.  Firstly, he was interested to know why this proposal was limited to pet shops only as he felt that vets should have been included;

·           Laura stated that there was a list of groups that had been consulted by the CIEH on page 44 of the agenda;

·           In response to a question Laura confirmed that it was possible to widen the consultation;

·           Councillor Mirfin believed that the consultation should be extended to groups such as vets and animal rescue centres;

·           Councillor Ferris felt that by using the word ‘minimum’ in the report the Council was not aspiring to high enough standards;

·           Members suggested using the word ‘benchmarking’ instead of ‘minimum’ in the report;

·           The Chairman stated that using the word ‘minimum’ did not mean that the Council had low expectations or that more conditions could not be adopted;

·           Laura informed that the CIEH was used by most local authorities and she was not aware of any other document with higher standards;

·           Councillor Smith noticed that some requirements listed in the Council’s licence conditions were higher than the ones listed in CIEH and other were not.  He asked that the differences be highlighted in future reports;

·           Councillor Richards believed that the reference to minimum standards should be viewed as a point into which people could go above;

·           Councillor Ferris stated that there used to be a set of additional conditions and asked why these were not being used.  Julia explained that the additional conditions used to be in relation to the sale of puppies in pet shops.  She stated that the work that was undertaken found that the sale of puppies conditions were included in the new document;

·           Councillor Ferris asked the Committee to consider the option of excluding puppy and kittens sales from pet shops;

·           Councillor Mirfin stated that many places sold puppies and it was important to have regulations in place to cover all sources of puppy sales;

·           Councillor Halsall pointed out that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Criminal Convictions Policy for Licensed Drivers and Operators pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To receive and consider a consultation report in respect of the adoption of a new criminal convictions policy for licensed drivers and operators.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Criminal Conditions Policy for Licensed Drivers and Operators report which was set out in agenda pages 71-76.

 

The Committee received a copy of the new proposed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Criminal Convictions Policy which was unfortunately missed from the main agenda pack.  Members considered whether to defer this item but were informed that this consultation was time critical and that the results of the consultation would came to the Committee for final approval of the policy, so there would be an opportunity to make changes if this was deemed necessary.

 

The following comments were made during the discussion of the item:

 

·           Councillor Bowring asked if a new policy could be applied retrospectively and used to remove existing licences.  Laura responded that this would have to be considered on a case by case scenario;

·           Laura informed that the new document was based on the guidance that had been issued by the LGA earlier in the year, which had been circulated to Members of the Licensing Committee

·           In reponse to a comment Laura stated that she was not aware that a licence had been issued to a former murder convict in Bracknell; and

·           Councillor Chris Smith asked that a summary of the differences between the current licence policy and the proposed new policy be included in future reporting of the item.

 

Members were in agreement that the Local Authority should carry out the consultation with a view to review the responses and the proposed new policy at a future meeting.

 

RESOLVED That: The Committee endorses the proposal to carry out a consultation exercise in respect of the adoption of a new criminal conviction policy for licensed drivers and operators.

Criminal Convictions Policy for Licensed Drivers and Operators - Proposed policy - Annex B pdf icon PDF 191 KB

31.

Cumulative Impact Policy pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To receive a report containing a summary of the work carried out so far in respect of consideration of a cumulative impact policy in the Borough.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) report which was set out in agenda pages 77-82.

 

Laura explained that the report contained a summary of the progress made so far in relation to the proposal to carry out a formal consultation in relation to the adoption of a CIP either in the whole of Wokingham, or only in the Remenham area.

 

Laura stated that no further significant responses had been received since the production of the report.

 

Councillor Chris Smith was in favour of the proposal to carry out a consultation as he believed that the Remenham area was significantly affected by the large number of events during the summer months.

 

In response to a question Julia stated that the Local Authority had received two new applications recently and there were a total of roughly 10 licences in the Remenham area. 

 

Julia clarified that existing licences would not be affected by the adoption of a CIP. 

 

Laura explained that the mechanism for reviewing existing licences was through review hearings which were triggered by complaints.  A group review power was not in place currently and it could be difficult to identify which premises were causing issues.

 

Councillor Bowring felt that if the adoption of a CIP was not going to improve the current situation in Remenham it was not a worth carrying out a costly consultation exercise.

 

The Committee agreed that the issue of cumulative impact did not affect any other areas of the Borough, Remenham was the only area affected.

 

In order to illustrate the t issue, Councillor Halsall informed the Committee that last year there had been an application for a new licence in relation to Henley Swim.  This application was for an event which was planned to take place during the same weekend as the Henley Regatta and Henley Festival.  The lawyer who was advising the Hearing Panel at the time stated that the Panel was unable to take into account the cumulative impact because the Council did not have a CIP.  This legislation would enable licensing panel to take into account the cumulative impact when making its decisions. He suggested that other areas in the Borough may benefit from this policy in the future.  He emphasised that this was not an attack into the current licences, it was intended to enable licensing hearing panels to consider the cumulative impact if relevant.

 

The Chairman stated that this legislation had been created to deal with issues in specific areas.  He urged the Committee to consider the implications this could have in terms of discouraging businesses in the Borough, he strongly believed that, should the Committee decide to carry out the consultation, this CIP should be considered for the Remenham area only.

 

Councillor Rowland pointed out that the residents of Remenham felt very strongly and had been very vocal at previous appeal hearings in relation to the inability of the panel to consider the cumulative impact in the area.  She believed that it was right to consider the adoption  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Briefing in relation to the Government's response to the House of Lords Select Committee report on the Licensing Act 2003 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To consider a report containing a briefing on the government’s response to the House of Lords Select Committee report on the Licensing Act 2003.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the briefing paper in relation to the Government’s response to the house of Lords Select Committee report on the Licensing Act 2003 which was set out in agenda pages 83-86.

 

Laura highlighted the following points from the report:

 

·           The government does not intend to take the approach recommended by the Select Committee to transfer the functions of the Licensing Committees and Sub-Committees to the Planning Committees;

·           Group Review Intervention Powers (GRIP) – the government intends to proceed with a consultation on the introduction of GRIPs, but will explore beforehand whether similar measures can be achieved within the existing system;

·           No intention to implement a national personal licence database;

·           No new licensing objectives were going to be introduced;

·           Newspaper adverts to stay; and

·           There would be new guidance in relation to Member training

 

Laura stated that no major changes were expected.

 

RESOLVED That: The report be noted.

33.

Criminal Convictions Policy for Licensed Drivers and Operators - Proposed policy - Annex B pdf icon PDF 191 KB