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.
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 of a CIP for Remenham and that this was the residents’ wish.
Laura informed that should the Council decide to adopt a CIP, this would be subject to a review every three years.
Councillor Haines expressed sympathy towards the residents of Remenham but asked the Committee to act with caution as this was a very strong measure which should not be used wrongly.
Members believed that it had been previously agreed that this issue required legal advice, and asked that the process should start with the formal consultation and engagement of legal expertise at the same time.
Laura agreed that legal advice was needed and had already mentioned it to Officers in Wokingham. She stated that she had met a barrister at a conference who specialised in CIP issues and recommended he be contacted. Members asked for his details and Laura agreed to pass this on to Members.
Councillor Wayne Smith expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in considering this proposal.
After much discussion and upon being put to the vote, most Members were in agreement that the consultation should be carried out for the Remenham area and that legal advice should be sought for the process.
1) A formal consultation would be carried out in respect of the adoption of a cumulative impact policy for the parish of Remenham; and
2) Legal advice would be employed to guide the process.