Decision Maker: General Purposes Committee
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered a report in respect of the proposed draft Licensing Act 2003 Statement of Policy.
The Senior Environmental Health and Licensing Manager advised that the draft Statement of Policy, attached at Appendix A to the report, contained the dates 2019-2024. This was because work had commenced on the draft Statement in 2019, but had been halted due to the Pre-Election Period leading up to the December 2019 General Election. However, as the Statement of Policy was scheduled to be adopted by the Council on 26 February 2020 and, as the document was required to be in place for a five year period, it was noted that dates in the Statement would be amended in the final version to read 2020-2025.
In response to Members’ questions, the Senior Environmental Health and Licensing Manager stated:
· As well as the list of consultees set out at Appendix B to the report, public consultation on the Statement had been by way of a press release and through the Council’s website. Only one consultation response (from the British Beer and Pub Association, and attached at Appendix C to the report) had been received, and their comments had been incorporated into the draft Statement. All Members of the Council had also been consulted;
· The existing website was unable to identify how many “hits” the consultation page had received, although the proposed new website would be able to provide such statistics;
· Enforcement of the policy at the 163 licensed premises in the Borough was a joint effort, involving the Licensing Team, the Police and Trading Standards. The Licensing Team would respond to issues raised by the Responsible Authorities regarding particular premises, although the majority of visits related to new licences, licence variations, or responding to complaints;
· In terms of modern slavery, a broader licensing approach would be required. The issue had been brought to the attention of the taxi trade, and would be raised when visiting licensed premises. A proactive publicity campaign on this matter would be considered;
· Each licensed premises had to have a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), who also had to be a Personal Licence Holder. However, the DPS was not required to be on the premises at all times;
· The licence conditions relating to indoor and outdoor activities were often covered by mandatory conditions, which varied from licence to licence. A number of conditions on licences had been carried over from the previous licensing regime;
· The Climate Change Implications of the report was amended to reflect the fact that Licensing Officers would work with premises licence holders to encourage them to meet their carbon reduction responsibilities, including the recycling of used bottles;
· Licensing fees had been set by Government Regulations published in 2005, and were therefore statutory. They had been based on cost recovery, although a 2016 estimate had identified the net cost of licensing for Local Authorities in England and Wales was in the region of £10M. The Local Government Association had been lobbying the Government for either an uplift of the statutory fees or allowing Local Authorities to set their own fees.
The Committee was pleased to see the reference in the policy to linkages with the Council’s Cultural Strategy, particularly the deregulation created by the Live Music Act 2012, which encouraged the potential for more music events and an improvement to the night-time economy of the town.
In debating Temporary Event Notices (TENs), the Committee requested the Senior Environmental Health and Licensing Manager to strengthen Section 19 of the Statement of Principles regarding the limitations that are imposed on the use of TENs by the Licensing Act 2003.
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the proposed Stevenage Borough Council Licensing Act Statement of Licensing Policy 2020-2025 (attached at Appendix A to the report, and as amended) be supported.
2. That the Stevenage Borough Council draft Statement of Licensing Policy 2020-2025, as amended, be recommended to the Executive for onward recommendation to Council for adoption.
Publication date: 30/01/2020
Date of decision: 30/01/2020
Decided at meeting: 30/01/2020 - General Purposes Committee