Venue: Council Chamber Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Gavin Day
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Prosser.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.
There were no declarations of interest.
Confirmation of Minutes from Licencing Committees of 21st March 2022 and 28th April 2022
There was no public speaking.
The Chair highlighted to Members that the purpose of the report was to consider whether the Committee wished to allow the matter to go to consultation, it was not to reach a decision. The Chair further detailed that there would be an opportunity to debate and reach a decision at a future meeting of the Licencing Committee should Members be minded to agree to the consultation taking place.
The Chair invited the Principal Officer (Licencing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), Dave Etheridge to present his report.
Mr. Etheridge presented his report and in doing so explained that currently any application to grant or renew a licence, where the vehicle had not met the Council’s requirements in respect of its age, had to be determined by Members at a Licensing Sub-Committee meeting. The report provided an opportunity for Members to consider whether they wished to delegate such decision making powers to Licensing Officers, WRS.
Mr. Etheridge further explained that during the Covid-19 pandemic such decisions had been delegated to Officers in order to reduce contact and limit the spread of the virus. Officers further detailed the systems that were in place during the Covid-19 pandemic in that:
Mr. Etheridge continued and stated that since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and the removal of the emergency delegation to Licensing Officers, that there have been 36 Applications presented at Licensing Sub-Committee meetings. Mr. Etheridge further detailed that the number of applications had increased due to the cost of living crisis and that this had placed an even greater demand on Members and Licensing Officers as a result.
Mr. Etheridge explained that should Members be minded to put in place such delegated authority, it would be necessary to carry out an appropriate consultation exercise before any decision was made, therefore, Members were being asked to give consideration on whether they wished to carry out a consultation.
Members then asked questios of Mr. Etheridge.
Members asked Mr. Etheridge to describe the consultation process and asked if it would be available in multiple languages. Mr. Etheridge informed Members that the main medium of consultation would be an online survey and those most effected by the change would be the drivers and taxi operators who would be consulted with and invited to comment. The consultation would ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
Mr. Etheridge presented his report to Members and detailed that RBC had previously adopted a Sex Establishment Licensing Policy which took effect on 1st August 2015. Officers believe that the policy should be reviewed, and a revised version of the policy adopted. Members were therefore asked to direct Officers to carry out consultation on the draft revised Sex Establishment Licensing Policy, as detailed on pages 141-171 of the Main Reports Pack.
Officers detailed the changes between the currently adopted and proposed policies, these included:
Mr. Etheridge also clarified that there were currently no sex establishments in the Redditch Borough area and no applications or enquiries had been received, this was a policy review as it had been 7 years since last review.
Members’ attention was drawn to page 21 of the Sex Establishment policy (page 130 &162 of the Main Reports Pack), which detailed that any new application for a sex establishment would be presented to a meeting of the Licensing Sub-Committee regardless of objections.
Members then asked questions of Mr. Etheridge.
Members wished it to be noted that the current population of Redditch was 87,000 according to the new office of national statistics information.
Members questioned who would be contacted during the consultation, Mr. Etheridge outlined the interested parties as follows
· Chief Officer of West Mercia Police
· Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership
· Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service
· Worcestershire Trading Standards
· Local Planning Authority (Redditch Borough Council)
· Relevant Redditch Borough Council Ward Members
· Relevant trade bodies such as UK (UKH) and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA)
· Redditch BID
· Redditch Borough Councillors
· Feckenham Parish Council
· The wider general public (via the Council’s website, social media and communications team)
Members enquired as to how much RBC’s policy aligned with other Districts within Worcestershire. Mr. Etheridge stated that the policies were broadly similar and that many other districts were either currently undergoing consultation or planning to review their policies early in 2023.
Members then considered the report.
Members made note that extra care should be taken during the consultation to ensure it was made clear that there were no current applications and that it was a policy review. Members were assured that care would be made to ensure that this was clear to all parties.
Members agreed that it was prudent to undertake a review of the policy as it had been last reviewed in 2015.
Members also wanted it to be made clear to consultees the definition of sex shops, to ensure it was highlighted that it did not include predominantly lingerie retailers.
All Members were in agreement with the Officer’s recommendation.
Officers be directed to carry out consultation with relevant stakeholders and the general public on the draft revised Sex Establishment Licensing Policy.
The Chair detailed to Members the points based system used to ensure drivers complied with vehicle safety and policy. The policy had been adopted in 2018 but had not seen a review since, therefore, the Chair requested that a report on the points based system be added to the work programme for January 2023.
Subject to the amendment in the preamble above, the Committee’s work programme be noted.