The Principal Licensing officer introduced the report explaining the Licensing Act 2003 required the Council as a Licensing Authority to produce a Statement of Licensing Policy. The legislation further required the
Council to review, determine and publish its Policy with respect to the exercise of its licensing functions every five years.
He continued to inform the Committee that in compliance with the requirement to review the policy, a draft of the reviewed Statement of Licensing Policy had been prepared and was attached as Appendix 1. As part of the review interested parties would be consulted with including licence holders and their representatives, and the public.
Members heard how the Council as a Licensing Authority was obliged to have a statement of Local Licensing Policy in place. The reviewed policy included legislative changes in the following areas:
• The introduction of the Home Office as a Responsible Authority
• The introduction of the right to work checks
• The updating of the application procedures
The principal licensing officer explained that the amendments to the current policy will be out for public consultation for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. He further explained to members that should there be any comments on the policy changes, these will be reflected back to the committee before going on to full council for final approval.
It was queried by Members as to whether the wording in Appendix 4 to the policy would be amended after the completion of Brexit. The Principal Licensing Officer stated that wording could be looked at and maybe amended, perhaps on the online application as these were submitted through the Gov.uk website and not only through the Local Authority website.
Members further queries as to the time restraints in relation to enforcement action when taking into account the four licenses objectives. Officers explained that each case would be looked at on the individual merits and there were further processes linked to the enforcement policy which were also to be taken into account.
During discussions the committee touched on the licensing objective of public safety and enquired as to whether test purchases for underage sales were still being accomplished. It was confirmed that they were, which led to Members seeking the recent data and such events undertaken by the Councils Trading Standards Team.
The Chair of the Committee enquired as to whether it was possible to state the provision for effective CCTV in and around premises, should hold the equipment for facial recognition. The Principal Licensing Officer explained that the application for a premises licence should outline the CCTV requirements, therefore facial recognition CCTV was only required when necessary.
It was raised by Members that a ‘pop up’ street party was held over the weekend in the borough. Officers were asked how members of the public could report such parties or such events and what were the council’s powers for dealing with such situations. Officers explained that although the council were aware of such events, it was the responsibility of the Police to close such situations down. He continued to explain that after the event, it was possible for a review to be undertaken by the Licensing Authority should there have been any licensing activity taken place, such as the sale of alcohol.
RESOLVED that the Licensing Committee:
1. Agree for the reviewed statement of Licensing Policy to go out to consultation.
2. That after consultation, relevant responses are reported to the Licensing Committee for consideration.
3. If no relevant responses are received during consultation then for a recommendation to be made to full council for the adoption of the policy.