Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions
Contact: Bill Lee, e-mail: email@example.com or by phone on 020 8583 2068
Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sohan Sangha and John Todd, who were attending the Pension Fund Panel, and Councillor Mohinder Gill.
The minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2012 were agreed as a true and accurate record.
Matters arising: Cllr Liz Mammatt confirmed that Prince’s Club had now closed and the site was up for sale (page 1, Matters Arising).
Referring to page 4, first paragraph, Cllr Brad Fisher asked if there had been any new developments regarding enforcement against unlicensed displays in Hounslow High Street near the bus garage. Nigel Farmer, Head of Business Regulations, advised that he now had delegated authority to appoint an officer to assist in these matters.
Cllr Elizabeth Hughes expressed the hope that all traders would be treated equitably as Temporary Street Trading Licences in Hounslow High Street were not renewed beyond 31 August 2012; the Committee agreed.
Please see the report from the Director of Environment (agenda item 4).
The report was presented by Nigel Farmer, Head of Business Regulations.
Mr Farmer stated that under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act)
there was a statutory requirement to review the Gambling policy every three years. Officers had attempted to form a working party with police and Social Services but those organisations had been unable to assist due to pressure of work. He advised that there had been few problems in the Borough since the Act had been adopted although there were some issues with a number of betting shop in Hounslow High Street. The only recent changes came from the Gambling Commission; these changes would come back to Committee later for adoption before going to Borough Council.
Cllr Liz Mammatt asked for definitions of the categories A to D of gambling machines as referred to, but not explained, in the report. Mr Farmer advised that the categories were listed in the Gambling Commission’s guidance, and that information would be sent to members. Cllr Mammatt objected to the proposed shortened consultation period as it encompassed the Olympics and holiday period; asked if the Greater London Authority was to be included in the list of interested parties under paragraph 2.9; asked if “not before 2010” would be changed to “not before 2015” in paragraph 7.2; and asked if the requirement for conditions to be displayed could insist that they be displayed legibly. All were agreed.
Cllr Elizabeth Hughes made the following points regarding Appendix A, the draft statement of Gambling Policy:
Paragraph 1.2: Reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.
Cllr Hughes asked for “reasonably” to be better defined.
Paragraph 1.7: This gives only the original approval date; Cllr Hughes asked if subsequent review dates could be included.
Paragraph 2 should contain a clause expressly stating that objections raised on moral grounds only are not permitted.
Paragraph 3.2: Regulation will focus on the problem and any side effect will be minimised.
Would the nature of problems be defined by the legislation or by the Council’s policy?
Paragraph 4.4: Reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.
Cllr Hughes asked for “reasonably” to be defined.
Paragraph 4.5 this Authority appreciates that “moral” objections to gambling are not a valid reason to reject applications for Premises Licences.
The word “appreciates” should be changed to “notes” and “moral” objections should be defined.
Paragraph 4.9 the protection of children and vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited
Cllr Hughes stated that “vulnerable” required a very good definition and that “children” also needed to be clearly defined as it could mean persons under the ages of 16, 18 and 21. Nigel Farmer advised that guidance was included in the consultation.
Paragraph 4.13 and subsequent references to door supervisors; Cllr Hughes requested that trained and accredited door supervisors be specified.
Paragraph 7.0 Casinos. Cllr Hughes asked for a debate on a “no casinos” ruling given that a number of major hotels were to open ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Please see the report by Caroline Eaton (agenda item 5).
Caroline Eaton presented the report and advised members of the most significant legal updates. The Licensing Authority was now able to act as any other responsible authority, for instance gaining the ability to request a review of a Premises Licence. Ms Eaton advised that there was a need to examine the separation of roles in the light of this, given that Licensing Officers could potentially launch a review but were also responsible for the production and presentation of reports. The team was very small meaning that it was imperative to avoid actual or perceived conflict of interest; there was currently close cooperation between Trading Standards and Licensing Officers, which also could give rise to possible conflict of interest. The legislation had changed the term “interested parties” to “any other person” and, Ms Eaton noted, there was a difference between the Government’s interpretation and statutory guidance; the legislation implied that this referred to people living or working within the Borough but the guidance suggested that anybody anywhere could now make a representation. This could lead to the possibility of national groups making representations on a national basis but, Ms Eaton advised, the Committee would still have to look at the four licensing objectives and would have to carefully examine the weight it would give to outside representations.
Reforms to the system of Temporary Event Notices (TENs) were outlined by Ms Eaton, including the fact that the Environmental Health Team were now permitted to make objections; she added that the team were fully up to date on their changed role. There were also changes to the permitted annual numbers of TENs and the duration and times covered. Ms Eaton advised that she would discuss the details in the forthcoming training session on 3 July
Caroline Eaton advised that the maximum fine for under age alcohol sales was to increase to £20,000 from the current £10,000, although the average fine at present was in fact less than £2,000. However, she added, the Licensing Authority would now be able to review the Premises Licence of persistent offenders. Ms Eaton also advised that the Live Music Act 2012 made several changes to the Licensing Act including allowing amplified live music to be played in small venues before 11 pm without the need for a live music licence, and that this could be of concern to residents.
Cllr Shantanu Rajawat noted that as the Licensing Authority was now a “responsible authority” this could potentially lead to a conflict of interest given the small size of the teams, which would need very careful management. He asked for a clear definition of the phrase “persistent selling” in paragraph 4.1, and also the interface between the new Early Morning Alcohol restriction Orders (EMROs) and the existing Controlled Drinking Zones (CDZs). Caroline Eaton advised that she would examine the Government guidance regarding persistent selling and would look at EMROs in detail prior to the legislation being introduced in October 2012. ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.