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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Frances Stainton.
Declarations of Interest
If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.
At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.
Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.
Councillor Fiona Smith stated she was a ward Councillor where the premises wassituated and would participate and vote on the item.
Councillor Wesley Harcourt stated that PC Lily Rellis was the dedicated ward officer for the ward he represented.
At the Chair’s request, all parties present introduced themselves.
Adrian Overton, Licensing Officer, introduced the report from the Licensing Authority. Representations were received from the Police, local residents and Councillor Rebecca Harvey. It was advised that all additional information submitted in support of the application had now been circulated to Committee members and interested parties for consideration.
Karen Ashdown, Environmental Health, noted that this application had been made by Ms Siu Chuk Au, Licence Holder for a renewal of licence for massage and special treatments for Orients Spa. On 22 January 2019 a test purchase was conducted at the premises and it was reported that the operative was offered services of an apparent sexual nature. In addition, references had also been made to Orients Spa on an online forum site. These included reviews of services received at Orients Spa and treatments paid for which were of a sexual nature. These posts were dated between July and October 2018, and the latest dated 17 January 2019. In addition, following a visit made to the premises, several breaches of the license conditions had been identified. These included no client records, insurance not held, unregistered therapists working and inappropriate advertising, and offering treatments not licensed. A warning letter was sent out.
Karen Ashdown explained that the Council had prescribed standard conditions which were applicable to all special treatment licenses and it was important for the business to comply with these conditions to up hold this type of licence. It was noted that the Applicant had shown disregard for the licencing conditions and had failed to comply with the Council’s requirements. Therefore, a recommendation was made to refuse the renewal of the licence. However, should the Committee decide to grant the licence, additional conditions listed on page 9 of the main agenda pack should be applied to the licence.
PC Lily Rellis, Dedicated Ward Officer noted that on 17 February 2017 the Police had conducted a welfare check at the property due to reports from local residents of suspicious behaviour and a suspected brothel being conducted within the property. 2018 further checks were conducted at the premises on two females with the Police National Computer and Immigration One female staff member was also in possession of a large sum of cash.
During the application process the Police had provided evidence which suggested that sexual services were being offered at the premises and recommended that the licence was not granted.
A summary of the evidence submitted by the Police was provided during the hearing, however due to the substantial amount of confidential information included in the evidence the full text of the supporting evidence would not be publicly available.
Mr Bruce Clark (Counsel representing the Applicant) addressed the Committee and noted that the Applicant had experienced some difficulty keeping up to date with the arrangements of legal paperwork from August 2017 until January 2019 due to the death of her husband. She was solely responsible for running the premises since the death of ... view the full minutes text for item 3.