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Contact: Ainsley Gilbert 020 8753 2088
Period of Silent Reflection
The Chair explained that a minute’s silent reflection would be held in recognition of the recent deaths of Sue Perrin, a devoted committee administrator who had supported the licensing committee for many years, and Jo Cox, the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen who had been murdered whilst out and about in her constituency. The period of silent reflection was observed immaculately.
To approve as an accurate record, and the Chair to sign, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 June 2015.
The minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2015 confirmed and signed as an accurate record of the proceedings.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Donovan, Lukey, Schmid and Vincent.
Sgt Stuart Ratcliffe had also sent his apologies as he was involved in a police licensing operation. He had sent a written report which was tabled by Patrick Crowley, Licensing Manager.
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.
There were no declarations of interest.
Patrick Crowley, Licensing Manager, explained that the borough had good partnership working between the police and council officers. This had helped to reduce crime and disorder and made the licensing process easier for applicants. The success of the approach was shown by the large number of applications being settled before a hearing became necessary.
One appeal had been made against the licensing authority. This related to the Rose Public House which had a problem with noise nuisance emanating from its garden. Officers had carried out significant amounts of observation work, and the results of this were so compelling that the appellant withdrew their appeal, with the Premises Licence Holder agreeing to pay the council significant legal costs.
Lisa White, Licensing Officer, explained that the council tried to work with businesses to resolve issues, and was generally successful in doing so. The council had issued 4 cautions and begun 2 prosecutions where licence holders had failed to improve their standards despite assistance. She explained that the number of complaints received had dropped and that working between licensing officers and noise nuisance staff had improved. Patrick Crowley added that crime on licensed premises had reduced again.
Patrick Crowley explained that the number of adult gaming centres in the borough had reduced from 5 to 2, which he considered to be because of reduced demand. There was also one less betting shop in the borough which was likely to be due to changes in planning law.
Patrick Crowley said that there were ongoing issues with managing debt as there was no interface between Agresso and the licensing team’s Uniform system. There had also been a full licensing audit which had been carried out during the year identifying three finance issues. Mr Crowley explained that two of these had been resolved, whilst the third was currently being addressed.
Patrick Crowley explained that the council was currently updating the Statement of Licensing Policy, and that the pool of local conditions had already been updated as a result of this work. Mr Crowley said that the council had also made it possible to apply for more licences online which was more convenient for applicants and easier for officers.
The Chair thanked licensing officers for their hard work and for the effort which had gone into the report and presentation.
Councillor Aherne asked how the council met its obligation to prevent gambling from being used to support crime. Patrick Crowley explained that the council’s role was fairly limited as the Gambling Commission investigated more serious allegations; officers passed on information to the police and gambling commission and would also deal with low level issues at the premises.
Councillor Cassidy asked how much time officers spent working around Agresso’s imperfections. Mr Crowley explained that the administration manager shared with Kensington and Chelsea spent around ninety percent of their time dealing with Agresso. It also took up a significant amount of one of the dedicated Hammersmith and Fulham officer’s time. Patrick Crowley explained that there had been payments made ... view the full minutes text for item 5.