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To approve as an accurate record, and the Chairman to sign, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 June 2016.
The minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2016 be confirmed and signed as an accurate record of the proceedings.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Adam, Alford, Culhane, Donovan, Karmel, Law and Schmid.
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, introduced the Licensing Team’s Annual Update. He explained that an additional administrator now worked in the processing team, and a licensing administration manager was shared with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Hammersmith and Fulham still had two dedicated Licensing Officers, Adrian Overton and Lisa White. The Police had also had staffing changes with Stuart Ratcliffe being promoted to Inspector and moved to a different area. PC Michael Payne had also moved on to a different area of work. Two new police officers had been appointed to deal with licensing and they were very enthusiastic.
Patrick Crowley said that the team had carried out slightly fewer investigations than in 2015-16 but that the team had been involved in more regulatory action. More visits to businesses had taken place than in 2015-16.
The number of Gambling Premises in the borough had remained static in 2016/17.
Karen Layug explained that the team had made a number of improvements to their processes. Companies listed on licensing applications were now checked against the information held by Companies House. More information was now being recorded about fees to help the Council to comply with the new 2-part licensing fees regime. More information was generally being kept on premises to help officers with their work. Options were being explored for online applications and for improving information available through the website.
Patrick Crowley explained that after a long consultation exercise the Statement of Licensing Policy had been approved by Full Council and would come in to force on 3 July. The Statement of Gambling Policy would be renewed in 2019.
Mr Crowley explained that the Immigration Act 2016 had placed additional duties on the Council, with officers now having to check an applicant’s right to work before processing their licensing application. The Home Office had also been added to the list of responsible authorities. There had also been a House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 which had recommended radical changes, including the abolition of Licensing Committees and their functions be passed to Planning Committees. It was not considered that these changes would be made quickly, if at all.
Councillor Aherne said that he was concerned about the proposal to pass powers to the planning committee. He asked what opportunity there would be to comment on any plans and whether the Council could object to them. Patrick Crowley said that if the government accepted the proposals they would almost certainly issue a consultation, which the Council could respond to.
Councillor Aherne said that he was concerned about the attitude of Queens’ Park Rangers football club towards the Council’s investigation into breaches of their licence. Adrian Overton explained that the potential breaches were not able to be considered when the new licence was granted as the investigation was ongoing, however, the issue remained with the Council’s lawyers.
The Chair asked why the joint visits with Customs and Immigration officers had been concentrated Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road. Adrian Overton explained ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Heidi Titcombe explained that since drafting the report she had become aware that the Licensing Committee’s procedure had in fact been adopted at around the time the Licensing Act 2003 came into force. She said that she was aware that members had raised concerns about some of the proposed changes to the procedure and suggested that a working party of Councillors could meet with her to agree a new procedure.
Councillor Aherne said that he did have concerns about the potential impact of parts of the new procedure and proposed that an informal working group be set up to discuss the issues. Councillor Cassidy seconded the motion and it was agreed. Councillors Perez, Aherne and Vincent volunteered to be part of the group, whilst it was agreed that Councillor Karmel would be invited to join it. It was noted that any other interested Councillors would also be welcome.