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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Sue Macmillan,
David Morton, Zarar Qayyum, Frances Stainton and Matt Uberoi
Declarations of Interest
To confirm attendance, the Chair will perform a roll call. Members will also have the opportunity to declare any interests.
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 Standards Committee.
Councillor Matt Thorley declared an interest in relation to a premises mentioned in the exempt agenda.
Councillor Dominic Stanton declared an interest in relation to a premises mentioned in the exempt agenda.
To approve as an accurate record, and the Chairman to sign, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 15 February 2021.
This item includes an appendix which contains information exempt within the meaning of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and is not for publication.
The appendix has been circulated to Committee members only. Any discussion on the contents of an exempt appendix will require the Committee to pass the proposed resolution at the end of the agenda to exclude members of the public and press from the proceedings for that discussion
The OPEN minutes of the meeting held on 15 February 2021 were agreed as an accurate record.
This report has appendices that contains information exempt within the
meaning of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and is not
for publication. The appendices have been circulated to the committee
Any discussion on the contents of an exempt appendix will require
the Committee to pass the proposed resolution at the end of the
agenda to exclude members of the public and press from the
proceedings for that discussion.
Adrian Overton, Licensing Policy & Enforcement Manager, introduced the members of the Licensing Team to the Committee. He also highlighted that Tom Stewart and Ben Chadwick from the Metropolitan Police were in attendance.
He explained the presentation would cover a range of topics, including the Council’s (Licensing) response to the pandemic, although this update would not be as detailed as the one provided in February 2021.
Covid-19 – Licensing Service Update
Adrian Overton, Licensing Policy & Enforcement Manager, explained that at the start of the pandemic all Licensing Sub-Committees were suspended. Meetings were then moved online several months later with great success (with improved resident engagement) and it was hoped these could continue in this way. Although the vast majority of Licensing activities were provided online, personal licence applications still required passport photos to be submitted which meant these could not be processed virtually.
During the pandemic, new procedures and processes were created such as the drafting and process for signing licences. Enforcement activities were conducted by drive-by inspections to establish whether premises were operating in contravention of Covid legislation.
Adrian Overton confirmed that enforcement became more complex when the tiered regulations were imposed, and new legislation had to be digested by the Service and communicated to licence holders in a concise way. He confirmed that parties that had ignored repeated warnings were issued with fixed penalty notices and prohibition notices. It was also noted that Hammersmith and Fulham set a precedent as the first Licensing Authority, nationally, to revoke a licence for Covid-19 offences. He explained that Covid legislation had now been removed and the focus of the Service had shifted to assisting businesses as they tried to adapt to new economic climate, which included risk assessing new business ventures.
Key Statistics highlighted in the report
Lisa White, Licensing Administration & Enforcement Manager, drew the Committee’s attention to some of the key statistics in relation to the Licensing Act 2003 – alcohol, late night refreshment and entertainment premises as follows:
In terms of the Financial Management for the period 2020/21, Lisa White explained that the total income was £307,900 which represented a decrease on the previous year which was mainly caused by a decrease in the application fees generated from temporary event notices.
Total licensing debt in March 2021 was £18,215, which although not good, was only a modest increase on the previous year, given the constraints the entertainment and hospitality sectors were operating under during 202/21. It was noted that 228 suspension notices were issued ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Verbal discussion on deadlines for late evidence submissions for licensing sub committee
Adrian Overton explained that recently, applicants had started to submit large volumes of evidence within hours of the start time of the Licensing Sub-Committees. To limit this from happening, the Service was seeking guidance from members for the introduction of either a 24- or 48-hours deadline for the late submission of evidence.
The Chair agreed this change would benefit future hearings and sought the Committees views on the proposal. Councillor Fiona Smith agreed a hard deadline was a good idea as many of the Committee members worked. She felt that if this was incorporated into the Council’s licensing procedures, then discretion should not be used after the deadline had passed. The submission of late evidence tended to put a spotlight on certain key aspects within a hearing, whereas the application needed to be considered as a whole.
Lisa White, Licensing Administration & Enforcement Manager, confirmed that any deadline for the late submission of evidence could only be guidance, as legally, the applicant was entitled to submit late evidence. It was important to highlight that the later a party left their evidence, the greater the risk was of having the hearing adjourned.
Jane Astbury, Interim Chief Solicitor Planning and Property confirmed it had to be a fair and full process and there was an entitlement to submit late evidence. However, if members were minded to introduce late evidence guidance, there would be a hope that applicants would abide by this.
The Chair sought officers’ views on what an appropriate deadline for the late submission of evidence might be. Adrian Overton and Jane Astbury’s initial views were that 24 before a hearing appeared to be a reasonable timeframe.
Councillor Dominic Stanton commented that it was human nature for anyone to push a deadline as hard as they could. In view of this, he suggested 48 hours ahead of the meeting (so the committee would receive the evidence 24 hours before the hearing). Councillors Wesley Harcourt, Asif Siddique and Matt Thorley all agreed that 48 hours ahead of the meeting was preferable (but that there would be some occasions when discretion would need to be used for very late evidence).
That the deadline for late evidence of 48 hours before a hearing be written into the Council’s Licensing procedure note (by Legal Services) as guidance.
Pool of Conditions - Verbal update
Lisa White explained that following discussions with the Police, PC Tom Stewart had suggested slight revisions to four conditions in the Authorities Pool of Conditions in relation to deliveries.
The changes were to the use of refusals books and proof of age policy. Lisa White asked the Committee if it was happy to delegate these changes to officers to add weight to these conditions.
The Committee agreed that officers make minor amendments to the four conditions as highlighted above.
Discussion of Exempt Elements
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, that the
public and press be excluded from the meeting during the consideration
of the following items of business, on the grounds that they contain the
likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 3 of
Schedule 12A of the said Act, and that the public interest in maintaining
the exemption currently outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
The sub-committee agreed, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, that the public and press be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items of business, on the grounds that they contain the likely disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the said Act, as it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).