Agenda and draft minutes

General Licensing Committee
Wednesday 27 February 2019 9.30 am

Venue: Committee Room 2, East Pallant House. View directions

Contact: Sharon Hurr on 01243 534614  Email:  shurr@chichester.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

16.

Chairman's Announcements

Any apologies for absence that have been received will be noted at this point.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mr J W Elliot and Mrs S Taylor.

 

17.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the General Licensing Committee meeting held on 7 November 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2018 be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

18.

Urgent Items

Chairman to announce any urgent items which due to special circumstances are to be dealt with under agenda item 8b.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

19.

Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Details of members’ personal interests arising from their membership of parish councils or West Sussex County Council or from their being Chichester District Council or West Sussex County Council appointees to outside organisations or members of outside bodies or from being employees of such organisations or bodies.

 

Such interests are hereby disclosed by each member in respect of agenda items where the Council or outside body concerned has been consulted in respect of that particular item or application.

 

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are to be made by members of the Committee in respect of matters on the agenda or this meeting.

Minutes:

Mr Bennett confirmed that any further personal interests relating to WSCC or parish
council membership would be listed in the minutes (see below):


·Mr P Budge – a member of Chichester City Council
·Mr A Collins – a member of Chidham and Hambrook Parish Council
·Mr G McAra – a member of Midhurst Town Council
·Dr K O’Kelly – a member of WSCC
·Mr H Potter – a member of Boxgrove Parish Council
·Mr J Ridd – a member of Donnington Parish Council

 

20.

Public Question Time

Questions submitted by members of the public in writing by noon on the previous working day (for a period of up to 15 minutes).

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

 

21.

The Council's proposed House to House Collection Policy pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To introduce and seek adoption of the Council’s proposed House to House Collection Policy for the Chichester district.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Knowles-Ley introduced the item, and Miss Guidici who had produced the report and was attending the committee for the first time.  He explained that ‘House to House Collections’ refer to both the collection of money, unwanted property and the sale of goods where any part of the proceeds may go to charity, for which a licence granted by the Council is required.  The Council has not previously had a House to House Collections Policy and therefore has relied upon the basic statutory controls to refuse or revoke a licence, which are open to interpretation.  Without a policy in place it is difficult to refuse a licence, and doing so leaves the Council open to challenge.

 

Mr Knowles-Ley further explained that in 2018 the Council as Licensing Authority had received complaints regarding unlicensed collections within the district.  A number of recent licensed collections had also resulted in a low percentage of the proceeds from the collections being passed to charities with an example of just 15% being cited.  Adopting a local policy as a framework for administration and enforcement will provide a number of benefits including restricting the number of collections, stipulating the percentage of the proceeds given to the relevant charity (minimum 70%) and ensuring applicants provide evidence that they are ‘fit and proper’ via a criminal record check.  Putting such measures in place will provide reassurance to the public. 

 

The Chairman queried that this did not apply to major charities which are not required to obtain a licence, but local organisations only, which was confirmed as correct by Mr Knowles-Ley where the charity is a holder of a national exemption order issued by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport.  In response to further questions from members of the committee Mr Knowles-Ley confirmed that collections for local jumble sales would require a licence where the unwanted property is being collected door to door.  Mr Knowles-Ley acknowledged the committees support regarding the threshold of a minimum percentage of proceeds to charities, explaining that this information would be confirmed via the application process.  Mr Foord further confirmed that the proposed policy would protect the public, deter less scrupulous applicants and allow greater monitoring of this activity.  Mr Knowles-Ley also explained that timings around national charity collections could be more easily controlled and therefore, potentially ensure more successful collections.  Mr Knowles-Ley confirmed that information regarding collections can be found via the Council website.

 

Members asked if special situations could be considered, for example collecting unwanted  items for environmental purposes?  Mr Knowles-Ley agreed that this could be included within the policy. 

 

In response to Members asking questions regarding what could be done to limit the excessive numbers of collection bags received, Mr Foord responded that consideration was also being given to working with West Sussex County Council Trading Standards. 

 

Members of the committee expressed concerns about the collection bags which are made of single-use plastic and the Chairman requested that an update regarding plastic is brought back to the committee in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Proposed amendments to existing taxi and private hire licensing policy/conditions and service updates pdf icon PDF 78 KB

For Members to give consideration to and approve proposed amendments to the current Taxi & Private Hire Policy and Conditions and to receive an update on service delivery.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Bingham introduced the item which includes proposed amendments to policies to improve the standard and safety of the taxi and private hire service within the district.  Mr Bingham explained that in relation to the drivers’ process there are currently two approved providers of driving assessments for prospective drivers and a third provider is required to resource the demand.  The assessment is similar to a standard driving test with the addition of examining how drivers react to given situations, with a pass or fail result.

 

Mr Bingham explained that revisions are now being sought to the current policies and conditions for both ‘Private Hire’ and ‘Hackney Carriage’ in order to provide a better service as a licensing authority and provide greater flexibility to the trade.  This will include a proposal to grant three year licences only as opposed to one year licences with the option of an appropriate refund should a driver no longer require a licence before the three years have ended.  The proposals do not amount to a comprehensive review of policies but target changes which will reinforce public safety, reduce the administrative burden on the Council as a licensing authority and make operating the service easier for the trade. 

 

In response to members’ questions regarding the use of magnetic or stick-on licensed vehicles provided by the Council, Mr Bingham explained that once a vehicle is licensed the required signage must remain in place at all times.  Providing magnetic signage (which will now cease going forward for all new applications) allows easy removal rather than stick-on signage.  However, officers are observing that licence holders are removing magnetic signage when allegedly using a vehicle for private purposes.

 

In response to questions from members regarding ‘exempt’ vehicles, Mr Knowles-Ley explained that the Council currently accepts that such vehicles were used for work such as contract bookings or ‘high-end’ chauffeur services, and as a result of undertaking such work, were not required to display the standard door signage and identification plate on the rear of the vehicle.  Previously there had been a high number of such vehicles but much work has been undertaken recently to scrutinise applications seeking an exemption.  Applications seeking an exemption are now robustly challenged, with a declaration required and the subsequent booking records for a particular vehicle open subsequent examination.  Exemption should be for genuine reasons only, and following the increased scrutiny of applications the numbers of exempt vehicles have decreased significantly.

 

Further discussion regarding the offence of ‘using a mobile phone while driving’ concluded that the wording should be altered to using a handheld ‘device’.   Mr Foord responded that the wording in the policy can be expanded, but it should be noted that the specific offence is CU80. 

 

In response to further questions from members of the committee, Mr Bingham confirmed that although drivers may have 7-9 points on their licences, these may be gained from a single offence.  Mr Bingham provided an example whereby an applicant had been awarded 6 points for a driving offence,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Consideration of any late items as follows:

(a)  Items added to the agenda papers and made available for public inspection;

(b) Items which the chairman has agreed should be taken as matters of urgency by reason of special circumstances to be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no late items to be considered.

 

24.

Exclusion of the press and public

Part 2

(Items for which the press and public are/may be excluded)

 

There are no restricted items for consideration by the General Licensing Committee at this meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

There was no requirement to exclude the press and public at this meeting.