Agenda and minutes

Venue: Guildhall

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722006, 722085 

Items
No. Item

12.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor B. Amos for Councillor Mrs L. Hodgson.

13.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

None.

14.

Public Representations

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, with each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

Mr Raja Hussain, Chairman of the Worcester Taxi Drivers’ Association and Mr Mohammed Sajad, a member of the Association, addressed the Committee. They commented on a number of matters, including a lack of enforcement action by the Council since the introduction of the Deregulation Act 2015, vehicles from outside the area operating in the City, the difference in the fees charged by the district councils in Worcestershire, the financial burden of 6 monthly vehicle checks, and the differing standards between the district councils locally. They were concerned that there had been no progress on these matters since they were last raised and asked for an update.

 

The Chairman thanked both speakers for their contributions and highlighted that there is an opportunity to discuss such matters at the Taxi Forum. Officers will provide a written response to the points raised.

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Of the meeting held on 9th September 2019 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

With reference to minute 2, the Chairman asked if copies of the responses sent to the public speakers at both this meeting and the September meeting could be sent to all Committee members.

 

In response to a question about progress on CCTV, the Chairman stated that a report back can be targeted for a report to the March 2020 meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 9th September 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

16.

Licensing Act 2003 - Review of Cumulative Impact Policy pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the impact of the Police and Crime Act 2017 on the Council’s special policy on Cumulative Impact under the Licensing Act 2003. The Senior Practitioner – Licensing presented the report and summarised the main points. The Head of Regulatory Services also commented on the data provided. Officers responded to questions from Committee Members.

 

In summary, in response to the Statement of Licensing Policy review which took place earlier in the year, Officers had prepared a Cumulative Impact Assessment that collated an analysis of the statistical data submitted by West Mercia Police in relation to crime and disorder in Worcester City Centre, along with data from a number of other sources including Public Health and data on complaints about nuisance made to Worcestershire Regulatory Services. 

 

Having reviewed all of this data, the Cumulative Impact Assessment had been amended and the following steps were recommended in order to proceed:

 

·           Retain an area where cumulative impact provisions apply but reduce the current geographical footprint to the one identified in figure 13 to the Cumulative Impact Assessment attached to the report at Appendix 4.

 

·           Limit the application of those provisions in this area to businesses whose operating model is to act as a vertical drinking establishment at any time between the hours of midnight and 6am AND businesses acting as Late Night Refreshment Houses within the provisions of the Act at any time between midnight and 5am.

 

·           Publish the Cumulative Impact Assessment within the Statement of Licensing Policy, instruct Officers to undertake the necessary steps as prescribed by law, and undertake a consultation exercise with relevant stakeholders.

 

·           Any responses received during the consultation exercise to be reported back to the Committee at a future meeting.

 

Sergeant Paul Smith on behalf of West Mercia Constabulary was invited to speak and he answered questions from Committee Members.

 

The Chairman highlighted that the Police would be party to the consultation and Members would therefore have an opportunity to consider a formal response from them in due course.

 

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Members were advised by Officers that the decision on whether to extend the Cumulative Impact Area must be evidence based.

 

It was moved that the Committee agree the recommendations as set out in the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the changes in legislation affecting the Council’s special policy on Cumulative Impact, as contained in the Council’s Statement of licensing Policy and consider the Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) which has been undertaken attached at “Appendix 4;”

 

2.    direct officers to undertake an 8 week consultation with relevant stakeholders, businesses and members of the public on the Cumulative Impact Assessment attached at “Appendix 4” and also the changes to the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, in relation to the Cumulative Impact Policy shown at “Appendix 5;” and

 

3.    note that the outcome of the consultation will be reported back to Committee for a final decision on the Cumulative Impact Policy.

17.

Licensing Fees and Charges 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

1.      That Members note the contents of this report and recommend that the licensing fees and charges for the financial year 20120/21 as shown at Appendix 1 be included in the Council’s 2020/2021 budget plan for approval by Council.

2.      Direct Officers to advertise the hackney carriage and private hire vehicle and operator fees as detailed in this report and recommend that, subject to consideration of any objections received, Council approves the increases as outlined in Appendix 1.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the licensing fees and charges for the financial year 2020/21. The Senior Practitioner – Licensing presented the report and the Head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services also commented.

 

In summary, the review had highlighted a need to adjust and increase licensing fees and charges.  In the majority of cases it was proposed to increase them by between 2% and 5% rounded up where appropriate.  The higher percentage increases on the whole were where fees and charges had been rounded up for relatively low amounts.

 

In the ensuing discussion, Officers made the following points by way of clarification:

 

·           The proposed fees and charges reflected the cost of delivering the relevant services.

 

·           Representatives of the taxi trade and individuals will be able to make representations as part of the consultation.

 

·           There had been no rate of inflation increase in hackney carriage fees since 2013. There had been a slight increase in the driver’s renewal fee and the fee for vehicle inspections had risen to meet the cost of the unmet demand survey that was carried out and as a result of the introduction of six monthly inspections.

 

·           The number of licensed vehicles and drivers had remained steady and there was no evidence of mass migration to other licensing authorities. Officers have worked with partners to achieve a more standard regime across the county.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the contents of this report and recommend that the licensing fees and charges for the financial year 20120/21 as shown at “Appendix 1” to the report be included in the Council’s 2020/2021 budget plan for approval by Council; and

 

2.    direct Officers to advertise the hackney carriage and private hire vehicle and operator fees as detailed in this report and recommend that, subject to consideration of any objections received, Council approves the increases as outlined in “Appendix 1.”

18.

Update on Progress with Task and Finish Group (Air Quality) Recommendations pdf icon PDF 116 KB

For members to note the contents of this report.

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on progress made against each of the Task and Finish Group recommendations. Chris Poole, Senior Technical Officer and Richard Williams, Senior Practitioner (Technical Pollution) were in attendance and answered questions from Committee Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the Corporate Director – Homes and Communities acknowledged that progress had been limited through 2019. An internal officer working group has now commenced and will progress the recommendations and also ensure monitoring and reporting of progress. The Chairman asked if a progress report could be presented to the June 2020 meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.

19.

Forward Plan 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To note the Committee’s Forward Plan 2019-20.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Forward Plan for the period to March 2020.

20.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.