Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee
Thursday, 19th April, 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Democratic Services  01775 764626

Items
No. Item

12.

Declarations of Interest

Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 6 November 2017 (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 6 November 2017 were signed as a correct record.

 

14.

Introductions and Welcome

To introduce and welcome the new Assistant Licensing Officer and new Committee Member to the Licensing Committee.

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed and introduced the new Assistant Licensing Officer.

 

Councillor Jan Whitbourn was welcomed to the licensing Committee.

15.

Animal Welfare Regulation Changes pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To update members on the draft Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 and advise on the key differences from the existing regime (report of the Executive Manager – People and Public Protection enclosed)

Minutes:

The Licensing & Business Support Manager gave an update to the animal welfare licensing regime.

 

It was stated that draft regulations were published and awaiting final copy.

 

The summary was that some animal welfare licenses would be incorporated into 1 license, meaning that animal-based businesses wouldn’t need to apply for several licences to cover all of their activities.

 

It was stated that the incoming changes applied to specified activities including, animal boarding, riding establishments, dog breeders and performing animals.

 

Members wanted to know what would happen to private sellers of rescue dogs, officers, stated that they believed regulation of this would fall under the new regime although yet to be determined.

 

It was stated by officers that a proposal was currently being lobbied in respect of puppy sales.

 

Members asked whether dog groomers would fall under the new regime, officers answered, no.

 

Members asked whether limits could be placed upon how many breeding dogs someone may own on a property. Officers answered that licensing rules allow for a level of restriction already, but that a current proposal was to tighten controls over this in the future.

 

Members asked what the proposal for fee rises was. Officers answered that they were currently awaiting the statutory guidance and regulations, and would them calculate the new fee structure accordingly.

 

Members asked whether the authority could have a higher level of strictness than the basic conditions set by these regulations. Officers answered that they believed conditions would need to reflect those in law and were awaiting publication of these.

 

Members asked how litter sizes could be policed. Officers answered that businesses were asked to keep accurate records, but that enforcement was ‘an unknown’, and that there were thoughts that tougher regulations on breeders could force them underground. Officers mentioned that the Kennel Club had tightened their regulations surrounding breeders.

 

Members asked if the importation of dogs was commonplace. Officers answered that trading standards investigate illegal importation of dogs due to the rabies risk.

 

Members asked how long licenses were supplied for before they needed refreshing and asked whether the time limit before a refresh was required could be altered. Officers responded that they would use a risk assessment (which they are awaiting) to determine the risk of the premises/activity which would determine inspection frequency.

 

Members asked if the breeding regulations covered other animals apart from dogs. Officers answered, no.

 

Members mentioned that the regulations covered the “sale of pets” and therefore should cover all animals. Officers mentioned that this only applied to sales.

 

Members asked if there were any expectations that the new regulations would lead to higher rates of animal abandonment. Officers stated that they had no evidence of this but that they felt it was unlikely because businesses would be losing profit by doing so.

 

Officers stated that some communications would be put out to the public and businesses in order to raise awareness of the new regulations.

 

Officers stated that they would have a look into the background discussion of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Taxi Licensing Updates

To  receive a verbal update on Taxi Licensing from the Licensing and Business Support Manager. 

Minutes:

Officers stated that the taxi licensing laws were somewhat outdated. It was stated that the law commission had recognised this and had published a list of recommendations, some of which had been implemented.

 

It was stated that there was an all party parliamentary working group which published recommendations, including;

 

  • Stopping cross-border hiring
  • A National database of drivers
  • Improved definition of “plying for hire”
  • Improved charging facilities for electric cars.

 

2017 Urban transport Group was hoping for better enforcement of laws.

 

The Knowsley Borough Council Judicial review (amended policy to restrict their drivers to operate predominately in their own district) had been held to be unlawful in February 2018.

 

It was stated that “plying for hire” was not known to be a large issue in the South Holland District, largely because the industry was self-regulating and drivers were quick to report others. Officers monitor and investigate complaints.

 

Members asked if there were any charging points for electric vehicles in the district, officers responded that there were not, but that they believed a review was underway generally on this topic.

 

Officers stated that sections of the Equalities Act had been adopted which required businesses to provide a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles. It was mentioned that the Government was looking to strengthen local authorities’ response to this act by issuing some guidance.

 

Officers mentioned that there were plans in place to develop a training programme for drivers which included sections designed to improve compliance with the Equalities Act.

 

Members asked if there could be some communications around the list of disabled access vehicles, and that if it could be dispersed to social media and relevant groups. Officers responded that this was a definite possibility.

 

Safeguarding

 

Officers stated that in 2017 the government had accepted powers to issue statutory guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, but no date on the issuing of this had yet been given.

 

Members asked if there was any other training relating to what people should do if they become aware of a safeguarding concern. Officers responded that current training already included this. And that county council resources offered further information relating to this.

 

Driver database:

 

This was proposed by the local government association and the institute of licensing and was a national database of driver suspensions and revocations. It was originally due in May 2018, but had been delayed by a month.

 

Members asked if any progress had been made into determining drivers with health problems that would stop them from being a driver. Officers responded that the medical forms were being updated, but that it relied almost entirely upon drivers reporting it as they cannot make adhoc checks.

 

Members mentioned that she was surprised that the system did not allow for doctors to have to issue a sign off on drivers before licenses are issued. It was advised that the medical check does require GP sign off currently.

 

Convictions and suitability policy

 

This was a national policy which aimed to promote a level of consistency to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Licensing Update

The Licensing and Business Support Manager will be in attendance to provide an update on the functions that fall under the remit of the Licensing Committee. 

Minutes:

There were no additional updates.

18.

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent.

 

 

NOTE:            No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency. 

Minutes:

There were none.