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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Lisa Pullin 

Items
No. Item

41.

Apologies/Substitutions

To receive any apologies and details of any substitutions.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs George Jeans and Pip Ridout and from Adrian Hampton (Head of Highway Operations).


There were no substitutions or membership changes.

42.

Minutes

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2022 (copy attached).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs George Jeans and Pip Ridout and from Adrian Hampton (Head of Highway Operations).

 

There were no substitutions or membership changes.

43.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chairman.

Minutes:

The Chairman gave details of the fire exits to be used in the event of the alarm sounding and made the following announcements:

 

The Chairman referred to an update from DS Louise Morley which she gave on 30 March 2022 and confirmed that he would circulate it to the Committee members following the meeting:

 

Update from DS Louise Morley to Licensing Committee as at 30 March 2022

 

Tom Ince and I caught up today to discuss information sharing between the police and the Compliance Team, I also invited DS Scott Barrett to the meeting as he runs the Exploitation Desk in our Intelligence Development Unit.

 

The three of us discussed how we can best share information and intelligence both ways whilst ensuring GDPR, the necessity for information sharing and accurate record keeping.

 

Scott’s Intelligence desk focuses at Child Exploitation, Adult Sexual exploitation and another team in Intel focuses on County Lines, I felt it would be of benefit to all of us to build a closer working relationship.

 

The Plan:

 

1       I have provided Tom with the link to our ‘Partner agency intelligence sharing form’.  Tom will share this with his team and plans to share information  such as complaints of inappropriate behaviour of drivers.

2       I have also invited Tom to our Joint Intelligence Cell that occurs on the first Wednesday of every month.  This meeting enables partners to discuss current matters of interest and to seek intelligence/support from each other.

3       I have agreed that myself and a member of the Intelligence Development Unit will accompany Toms Team the next time they are tasked with night time enforcement.  This will be an opportunity for us to engage with the taxi drivers to spread awareness of VAWG, CSE, ASE and County Line and to encourage the reporting of concerning behaviour.

It was a very productive meeting and I’m sure we will come up with more ideas as we progress. Will update the Licensing Committee on 12 September 2022.

 

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

 

The Chairman wished for congratulations and thanks to be passed on to all Council Officers involved with the licensing and other arrangements involved with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

 

Cllr Pip Ridout

 

The Committee wished to pass on their thoughts and best wishes to Cllr Pip Ridout who was currently unwell.

44.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

45.

Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.

 

Statements

If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.

 

Questions

To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.

 

Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Monday 13 June 2022 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Wednesday 15 June 2022. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.

 

Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.

Minutes:

No questions had been submitted to the Committee from the public prior to the meeting.

 

Adrian Berridge of Starline Taxis in Warminster attended the meeting to make a statement in relation to Agenda item 9 (Proposed Changes to Wiltshire Council’s Hackney Carriage Fee Structure).  This statement was heard just prior to the item being discussed is shown below in the minutes.

46.

Licensing Appeals Update

To receive an update on any appeals lodged against Licensing Sub Committee decisions.

Minutes:

Linda Holland (Licensing Manager – Public Protection) reported that there were currently no valid appeals that had been lodged in relation to any decisions made by the Licensing Sub Committees.  Linda was aware that some hearings could take between 6 and 9 months to be heard by the Magistrates Court.

 

The Chairman asked Linda Holland to give a brief update on licensing activity.  Linda highlighted the following:

 

  • The number of TEN’s applications to date was 506 which was 80% up on the same time last year and higher than pre-Covid levels – the majority of these TENS were for events over the Platinum Jubilee weekend;

 

  • Feedback from those in the licensing trade was that for the Platinum Jubilee weekend their premises were not as busy as they anticipated they would be;

 

  • There were a number or large events coming up – Chalke Valley History Festival, live music events at Longleat and Bowood.  Highways had been working hard with Longleat to ensure that previous traffic problems do not happen again after their large events;

 

  • There had been 15 licensing Sub Committee hearings in the last 12 months – Officers wished to thank the Members involved with those hearings and particularly those who were involved with the Film Classification hearings;

 

  • Officers were seeing an increase in the number of complaints of activities/events taking place at licenced premises, including residential complaints from those premises who were using their outside areas late into the evening and it would seem that there was now less tolerance for events in residential areas;

 

A Committee Member asked if Linda could arrange for there to be some publicity and awareness raising in relation to the Temporary Events Notices (TEN’s) and suggested that the Area Boards could be used to share this information and for the public to be made aware of how little control the Council have in relation to TEN’s unless an objection is made by the Police or Council’s Environmental Health Team.  Linda Holland agreed to look at getting some information out in time for autumn/Christmas events via the Area Boards.

 

The Chairman asked about the football World Cup.  It was confirmed that this would be during November/December 2022 and it was suggested that information could also be shared via the Area Boards to raise awareness of this too.

47.

Minutes of the Licensing Sub Committees

To receive and sign the minutes of the following Licensing Sub Committees:

 

Classification of a Film

 

10/05/22         Classification of a Film “You can’t get there from here”

 

16/05/22         Classification of Films for Ignite Film Festival, Marlborough

 

24/05/22         Classification of Films for Ignite Film Festival, Marlborough

 

Eastern Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

09/03/22         Application for a Premises Licence - Lower Park Farm, Whistley       Road, Potterne, Devizes

 

Northern Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

Sub Committee minutes to follow

 

 

Southern Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

Sub Committee minutes to follow

 

 

Western Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

Sub Committee minutes to follow

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The following minutes of the Licensing Sub Committees were presented to the Licensing Committee:

 

Classification of a Film

 

10/05/22         Classification of a Film “You can’t get there from here”


16/05/22         Classification of Films for Ignite Film Festival, Marlborough


24/05/22         Classification of Films for Ignite Film Festival, Marlborough


Eastern Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

09/03/22         Application for a Premises Licence – Lower Park Farm, Whistley                  Road, Potterne, Devizes

           

Northern Area Licensing Sub Committee

 

05/04/22         Application for a Premises Licence – The Hop Garden, Broadtown               Brewery, 29 Broad Town Road, Broad Town, Swindon

 

26/04/22         Application for a Premises Licence – Live at Lydiard, Park Farm,                  Lydiard, Swindon

 

Resolved:

 

That the above Licensing Sub Committee minutes be approved and signed as a correct record.

48.

Update on behalf of the Taxi Provision Working Group

The Committee will receive an update on behalf of the Taxi Provision Working Group.  The notes from the meetings held on 14 March and 9 May 2022 are attached.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Allison Bucknell (Chair of the TPWG) reported that the Working Group had met on 14 March and 9 May 2022 and the notes of those meetings were attached to the Agenda.  Cllr Bucknell highlighted the following:

 

·         That when the Working Group last met on 9 May 2022 they had felt that Officers had a good handle on what was required to improve the numbers of taxi drivers in Wiltshire and following the targeted recruitment campaign this was seeing the number of applications rise.  They had agreed to recommend that the Working Group be suspended for the time being and resurrected with the agreement of the Licensing Committee should the need arise;

 

·         That the Working Group had raised concerns on the delays caused by DBS checks (usually by the local Police force) level.  Cllr Steve Bucknell had been asked to raise this with the Police and Crime Panel;

 

·         That the Working Group wished to ask the Licensing Committee to consider investigating the ways in which the provision of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles could be extended for the public;

 

This was briefly discussed by the Committee and it was agreed to delegate this to Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) to look into further and then share his observations with the Licensing Committee via email, taking into account the recent legislation changes.

 

Cllr Allison Bucknell then asked Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) to give a brief update to the Committee on the progress made by the Working Group.  Tom highlighted the following:

 

  • There were concerns over the fulfilment of the SEN contracts and some contracts had been handed back to the Council.  With the driver recruitment campaign they have certainly seen more interest and in fact the new driver levels were up to where they were before the pandemic.  In May there were 32 applications received, although the overall driver numbers had risen by about 5 as there were a number of drivers also leaving the trade;

 

  • They had also seen interest for the Passenger Transport Unit (PTU) contracts come from drivers and firms out of the County with some private hire interest.  Whilst Officers were pleased that there had been interest to help the Council fulfil the contracts, the preference was to recruit Wiltshire drivers to keep the industry in Wiltshire going.  Officers had been in contact with the Council’s Communications Team and had agreed to keep the recruitment campaign going to continue to encourage more Wiltshire drivers join the industry;

 

A Committee Member asked if drivers needed to be licenced to be able to drive for the Wiltshire contracts?  Tom Ince confirmed that drivers did need to be licensed as a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle to undertake contracts. Tom was also aware that some drivers operate under Section 19 permits but was not sure that this was the correct/preferred way to proceed.  He felt that the preference would be for them to be a Public Service Vehicle operator or a hackney carriage licenced driver.  Drivers for the contracts do  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Proposed Changes to Wiltshire Council's Hackney Carriage Fee Structure

The report of Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) seeks to provide the Licensing Committee with the relevant information to make an informed decision on whether hackney carriage fares in Wiltshire should be raised or remain at the same level.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Mr Adrian Berridge of Starline Taxis in Warminster attended the meeting to make a statement in relation to the proposed changes to the Hackney Carriage fee structure and highlighted the following:

 

·               Their concern was the low 5% proposed tariff one increase which they did not feel would touch the sides to help them keep afloat with all of the rising costs and they would be suggesting an increase of 20%;

 

·               If their losses continued they would only be able to use their overdraft for so long before they would be forced to make a hard decision as to whether they could continue to trade;

 

·               They had been carrying out a number of PTU contracts since 1990 and they were aware that because of the low numbers of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV) in Wiltshire it was the case that children were late for school because of the lack of vehicles.  It was the case for them that they had to run empty from Warminster to Melksham to collect children and young people who required a WAV.  Other operators who had WAV’s were quoting large fares.  For each operator every 10th vehicle has to be a WAV and Starline were one of the main suppliers of WAV in a 20 mile radius

 

·               Starline Taxis rely on the PTU contracts, but the Council’s requirements for them to have a vehicle less than 5 years old means that this is a cost of approximately £15k for each vehicle and the costs associated with the driver obtaining a licence and the relevant checks;

 

·               Starline currently worked across two counties and they were aware that Mendip put vehicles in Wiltshire and there was also the issue of the cost of second hand cars arising as a result of the Covid pandemic and for WAV there was a minimum spend of £25k per vehicle;

 

·               With the current tariffs at 10:30pm Wiltshire is the most expensive provider, but from 11pm they are then not the most expensive;

 

·               That they had only had a 30p increase in the last 7 years; and

 

·               Because of the microchip shortages and then knock on effect of prices for cars, could the Council look at any possible leeway for the age of cars being admitted on first registration?

 

A Committee Member asked if the Council’s current policy on cars having to be less than 5 years old on first registration could be reviewed as he was aware that the Police use cars that are older and can have 200k miles on the clock.

 

Tom Ince responded that Bristol City Council ask for 3 years at first registration and that allowing older vehicles would be contrary to the Council’s climate emergency and would be a step backward.  The Chairman encouraged Mr Berridge to put forward all of his concerns and suggestions into the consultation as if there was a request and rationale for a review of the Policy (collected via the consultation) then there would be more evidence of a need for this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Dates of Future Committee Meetings

Members are asked to note the future meetings of the Licensing Committee, all to commence at 10.30am:

 

12 September 2022

5 December 2022

6 March 2023.

Minutes:

Members noted the future meetings of the Licensing Committee, all to commence at 10.30am:

 

12 September 2022

5 December 2022

6 March 2023.

51.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which in the opinion of the Chairman, should be taken as a matter of urgency. Urgent items of a confidential nature may be considered under Part II of this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

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