Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee - Monday 5 December 2022 10.30 am

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

Contact: Lisa Pullin 

No. Item


Apologies and Substitutions

To receive any apologies and details of any substitutions.


Apologies have been received from Cllrs Ruth Hopkinson and Pip Ridout and from Mike Edgar (Senior Solicitor), Kevin Oliver (Authorising Officer), Adrian Hampton (Head of Highway Operations), and Adrian Weissenbruch (SEND and Passenger Assistant Transport Manager).


There were no substitutions.



To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2022 (copy attached).

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2022 were presented to the Committee.



That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2022 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Chairman's Announcements

Supporting documents:


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




Welcome to Sarah Valdus who is the new Assistant Director – Environment.


Update on Project Vigilant


The Committee will recall that DS Louise Morley attended the Licensing Committee in March 2022 to give an overview of Project Vigilant, the aim of which is preventing sexual violence.  Louise Morley has now moved roles and DI Troy Smith is now responsible for rolling this project out in Wiltshire.  DI Smith was unable to attend the meeting today but had reported that they have deployed in Swindon during the day time (Operation Vigilant DAY) and had a DAY deployment in Trowbridge on 3rd December 2022, assisted by the local Neighbourhood Team headed by Inspector Andy Lemon.  Night time economy (NTE) deployments are planned, however these are likely to be in Swindon only for now as a result of the local group's recent success in securing Safer Streets funding.  A partner briefing is attached to the Agenda at page 21.  DI Smith has been invited to attend the next Licensing Committee meeting on 6 March 2023 to provide an update.


Safer Streets Initiative


A number of Safer Streets initiatives would be coming forward over the next few months and the Committee would receive updates as these become available. 


Farewell and Thanks


To Sarah Marshall (Principal Solicitor) who will be leaving Wiltshire Council on 6 January 2023 – Sarah was thanked for her support to the Licensing Committee and Licensing Sub Committee hearings and was presented with a card and chocolates on behalf of the Committee.


Sarah gave her thanks for the chocolates and her time advising the Committee and reported that Asifa Ashraf and Mike Edgar would be supporting Licensing moving forwards.


Declarations of Interest

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



There were no declarations of interest.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



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.



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 28 November 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 30 November 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.


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


Licensing Appeals Update

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

Supporting documents:


There were no known appeals pending.  However – an appeal was understood to have been filed with the Magistrates Court in October 2021 but nothing further has been received from the Court.


Minutes of the Licensing Sub Committees

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


Southern Area Licensing Sub Committee


07.11.22         Application for a Review of a Premises Licence – The Cuckoo Inn,               Hamptworth, Salisbury


Western Area Licensing Sub Committee


16.11.22         Application for a Variation of a Premises Licence – The Bath                                     Arms, Crockerton, Warminster



Supporting documents:


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


Southern Area Licensing Sub Committee


07.11.22         Application for a Review of a Premise Licence – The Cuckoo Inn,                 Hamptworth, Salisbury


It was highlighted that there was a typographical error on page 38 of the Agenda pack in the table.  The hours the premises open to the public stated that the Saturday closing was at 23:00 when it should read 23:30.  The typo would be amended and decision notice reissued.


Western Area Licensing Sub Committee


16.11.22         Application  for  a Variation of a Premises Licence – The Bath                       Arms,             Crockerton, Warminster




That the above Licensing Sub Committee minutes be approved and signed as a correct record subject to the minor alteration in the minutes of the Southern Area Licensing Sub Committee of 7 November 2022.


Briefing Note - The King's Coronation - Community Celebrations

Kevin Oliver (Land Use/Events Authorising Officer) has prepared a briefing note to ensure that Wiltshire Council has a robust and straightforward system in place to ensure that communities wishing to celebrate the King’s Coronation are signposted to the Council’s web page where they will find the appropriate tools, support and guidance to hold a community party.  Agreement will be sought to publish the briefing note on the Councils website and to share with all Town and Parish Councils.

Supporting documents:


Kevin Oliver (Events Authorising Officer) had prepared a briefing note to ensure that there was a robust and straightforward system in place so that communities wishing to celebrate the Kings Coronation in June 2023 are signposted to the appropriate places.  Agreement was sought to publish the briefing note on the Council’s website and to share with all Town and Parish Councils.


A Committee member asked that the guidance and details of costs be circulated to all Town and Parish Councils as soon as possible as there may be budget setting implications for them.  It was also suggested that the information is also shared via the Area Boards and that the timescales for applications are clearly set out with a final date included after which no applications would be considered.




That the briefing note be published on the Council’s website and that it be shared with all Town and Parish Councils and Area Boards as soon as possible, (including details of associated costs and timescales.)


Update from the Taxi Licensing Team

Tom   Ince   (Principal  Compliance   Officer)   has   prepared   the   attached   Taxi Licensing update as at November 2022 and will give an overview to the Committee. 


Supporting documents:


Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) referred to the taxi licencing report for November 2022 that was circulated with the Agenda and highlighted the following:


·    Driver numbers had stabilised over 2022.  The Taxi Licensing and Passenger Transport team had launched a driver recruitment campaign and this was bearing fruit with 44 new licence applications being processed during October 2022.  However there were a number of older drivers leaving the industry but it was positive that the numbers were flat and not continuing to fall;


·           Drivers were reporting higher levels of business now the economy is beginning to recover; however the Council had received a number of complaints over the last two months from individuals struggling to book a taxi, especially at school run times.  A large proportion of taxis are utilised by Passenger Transport Unit contracts and Officers were looking at the possibility of there being a school transport only licence and make this cheaper for drivers to apply for, although all of the relevant checks in place would have to remain the same but they could reduce the knowledge test and fee with a restricted licence;


·           The Taxi Licensing team had been heavily hit by staff sickness and whilst they had been able to secure approval for a temporary position from the temporary work bank there had been no interest to fill the role and they were now working with HR to try and push for this as the team needed to ensure that they could deliver their priorities and their focus to recruit new drivers and to keep the trade moving.  The staff shortages had also impacted on the level of active enforcement the team were able to carry out;


·           The number of licenced vehicles went up 9 in October 2022 and were now at 791 as at 22 November 2022.  There had been a move away from Hackney Carriage licences to private hire licences and that trend was expected to continue due to the change in the industry;


·           The increase of 10% to tariff 1 (as agreed by the Licensing Committee in October) was implemented on 1 December 2022 and there would be an annual review of this due to be completed in the first quarter of 2023 and whilst they did not anticipate any changes this would be led by data from benchmarking from other Local Authorities and any proposed changes would be reported back to the Committee; and


·           The feedback from the trade was that the rates for larger vehicles should be increased, however Wiltshire are currently one of the most expensive Local Authorities in the area for large vehicles and there was a balance of the needs of the businesses and taxis being cost effective/affordable for the public too.


A Committee member referred to the graph showing the total driver numbers per area on page 61 of the Agenda and commented that the total number of drivers seemed to have dipped in October 2022 from the previous month, and particularly in the North of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.


Update on Fulfilment of Passenger Transport Contracts

Adrian Weissenbruch (SEND and Passenger Assistant Transport Manager) will speak to an update on the current fulfilment of Passenger Transport Unit Contracts which is to follow.

Supporting documents:


Jason Salter (Head of Service – Passenger Transport) gave an update on the current fulfilment of passenger transport contracts and highlighted the following:


  • That there were currently 5-6 students without transport to education settings due to a lack of drivers/licenced vehicles.  There were also as number of parents receiving a rate of pay to transport their own children to school that are entitled to free transport;


  • Between now and June 2022 it was anticipated that there would be a further 80 new requests for transport which would obviously be a further struggle to be able to deliver the transport provision for this.  Some quotes received for this work come in at £300/£400 per day.  The demand obviously places a big strain on staff who are having to deal with parents/carers who are wishing to receive their provision and currently the local authority were having to spend more than they have ever done to be able to fulfil their statutory duty;


The Chairman reported that he was aware that 200 more transport requests would be required from September 2022 and asked if there was something that could be done in house with Wiltshire Council drivers carrying out our contract work?  Jason Salter reported that they were looking at a blend of different things to help with that including buying larger vehicles that could carry 8 passengers as that would release the capacity from smaller taxis.  There were a large number of taxis that were currently only transporting only one person and they would look into this further to see if there was an opportunity to offer parents to transport their child which would release those taxis back into the market.


The Chairman asked if it was made clear to the parents/carers with guidance on what they would receive if they were to transport their children themselves.  Jason Salter reported that they were clear on what they will pay in those situations and that hopefully it would not be forever and offered to share the guidance so that this could be passed on to the Committee members.


A Committee member expressed concern that if parents are able to transport their child to school that they should do so.  Jason Salter reminded of the Council’s statutory duty to provide transport to school in certain circumstances.


The Chairman agreed that more work was to be done to get more drivers into the taxi trade and asked that the Passenger Transport team continue to work with the Taxi Licensing team to look at ways to make it easier for drivers to get started and look into the possibility of the school only licence.  A Committee member suggested that this only be available to new drivers/licences so that this would not pull existing drivers over to convert to this type of licence.


The Chairman noted that these were challenging times for the two services and thanked Officers for the updates.





That the Committee note the update on the fulfilment of passenger transport contracts and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Film Classification: Amendment to Procedure and New Fees and Charges

The report of Linda Holland (Licensing Manager) seeks to ask the Licensing Committee to consider a charging regime in relation to the classification of films by Wiltshire Council and to review the procedure and implement an associated fee structure.

Supporting documents:


The report attached to the Agenda sought approval from the Committee to consider a charging regime in relation to the classification of films by Wiltshire Council and to review the procedure and implement a fee structure.  Linda Holland (Licensing Manager) highlighted the following:


  • Following a review of the process it would appear more effective to bring film classification in line with other licensing processes.  The changes proposed were felt to be more practical with two Licensing Officers watching and then classifying films to reduce the burden in arranging a Licensing Sub Committee which would currently require attendance from three Councillors, Legal, Licensing and Democratic Services representatives;


  • There is currently no legal right of appeal for film classification decision and a challenge to a film classification can only be made by an application to judicially review the decision; and


  • Officers had carried out benchmarking of fees from other local authorities and had set out what they considered to be reasonably proportionate fees to watch and carry out the associated admin work of processing the applications to classify films.


The Chairman commented that the proposed fees were close to that of Mendip but there was quite a variation in relation to what Oxford were charging.  Linda Holland reported that she had looked how the fee structures are calculated for our other services and had come up with a cost that equated to the Officer’s time.


Sarah Marshall (Principal Solicitor) advised the Committee that some film classifications may require a hearing by a Licensing Sub Committee in exceptional circumstances if needed.


A Committee member noted that the BBFC offered a 50% reduction for any charities that apply to have a film classified and asked about the appeals process and we could state if applications were not received within the specified timescales that they would not be considered.  Linda Holland reported that there was no right of appeal in law but that any decision could be the subject of a judicial review.  They could consider setting up an appeals process if this was wished for by the Committee.


It was then proposed and seconded that an appeals process be set up so that anyone wishing to appeal the Officer’s decision would go before a meeting of the Licensing Sub Committee before this went to a judicial review.  This motion was carried and would be added to the main proposals later in the meeting.


Linda Holland reported that in relation to a possible cost reduction for charities this was considered but not taken forward as that would not cover the costs of dealing with the application.


It was proposed that there be a 50% reduction in fees to registered charities but this motion was not seconded so fell away.




That the Licensing Committee


1.         Agree and adopt the amendments to the film classification procedure, including the setting up of an appeals process through the Licensing Sub Committee.


2.         Approve the delegation to the Licensing Manager and/or Licensing Officers for the classification or reclassification of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.


Dates of Future Committee Meetings

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


6 March 2023

19 June 2023

11 September 2023

4 December 2023.


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


6 March 2023

19 June 2023

11 September 2023

4 December 2023.


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.


The Chairman asked Officers present to give an update from their teams that they felt were relevant to the Committee:


Linda Holland (Licensing Manager) reported that they had recently recruited to two posts within their team – a Technical Support Officer and a Licensing Officer.  Moving forward there were software changes due next year that would involve working on and that would further reduce their capacity.


There had been no significant issues with the current football world cup games being shown at premises and she was aware that some of the hospitality sectors were under strain with the lower levels of customer numbers that had not really picked up since the pandemic.  They were working with Police colleagues to promote positivity and to support the premises and their customers to operate safely so as to avoid any issues particularly with anti-social behaviour.


The levels of temporary events notice applications was at 185 for December which was the same as pre Covid levels although she noted that there were changes in the way that patrons were frequenting premises and that there were pressures for all relating to the cost of living and for premises having issues with their own increased costs and staffing difficulties.  It was felt that this was an ongoing challenge for the industry and that they would do what they could to support them going forward.


A Committee member asked if Officers had received as many applications as they had expected for the Queen’s jubilee celebrations in June?  Linda Holland reported that they had not.


Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) reported that he would share information to the Clerk around guidance of street cash collections so that all Councillors were aware of the requirements should they receive any concern about this from their constituents.  They had anticipated a rise in applications for permits for street collection permits in 2022 but this had not materialised.  They had an issue with a Santa Train/Float collection in the north of the County who had not been granted a street collection permit.  Street collection and House to House Collection permits are free, anyone asking for donations either from house to house or on the streets would require a permit and this would ensure there was transparency of where the collection money going to ensure that the nominated charity was benefitting. 


Changes had been implemented to the charges for street trading consents and although this was up 30% up from last year positive, 10% traders had ceased in the last few months with some reporting that even with a busy town centre location they could not make it pay because of the lower footfall.  Markets were also struggling to retain their traders and they anticipated that there would be further difficulties going in to the next quarter as things had changed and how people shop had changed post pandemic.


The numbers of incidences of fly tipping had fallen and two new Officers would be starting in the new year and their focus would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.