Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee - Monday 4 March 2024 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 were received from Cllr Ruth Hopkinson and from Jason Salter (Head of Service – Passenger Transport).


Cllr Stewart Palmen was substituting for Cllr Ruth Hopkinson.



To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2023 (copy attached).

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2023 were presented to the Committee.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman welcomed Claire Francis (Public Protection Manager – Community Protection), and Stephen Melville (Safer Streets Co-Ordinator – OPCC) to the meeting.


The Chairman highlighted that the Council had won the Environmental Campaign of the Year Award at the Keep Britain Tidy Awards for its work to reduce fly-tipping in the county at an awards ceremony in York on 29 February and congratulated the teams involved on behalf of the Committee.


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 26 February 2024 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 28 February 2024. 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 in advance of the meeting.


Licensing Appeals Update

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


There were no known Licensing Sub Committee appeals pending.


Minutes of the Licensing Sub Committees

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



Western Area Licensing Sub Committee


11.12.2023    Application for a Premises Licence - Asda Express, East Street                    Service Station, 80 East Street, Warminster

Supporting documents:


The following minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee were approved:


Western Area Licensing Sub Committee

11.12.2023    Application for a Premises Licence, Asda Express, East Street                    Service Station, 80 East Street, Warminster




That the minutes of the meeting detailed above be approved and signed as a correct record.


Safer Streets Fund Update

Jennifer Laibach (Strategic Lead for Community Safety and Youth) and Stephen Melville (Safer Streets Co-Ordinator) from the Wiltshire and Swindon OPCC will talk to the attached update on the Safer Streets Fund initiative.

Supporting documents:


Stephen Melville (Safer Streets Co-Ordinator) from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner presented an overview of the Safer Streets Fund initiative and highlighted the following:


·         The Safer Streets Fund launched in 2020 and the Government has invested £120 million through four rounds of funding.  Round 5 launched in July 2024 and Police force areas were offered the opportunity to bid for up to £1 million to deliver a range of interventions.  Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC’s) were invited to submit up to three proposals for their areas, consulting relevant local authorities and other partners in their area.  The proposals that were submitted were assessed by the Home Office to ensure they met the terms of the scheme;


·         Stephen had been in post as the Safer Streets Co-Ordinator for 2 months now.  It was not yet known if there would be a round 6 of funding with the pending general election and how a new government might want to fund such initiatives;


·         Discussions with the Home Office began in August/September 2023 which had meant that there was a very short time frame to get out and gather evidence, and then submit the bids to the Home Office for approval.  Just under £1 million was claimed for Wiltshire and Swindon, previous projects could not be repeated.  For round 5 there was a focus on neighbourhood crime – burglaries, robberies, vehicle theft, anti-social behaviour and tackling violence against women and girls, this was initially introduced in 2021 in response to the Sarah Everard case, and had continued through round 4 to into round 5;


·         In December 2023, the Home Office notified that there would be reduction in the funding available which meant that each Police force area would have a reduction of £180,000 from the original allocation for the 2024/25 year.  Consideration had to be given as to where this money could be saved and there was consultation with local authorities and partners to look at how the outcomes could still be met.  The OPCC agreed to provide investment of £50k to cover some of the shortfall and to reduce the impact on providers and the intended outcomes of the funding.  It was decided not to try and commission new services but to adapt existing projects with efforts to achieve outcomes but accepting that some impact on delivery would be inevitable;


·         Project 1 included Night Time Economy (NTE) Wardens for Trowbridge and Salisbury from 8pm to 4am, CCTV in Chippenham and Salisbury and Community Action Initiatives for Swindon;


A Trowbridge Committee member asked about the stakeholder engagement that had been undertaken prior to this project as he felt that Trowbridge might have preferred funding towards CCTV.  Stephen reported that he was not involved in the bid process so would not be able to advise on that.  He further highlighted that the timescales were short and that funding was prescriptive to submit bids within a certain date.  He assured the Committee that there would have been consultation with the local community and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


*Update from the Passenger Transport Team

Jason Salter (Head of Service – Passenger Transport) will give an update on behalf of the Passenger Transport Team at the meeting.


Jason Salter (Head of Service – Passenger Transport Unit) was unable to attend the meeting but it was agreed that he would prepare an update to share with the Committee following the meeting.


Post meeting note – Below is the update that was shared with the Committee members following the meeting:


Update from Passenger Transport


·       Wiltshire Council is currently able to fulfil all of its home to school transport contracts.

·       During January 2024 we had 169 taxi / private hire providers registered through the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) with Passenger Transport to operate contracts on its behalf.  We undertook an exercise to contact those operators (87) who are licensed with Wiltshire Council, but not registered with our Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).  This resulted in a further 14 providers being on boarded.




What is QRoutes?


·       QRoutes is a cost effective, cloud-based tool for planning SEND, mainstream school and adult social care transport. Planners can generate quality results in minutes, meaning provision can be re-optimised as and when requirements change.

·       It helps finding the most efficient and cost-effective routes for transportation. Using advanced algorithms and data analysis this software minimizes travel distance, time, and fuel consumption. To determine the best sequence and pick up order, it involves analysing several factors, including distance, traffic, vehicle capacity, given maxim travel time, students’ individual requirements, etc.

·       This software provides not only operational planning but also valuable insights. By means of generated solutions or what-if scenarios, strategic decisions can be made based on valuable data presented in PowerBi.

·       We have purchased an enhanced version this for a 2 year arrangements at £30k per annum


Benefits of Using QRoutes


·       Produces high quality results - better than “human planners”, but taxi co-ordinators can use their expertise to improve results further.

·       Transport Team can re-plan provision quickly throughout the year.

·       Brings all coordinators up to the same high productivity level.

·       Minimalizing the time, the planning team spent manually mapping out routes with Google Maps from hours to minutes thanks to the automation process the platform provides.

·       By using QRoutes there is an assurance that we will always get the most effective output.

·       The system captures data fed into it and produces information about the network you are providing so that you can see where it is performing well / not so well and take remedial action accordingly

·       We have managed to turn off 8 taxi routes across the network with a saving of around £150k per annum


Example of QRoutes potential

·       Since January 2024, 2 schools in Salisbury (Salisbury Springfield South and Salisbury Pembroke Park) were merged and the new SAIL School was created on the site of the former Salisbury Police Station. - all students were moved to the new establishment.  An additional 20 students were transported from other schools across the county.


·       Challenges:

·       Limited numbers of taxi operators.

·       Limited numbers of available Passenger Assistants

·       Short period of time for preparation (since definite names of students were given and school start date).

·       High end students’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Update from Taxi Licensing Team

Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) has prepared the attached update on behalf of the Taxi Licensing Team as at February 2024 and will give an overview of the update to the Committee at the meeting.

Supporting documents:


Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) referred to the taxi licensing update that was circulated with the agenda and highlighted the following:


·         The team had been busy since the last meeting in December 2023 with the processing of 21 new licence applications and 81 renewals during January 2024.  They had been experiencing some delays with the DBS process for some drivers with enhanced checks taking from a week or so to months, although this was out of their control.  With the quick return of a DBS check the turnaround of a driver being licenced could be a month which was positive;


·         The changes to the requirements for tinted windows was implemented on 1 January 2024 following approval at the last meeting and this has been well received by the trade who had been lobbying for this change for some time;


·         The team would be introducing the single licensing zone for hackney carriages in Wiltshire with effect from 1 April 2024.  Recently published guidance from the Government supports the removal of smaller licensing zones and the creation of a single zone to cover an authority’s area.  This move would give more opportunities for work and cut the number of ‘dead’ miles;


·         There had been some push back from drivers in the South area because this would mean that they would have to travel for their 6 monthly MOT vehicle checks to be carried out in Devizes.  It had been agreed that it was not cost effective to operate the workshop in Salisbury and the other areas had had to travel to Devizes for their MOTs for the last two years.  The workshop was available for vehicle inspections currently for 4 days a week, but this could be increased to 5 days a week if there was a demand for that;


·         The team continued to proactively enforce the Council’s policies in relation to taxi licensing by carrying out inspections at the taxi ranks and it was hoped that the recent staff sickness issues were now behind them so that there would be a visible presence at the ranks.  The messages received from drivers included that footfall was down and the trade would not be viable without school contract work and that the night time economy had struggled since Covid; and


·         The Government published best practice guidance in November 2023 and this places a lot of emphasis on accessibility to taxi ranks and taxi services and the team would be undertaking a rank review across Wiltshire’s major towns to look at the level of accessibility, number of dropped kerbs, and shelters to wait in etc.


It was confirmed that the ranks would be assessed to see if they were in the right places and if alterations would need to be made for the installation of electric charging points – this would be a big challenge for the Council.


The Chairman asked Tom Ince to comment on the recent story in the press about a Chippenham resident being refused access to a taxi with his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Update from Public Protection Licensing Team

John Carter (Head of Service – Public Protection) has prepared the attached update on behalf of the Public Protection Licensing Team and will give an overview at the meeting.

Supporting documents:


John Carter (Head of Service – Public Protection) referred to the Public Protection Licensing Team update that was circulated with the agenda and highlighted the following:


·        The licensing fees and charges for 2024/25 were confirmed at the Full Council meeting on 20 February 2024 – the fees under the Licensing Act 2023 are statutory and not subject to change unless the Government amend regulations permitting amendments.  There were a number of locally set fees which were approved by Members, and these would all come into force from April 2024;


·        Apologies to Members that the weekly updates of licensing applications had not been circulated since Linda Holland’s departure at the end of November, but these had now been reinstated, being sent out by Technical Support Team;


·        In January 2024 a letter had been received from the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire regarding local authorities licensing and planning functions and the differences between the two.  The Government intended to further strengthen the Section 182 guidance by providing detailed advice on practical ways that local licensing and planning regimes can collaborate and to provide further support for applicants on the importance of early identification of potential difficulties across the two regimes when making a licensing application.  When further details were published this would be shared with the Committee;


·        The consultation for Martyn’s law officially known as the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill was running from 5 February to 18 March 2024.  The bill would impose requirements in relation to certain premises and events to increase their preparedness for, and protection from, a terrorist attack by requiring them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and nature of the activities that take place at the premises – relevant updates would be provided to the Committee when available;


·        One of Wiltshire’s two zoos recently received their inspection with a secretary of state appointed inspector and licensing officers in attendance.  Dangerous Wild Animal Licences had been renewed using the conditions that were previously acknowledged by the Committee.  Information was awaited on the impact of new legalisation for the Animals (Penalty Notices) Act 2022 and a primate licensing scheme under the Animal Welfare Act which was expected to come into force in 2026 subject to parliamentary processes;


·        It became a criminal offence to sell, transfer, exchange, gift or advertise XL Bully dogs from 31 December 2023.  The Council had not licensed any breeders for these types of dogs.  The Licensing Officers and Dog Wardens were working closely with the Police to monitor the impact of these changes, with the Police leading on the identification of XL Bullies that should now be registered;


·        A service wide restructure had been taking place for the Public Protection Service since late November which had resulted in significant management changes to the service including the licensing team which would deliver savings for the current and next financial year.  Claire Francis had been appointed to a new post in structure as the Public Protection Manager for Community Protection with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

Appendix 1 to Minutes - Public Protection Service Structure Chart

Supporting documents:


Wiltshire Council's Statement of Licensing Policy

The report of Claire Francis (Public Protection Manager – Community Protection) seeks to inform the Committee of the need to review, consult and adopt a new Statement of Licensing Policy by November 2024 and seek the Committee’s approval to commence the consultation process.

Supporting documents:


Claire Francis (Public Protection Manager – Community Protection) referred to the report which sought to inform the committee of the need to review, consult and adopt a new statement of Licensing Policy by November 2024 and to seek the Committee’s approval to commence the consultation process.  Claire then highlighted the following:


·         The Council’s current statement of licensing policy came into effect in November 2019 and the Council would need to be in a position to formally adopt a revised policy by 9 November 2024; and


·         The first draft of the policy had been prepared with the list of the planned changes detailed at appendix 2 to the report which mostly related to legislation and guidance changes over the last few years.  The public consultation would run for 6 weeks, and the policy must be consulted on with specific stakeholders listed in the Home Office guidance which would include licence holders, Police, Fire and Rescue, businesses and residents of the area.  The Council would also include city/town/parish councils and area boards.  The feedback would be collected via an online survey to make it easier to make comments and to analyse results, there would also be paper copies too.  The findings from the consultation would be shared with the Committee at their next meeting in June.


In response to a number of general questions from the Committee Members the

following was clarified:


·       The Chambers of Commerce could also be sent the information about the consultation; and


·       Officers would review paragraph 2.4 of the draft policy (Door supervisors/stewards) in relation to what/when DBS checks would be required.


Frank Cain (Legal Advisor) suggested that the second paragraph in section 1.1 of the draft policy be amended to read as follows to provide clarity:


This statement of licensing policy will be kept under review throughout its period of validity and amended as considered necessary. Any material amendments will be subject to consultation.


Resolved: That the Licensing Committee


1.      Instruct Officers to carry out a 6 week consultation process on the proposed Statement of Licensing Policy for 2024-2029.


2.      Notes that at the next meeting in June 2024, the Committee will be required to further consider recommending the finalised statement of Licensing Policy to Full Council for adoption.


Dates of Future Committee Meetings

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


3 June 2024

16 September 2024

2 December 2024

17 March 2025.


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


The Chairman reported that the date for the June meeting would be pushed back and Committee would be advised of the new date as soon as possible.


Post meeting note – Next meeting will be held on 17 June 2024

16 September 2024

2 December 2024.


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.


There were no urgent items.