Agenda item

Update from the Licensing Team

Linda Holland (Licensing Manager) will give an update/overview on behalf of the Licensing Team to the Committee, the update is attached.


Linda Holland (Licensing Manager) referred to the Licensing Team update circulated with the Agenda and highlighted the following:


·                Recently the Ask Angela campaign had proved particularly successful when a male said the phrase to bar staff in a Trowbridge licensed premises.  The staff understood what was required of them and kept the male safe until Police arrived to deal with the situation;


·                The “Safety at Night” Charter was a cross county initiative which was launched in Swindon and Wiltshire in November 2022 and seeks to proactively tackle the issue of safety within the night-time economy.  Currently 55 venues had signed up to the Charter and Officers were working hard to get more to sign up;


·                Following intelligence relating to potential illegal workers at licensed premises in Wiltshire, the Immigration Service had recently conducted a number of visits with several illegal workers being detained for not having the right to work in the UK.  The onus was not on the Licensing Team to ensure that staff have the right to work, but on the employer.


·                There had been an increase in the number of licensing applications in 2022 which was anticipated after Covid.  However, a number of licensed premises had closed and it was likely due to a number of factors including staffing pressures and the current economic climate.  2023 so far had seen a slight growth in applications with a few new wine bars and online sales of alcohol.


·                There had not been a huge number of enquiries to Licensing for premises wishing to celebrate the Kings Coronation.  There had been some TEN applications but not as many as for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.  The Government had announced that licensing hours for pubs, clubs and bars across the Kings Coronation weekend would be extended by two hours.  The extension from 11pm to 1am would cover the Friday 5 to Sunday 7 May 2023;


·                The Government has announced that a new Protect duty (Martyn’s Law) will place a requirement on those responsible for certain publicly accessible locations to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. The legislation will ensure parties are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.? This was still in the draft phase and more information would be shared with the Committee and Councillors when it was available.


·                The new rules introduced by the Gambling Commission which came into effect on 12 September 2022 seek to ensure that online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect consumers at risk of harm;


·                Changes to the Film Classification process were agreed by the Committee in December 2022 and as requested an appeal against a classification process had been set up, the proposed changes to the Council’s Scheme of Delegation would be considered at the next Constitution Focus Group and then on to the Standards Committee.  The introduction of fees and charges for film classifications from 1 April 2023 was agreed by Full Council in February;


·                2022 saw an increase in the number of complaints received regarding animal welfare and possible unlicensed activities and the team were currently investigating/dealing with several complex cases.  The Council offers a voluntary dog walker scheme administered by the Dog Warden team – there was no legal requirement to be part of any scheme; and


·                The Licensing Team continued to be busy and with the introduction of new computer software resources were having to be diverted to help with that which was more work than was anticipated.  Jemma Price had left the team in December and was replaced by Andy Noble who had previously been working in the team under a temporary contract.


The Chairman wished to pass on this thanks to all of the Licensing team for their work and support to Members and asked if the extended hours for the Kings Coronation would be shared to ensure that Members and the public were aware of this.  Linda Holland confirmed that this would be communicated as appropriate.


The Chairman asked that Kevin Oliver (Events Authorising Officer) be asked to provide an update on the current position of applications for the Kings Coronation and that this be shared with the Committee and to all Members.


Following a question from a Committee Member, Linda Holland clarified that the Council’s Dog Wardens administer the list of voluntary dog walkers and offer advice about their responsibilities for walking a number of dogs together, but do not find the volunteers to be added to the said list.


The Committee had a number of queries regarding the new Martyn’s Law and what the impact might be for premises in their areas and the expectations of those who let out public buildings for events etc.  Linda Holland confirmed that the detail of the new law had yet to be determined and that further details would be shared via a Briefing note with all Members as soon as these were available.


A Committee Member reported that he had recently took his cat to a local cattery which he had used many times before.  This time a lot more information had been requested from him in relation to the cat’s history and vaccinations etc and he wondered if any recent changes in legislation had triggered this?  Linda Holland reported that the legislation had not changed, but there was a drive to have all appropriate information about pets to ensure that they could be appropriately cared for and for establishments to do well in their inspections and achieve a high star rating.




1.         That the Committee note the update on behalf of the Licensing Team.


2.         That Kevin Oliver be asked to provide an update on applications for the Kings Coronation and that any relevant guidance for Councillors/the public be shared as soon as possible.

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