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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs Currens, Jones and Mrs Kelly.

 

The Committee noted the appointment of Councillor D L Reynolds as a substitute for Councillor Mrs Currens

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of any he Grant(s) of Dispensation.

Minutes:

There were no declarations received.

3.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 14 March 2017 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 14 March 2017 were approved as a correct record of that meeting.

4.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meetings of the Licensing sub - committee held on 6 December 2017, 21 May 2018 and 10 September 2018. pdf icon PDF 175 KB

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2018 were not available to be included in the main agenda pack and will be circulated under a separate cover.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Licensing Sub - Committee held on 6 December 2017 and 21 May 2018 were approved as correct records of those meetings.

 

It was noted that the Minutes of the Licensing Sub Committee held on 10 September 2018 had not been available for the Committee to consider.

5.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

It was reported that there were no urgent matters, nor any issues referred for the Committee to consider

6.

Draft Statement of Licensing Policy: Consultation pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report inviting a formal response to a draft Statement of Licensing Policy to come into effect in 2019 to replace the current Policy which was adopted on 7 January 2014.  The new Policy will run until 2022.

 

The Draft Policy was considered at the meeting of the Cabinet on 26 July 2018 (Minute 36 Refers) where it was resolved that the Licensing Committee be requested to submit a formal response – along with comments that may be submitted by other councillors, members of the public and from the affected license holders and trade organisations.

 

Once adopted the Policy will guide and inform applicants, responsible authorities and other persons about the process and reasoning behind decisions taken on licensing issues.

 

Members expressed considerable concern that the draft Policy did not reflect the Council’s visions and aspirations for the future of Dartford, and that if adopted in its current format could lead to a deterioration in the character of Dartford town centre, outlying shopping areas and the rural villages of the Borough.

 

It was agreed however that such aspirations and ambitions may not suitably placed within the Policy without leading to legal challenge.

 

Accordingly, Members considered possible additions to the Policy with a view to creating an ambition for the future of the Borough, which would inform and signpost future applications toward the council’s preferred licensing ideals.  This  could be achieved by the formulation of a number of “Informatives” designed to sit alongside the Policy Document.

 

It was recognised however that further consideration of this matter was necessary and it was therefore

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    To make no comment on the proposed draft Policy Statement other than to recommend the addition of an Appendix or mission statement setting out the aspirations of the Council for the future of the Borough

 

2.    That a draft version of the Appendix / Mission Statement be prepared for consideration encompassing Member suggestions

 

3.    To convene a further meeting of the Licensing Committee in late November to finalise the content and wording of this Appendix

7.

Draft Statement of Gambling Policy Consultation pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report inviting a formal response to a draft Statement of Gambling Policy to come into effect in 2019 to replace the current Policy which was adopted on 3 January 2016. 

 

The Draft Policy was considered at the meeting of the Cabinet on 26 July 2018 (Minute 37 Refers) where it was resolved that the Licensing Committee be requested to submit a formal response as part of the statutory public consultation exercise.

 

Once adopted the Policy will guide and inform applicants, responsible authorities and other persons about the process and reasoning behind decisions taken on licensing issues.

 

Having considered the draft Policy and noted that the legislation concerned was particularly prescriptive the Committee

 

RESOLVED

 

Gambling establishments be requested to operate with doors closed and overt advertising removed in order to make gambling establishments less attractive to children.  

 

 

8.

Review of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Knowledge Test pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Minutes:

A report was presented which reviewed the operation of the current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage drivers’ “Knowledge Test” in the light of the reduced numbers of applicants who are succeeding in the test and requests from Taxi operators to change its format.

 

The report identified a significant drop in the pass rate for drivers sitting the new test over previous years.

 

It was reported that in April 2016, the Knowledge Test was changed from a written test to a computer-based test, to streamline the process and to make it more cost effective and efficient for prospective drivers.  

 

Additionally it was noted that the old style test was held every three months and the new computer-based test allowed sittings every four weeks, thus making the process quicker for applicants

 

Members were also informed that taxi operating companies have claimed that many drivers who do not succeed in the current process, are obtaining licences from neighbouring authorities, which do not have our stringent requirements, and are still operating within Dartford.

 

The Licensing Manager informed Members that the testing of routes was originally removed from the Knowledge Test information pack but that it was proposed to reintroduce this to ensure a better knowledge of the Borough.

 

Having expressed some concern that a reduction in the pass mark for the Test could result in a reduction the quality of candidates the Committee  

 

RESOLVED

 

(a)         that Council continues the use of computer based test;

 

(b)         routes be reintroduced in the Knowledge Test information pack;

 

(c)          the pass mark for the knowledge test be lowered by 2 points - 22/30 for Private Hire and 29/35 for Hackney Carriage.

 

9.

Taxi Driver Accreditation and Awareness Day: Presentation

Minutes:

Members received a presentation from Mrs Philpott on a recently undertaken training day for taxi drivers.

 

The training, given in conjunction with the Kent Fire Service, covered the following topics:

 

Prevent.  Considering the legislation and definitions of radicalisation, extremism and terrorism, understanding the factors that can lead to these and knowing what to do if there is concern relating to a passenger or colleague.

 

Safeguarding.  Looking at the definitions, indicators and duties relating to reporting child sexual exploitation.

 

Policy and Legislation.  Understanding the Law and Council Policy relating to taxi drivers.

 

Road Safety Training.  Considering issues relating to the causes of road accidents, the effects that they have on people ad vehicles, and understanding what to do if a road accident is witnessed or encountered.

 

Members expressed their appreciation to Ms Philpott for her hard work on this training day and noted that currently Dartford is the only Local Authority which undertakes such work.

 

Additionally Members were informed that a further training day had been organised on 25 October 2018 and that Councillors were more than welcome to attend.

 

The Committee agreed to note the information provided on the training programme.

10.

Delegated Action under Standing Order 38 : Consultation on Changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibilities: January 2018 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received, for information, a report on a decision taken by the Strategic Director (External Services) in conjunction with the Chairman relating to a response to a government consultation on changes proposed to gaming machine legislation.