Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee - Thursday, 2 February 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.


Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on


The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee were approved subject to the wording of minute 16 being amended to contain the actual price of licences, not just the amount of increase.  In addition, it was noted that the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy would be presented to the next meeting.


Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no items of urgent business.


Notice of Public Speaking

To note those agenda items which have received an application for public speaking


There were no public speakers.



Update on Environmental Health and Trading Standards pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To provide the annual update on the work of the Environment Health and Trading Standards Teams.


Sean Murphy provided an annual update on the work of the Environment Health and Trading Standards Teams. 


During the presentation the following was stated:


·       The Service had been set a target by the Joint Public Protection Committee (JPPC) to carry out work on prior approval conversions in the housing sector, which involved inspecting properties that had been converted from commercial to residential use.  The Service had identified a number of premises for inspection and had started conducting joint inspections with colleagues from the fire service and building control.  This work had been ongoing throughout the year and was set to continue through the following year.

·       Soon after the work on Covid restrictions concluded in March 2022, the Service had found itself assisting with the Homes for Ukraine scheme.  The Service had a particular role in carrying out accommodation checks for the scheme, including DBS checks of hosts and assessments of their property’s suitability.  Between the two authorities, approximately 360 of these checks had been carried out since March.  Although new arrivals had largely stopped the Service was now focused on conducting checks for re-hosting within the boroughs as the six-month period for some guests came to an end.

·       In 2023, the service would be conducting a big program of licensing and inspections for houses of multiple occupation, as many licenses were due for renewal.  The service had also been conducting fit and proper assessments for regulated caravan sites and had updated its guidance on damp and mould.  The service was encouraging people to report issues, providing advice and conducting visits as needed. 

·       The original air quality project was coming to a conclusion.  This was a project covering all three areas (including Wokingham) within the former PPP arrangement.  There were several aspects discussed, one of which pertained to the monitoring of PM 2.5, which was set to become a significant area of focus in the coming months.  This was due to requirements being imposed on local authorities to extend air quality monitoring, specifically in relation to particulate matter.  However, officers were still awaiting guidance from the relevant government agency in this regard. 

·       Another area of focus was the issue of vehicle idling, which was the subject of a recent collaboration with the NSL aimed at raising awareness.  To effect change, new signage would be deployed in the Air Quality Management Areas across all three local authority areas.  An annual report on air quality management was required, and the latest evaluation was quite positive.  As part of the annual review an updated air quality status report, was presented to the JPPC once a year.  Another significant issue was the requirement to update the Contaminated Land Strategy.  This work had now been completed in Bracknell Forest and the document had been signed off by the Executive.  This strategy dictated that the authority handled contaminated land concerns primarily through the planning process.  Environmental health officers reviewed planning applications and made suggestions and attended planning committees where needed.  Officers were awaiting the outcome of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Fees for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles and Operators pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider any relevant matters arising from the statutory 28 day consultation period relating to variations to operators and vehicle licence fees and their impact on the proposed fees which will be recommended to full Council for approval.

Additional documents:


Moira Fraser presented the report on Fees for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles and Operators. 


The following points were made:


·       The Joint Public Protection Committee's proposed fees for 2023/24 were discussed at the Licensing and Safety Committee meeting on 20 October.  Members agreed to hold a 28-day statutory consultation on private hire operator and hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licence fees.

·       On 7 December, a letter was sent to the trade outlining that all other fees would be included in the Executive consultation on budget proposals.  The letter explained how the trade could engage with the process and included a link to the consultation.  Two responses were received in relation to the Executive consultation, neither of which related to licensing fees.


In respect of the statutory consultation, the following was noted:


·       The consultation ran from 9 November 2022 to 7 December 2022.

·       A public notice was placed in the Bracknell News and a notice was put up at Times Square.

·       A letter was sent to the trade.

·       A consultation document was placed on the PPP website.


Three responses to the consultation were received.  One response was submitted on behalf of the Bracknell Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, signed by 48 of the 53 drivers.  Two further responses were received from local operators.  The respondents requested that the vehicle fees be capped at the 2022/23 rates, as they believed that the trade had not yet recovered from the pandemic, footfall was down, and they were in danger of going out of business.


As objections were received, the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 required the Council to consider them and set a date on which any variation to the fees, with or without modification, would come into effect.  Members were asked to consider the objections set out in Annex B.  It was noted that these fees were set on a cost recovery basis and therefore, if Members were minded to reduce them, this would need to be in the form of a Council subsidy, which this Committee would need to recommend to full Council.  This would need to be considered in the overall context of falling licensing income and the Council’s overall budget position.


The Licensing and Safety Committee noted the comments received during the statutory consultation on variations to operators and vehicle licence fees, as set out in Annex B of the agenda.  The Committee considered any amendments to the proposed operators and vehicle licence fees, as set out in Annex A of the agenda, arising from the consultation. 

The Committee RECOMMENDED that Full Council adopt the fees, without modification, as part of the annual fee setting process and that these fees come into effect as of 1 April 2023.


New Section 182 Guidance Under the Licensing Act 2003 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To receive a report on new Section 182 guidance under the Licensing Act 2003.

Additional documents:


The Committee was informed of the update to the Section 182 Guidance document, which had been issued by the Home Office on 20 December 2022.  The new guidance provided an update to the previous version issued in April 2018.  Members were reminded that in carrying out its functions, a Licensing Authority must "have regard to" guidance issued by the Secretary of State under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, as stated in Section 4 of the Act.  It was emphasised that the guidance was binding on licensing authorities, and any departure from it could result in an appeal or judicial review.  Therefore, if any departure from the guidance was necessary, the reasons for doing so had to be clearly stated.


Members were advised that while officers would be available to assist them at licensing panels, it was important that members were aware of the guidance. The key changes to the guidance were included in the December PPP Members’ Bulletin and were summarised in paragraphs 2.4 to 2.13 of the report.


Members noted the report.


Thank you


The Chair and Vice Chair thanked Members and Officers for their contributions and support over the duration of their tenure as Chair and Vice Chair.