Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee - Wednesday 25th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: This will be a virtual meeting

Contact: Kisi Smith-Charlemagne, Senior Committee and Governance Officer  Email:  kscharlemagne@westminster.gov.uk Tel: 07817054613

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

MEMBERSHIP

To report any changes to the membership

Minutes:

1.1       There were no changes to the membership of the committee

2.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

To receive declarations by Members and Officers of the existence and nature of any pecuniary interests or any other significant interest in matters on this agenda.

Minutes:

2.1          During item 5 Councillor Mitchell declared that he was the current chair of the Safer Business Network but he did not participate in the drafting of the comments submitted. 

 

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 403 KB

To sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Minutes:

3.1       Councillor Glen advised that there was a typo on page 6 on the minutes which should read marked pitches not pictures.  The chair also noted that the word ‘licence’ should be spelt correctly, in all forms, as auto correct also has that effect on our notes.

 

3.2       RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Licensing Committee on 23rd September 2020 were approved.

 

4.

LICENSING COMMITTEE REPORT ON BUSKING AND STREET ENTERTAINMENT pdf icon PDF 1012 KB

Report and appendices are attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.              BUSKING AND STREET ENTERTAINMENT POLICY

 

1.1          The Licensing Committee received a report from the Executive Director of Environment and City Management.   The Chair advised the Committee that this was the fourth report brought to the Committee on the matter of Busking and Street Entertainment and since 2018, officers have been seeking to develop a new policy in Westminster that supports busking, improves safety, and reduces the impact of noise and obstruction for residents and businesses.

 

1.2          The Chair advised that she wanted to emphasise that the Licensing Committee would like Westminster to be a place where fantastic arts, music, drama, culture can be experienced on our streets. She added that the formation of the policy was really important for various parties which included buskers and street entertainers, many of whom developed their performances and built their livelihoods on our streets, and new talent, wishing to practice performing on our streets. 

 

1.3          The Chair noted the importance of the policy for our visitors, who enjoyed the experience and value of seeing and hearing some great performances; our residents and businesses, many of whom also value busking, but can find that performances every day for up to eight hours can cause significant impact on their wellbeing and can affect their ability to work.  The Chair also noted the council officers, with current powers which were not effective enough for them to take quick and meaningful action when responding to complaints.

 

1.4          The Chair advised the Licensing Committee that over the last two years, officers had been reviewing evidence, learning from others, listening and discussing the issues and that during that time two major consultations were conducted, the most recent attracting 900 responses.  The Chairman noted that as a result of that work, the policy proposal being heard today was to present an approach balancing the different, sometimes conflicting, interests mentioned earlier.

 

1.5          The Chair confirmed that the council had held a number of engagement events where people had been able to present their views but thought that it was important that the Committee also heard directly from those who would like to address them on the matter.  The Chair welcomed the fact that 20 residents, businesses, performers and their representatives had taken the time today to join the meeting, so that the Licensing Committee may listen to their views and perspectives before reaching a decision. 

 

1.6          The Chair then invited  Mr Raj Mistry, Executive Director of Environment and City Management to introduce the report and Mr Andrew Ralph, Head of Licensing to provide an overview of the November consultation results, the draft policy, and outline the recommendations that the Committee members had received and were considering today.  The Chair noted the receipt of a late representation from the Royal Opera House and asked Mr Ralph to outline this when he addressed the committee.

 

1.7          Raj Mistry, Executive Director Environment and City Management presented the report addressed to the Licensing Committee and outlined the challenges and the many steps that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

LICENSING POLICY AND CUMULATIVE IMPACT AREA (CIA) CONSULTATION REPORT pdf icon PDF 641 KB

Report and appendices are attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.              LICENSING POLICY AND CUMULATIVE IMPACT AREA (CIA) CONSULTATION REPORT

 

 

5.1          Mr Kerry Simpkin, Head of Licensing, Place and Investment addressed the Licensing committee and informed them that The Licensing Act 2003 (the Act) was amended in 2008 to make it a requirement to undertake a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) if it has areas of the city that were believed to be under cumulative stress due to the number and concentration of licensed premises.  He advised the Licensing Committee that the licensing authority produced a CIA earlier this year based on data from a wide range of sources over a period of three years (2017-2019).  He added that the CIA was carried out prior to COVID-19.

 

5.2          Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that the Licensing Authority carried out consultation to statutory consultees and the wider public between the 12th October and 15th November 2020 on the authority’s intention to publish the CIA.  He informed the Licensing Committee that the consultation was run in parallel with the consultation on the Council’s proposed revisions to its Statement of Licensing Policy under the Act.  He added that a total of 166 responses were received to the consultation.  He informed the Licensing Committee that there was a mix of responses and that, although the questions posed in the consultation related to the CIA, the responses often related to the proposed policies associated with cumulative impact or as a result of the findings from the CIA. 

 

5.3          Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that no significant issues were identified during the consultation exercise that would require the Licensing Authority to amend the 2020 Cumulative Impact Assessment as produced.  He advised the Licensing Committee that it was proposed that the CIA should be published on the 1st December 2020.  Mr Simpkin informed the Licensing Committee that the Act required the Licensing Authority to undertake a review of the CIA within three years.  He added that it was anticipated that, due to the impact of COVID-19, and the recovery needed following the pandemic, potentially the Licensing Authority would need to undertake a review within the next 18 months. 

 

5.4          Mr Simpkin told the Licensing Committee thatthe current and proposed revision of the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy contained a Cumulative Impact Policy, which has a presumption to refuse certain applications within a designated cumulative impact zone.  The current cumulative impact zones are located within the West End, Queensway/Bayswater and Edgware Road.  He added that it is proposed under the new revised policy that both Edgware Road and Queensway/Bayswater zones would no longer be classified as a Cumulative Impact Zone. 

 

5.5          Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that Queensway/Bayswater and Edgware Road were found not to be under cumulative stress.  He informed them that the levels of incidents rates in these areas were higher than the borough average, but that the incidents could not be linked conclusively to licensed premises in order to demonstrate cumulative impact.  Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that it was recommended  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES TO THE PROPOSED REVISIONS OF THE COUNCILS STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY pdf icon PDF 620 KB

Report and appendices are attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.              SUMMARY OF CONSULTATION RESPONSES TO THE PROPOSED REVISIONS OF THE COUNCIL’S STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY

 

5.1          Mr Kerry Simpkin, Head of Licensing, Place and Investment addressed the Licensing Committee and informed them that the Licensing Authority began its statutory consultation on its proposed revisions to the Statement of Licensing Policy on the 12th October 2020.  He advised the Licensing Committee that the consultation ran for a period of 5 weeks ending on the 15th November.  Mr Simpkin informed the Licensing Committee that the Licensing Authority received 166 responses to date from a range of different stakeholders. He added that the report provided a summary of those responses. 

 

5.2          Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act) required that each Licensing Authority must for every five-year period determine its policy with respect to the exercise of its licensing functions and publish a statement of that policy before the beginning of the period.  Before the Licensing Authority can determine its policy for a five-year period it must consult those specified within the Act.  Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that the current Statement of Licensing Policy (SLP) five-year term will end on the 6th January 2021.  He informed the Licensing Committee that the Licensing Authority has undertaken a review of the policy and proposed a number of revisions.  He added that some of these revisions were as a result of the findings of the Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA), which provided evidence to support the inclusion of an amended cumulative impact policy within the SLP.

 

5.3          Mr Simpkin told the Licensing Committee that in light of the findings from the CIA and the potential impact of COVID-19 the Licensing Authority had taken a pragmatic approach in considering the CIA findings and the proposed revisions to the SLP.  He advised the Licensing Committee that as a direct result of the ongoing uncertainty, impact on licensed premises and the reduction in visitor numbers, the Licensing Authority had decided that expanding the current West End Cumulative Impact Area and implementing further restrictions on other premises uses within that area would not be appropriate. He added that due to the current COVID-19 impact and restrictions on the hospitality sector the Licensing Authority did not believe that the approach would be at odds with its duty to promote the licensing objectives.

 

5.4          Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that the next steps would be for the Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing to agree the final revisions to the Statement of Licensing Policy and refer it to Full Council on the 9th December requesting that it be formally adopted.  He added that the report provided an opportunity for the Licensing Committee to provide their final views on the proposals in light of the consultation responses.  Mr Simpkin advised the Licensing Committee that it was recommended to provide their views on the summary of the consultation responses relating to the proposed revisions of the Statement of Licensing Policy, and,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS WHICH THE CHAIR CONSIDERS URGENT

Minutes:

7.1       There was no other business raised by the Committee.