Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Breckland Conference Centre, The Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

24/21

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meetings held on 21 October 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 21 October 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

25/21

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bowes, Brindle, Carter, Colman, Dale and Taylor.

26/21

Urgent Business (Agenda item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.

Minutes:

None.

27/21

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 4)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

 

Minutes:

None.

28/21

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Waste & Environment and the Portfolio Holder responsible for Licensing was in attendance to observe the meeting.

29/21

Introduction to the Animal Welfare Licensing Officer - Alan Goodall (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Minutes:

Following introductions, Alan Goodall, the Animal Welfare Officer for Breckland provided Members with a detailed presentation that highlighted the type of activities his role entailed.  His responsibilities included a proactive approach to the prevention of cruelty to animals, identifying animals at risk, animal welfare and responding to public callouts regarding possible animal abuse, enforcement and ensuring that all facilities were operating in compliance with legislation.

 

The presentation is attached (for information).

 

Councillor Duffield mentioned an animal breeder who had increased the number of dogs on site quite dramatically over the years, and he asked the Animal Welfare Officer if he had any legal powers to visit the site.

 

Members were informed that an Animal Welfare Officer had powers to visit any site if the site was licensed if not, and animal welfare was suspected, a warrant would be required to access the site.  

 

Josie Hoven, the Licensing Team Leader was aware of this case that was prior to the 2018 regulations.  She informed Members that if they had any concerns about animal welfare, they should contact the Animal Welfare Officer accordingly.

 

The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Kiddell asked the Animal Welfare Officer what would happen with the animals that had been seized. Members were informed that were many places that the dogs could be taken such as the RSPCA etc.

 

In response to a question about pet shops/superstores, Members were informed that they would still require a license to keep animals on the premises.

 

Councillor Morton asked for further information in respect of the compliance work that was being undertaken.  He also asked if there was any evidence of exotic animals being abused.   It was noted that there were a number of cases that were under currently under investigation and the process was explained.  As far as the latter question was concerned a licence would still be required under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

 

Councillor Duffield wanted to know if dogs had to be removed and put into kennels who paid for this.  Members were informed that it was the Council’s responsibility until a decision had been made by the court.

 

The Chairman thanked the Animal Welfare Officer for his presentation.

 

 

 

30/21

Consideration of a draft revised Taxi Policy and Procedures (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 231 KB

Report of Craig Fowler, Environmental Health & Licensing Manager.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Josie Hoven, the Licensing Team Leader presented the report and provided Members with a detailed overview of the changes/additions that had been made to the Taxi Policy and procedures.

 

The Department for Transport (DfT) had published its Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards in July 2020 (attached at page 93 of the agenda pack).  Licensing Authorities must have regard to the Standards document when setting and revising its policies and must recommend the revised document to Full Council for adoption following a six-week consultation process.

 

As the Council must have consideration of the Standards, a chart had been drawn up showing the advised changes (see page 133 of the agenda pack).  The draft revised Taxi Policy had also been attached (see page 13 of the agenda pack).

 

Members were informed that overall Breckland Council was already adhering to most of the standards.  A Policy review was carried out every 5 years and was last undertaken in 2006/07.  There had been some amendments over the intervening years, but this was the largest review of the Policy that had been undertaken for some considerable time.

 

The review of the current policy had been taken with the DfT standards being taken into account.   The vehicle specifications section would be reviewed at a later date alongside the Council’s Sustainability Strategy to help tackle climate change.

 

The two main changes to the DfT Standards that Members were asked to consider was the continuous subscription to the DBS online update service and a language proficiency test.

 

In respect of the first change, Breckland Council currently advised licence holders to sign up to the DBS update service, but it was not a requirement and the reason for this was explained.  Instead, it had been proposed that an annual self-declaration should be introduced that would include notification of any arrests, charges etc.  This would be reviewed periodically and be changed accordingly.

 

The second change was the language proficiency test.  It was noted that there had not been any issues raised in respect of this matter in the Breckland area and therefore would be kept under review.

 

Councillor Morton asked if this could remain as an option if an English test was felt necessary.  Members were informed that such an option could not be included in the actual Policy itself.  The Licensing Team Leader advised that this could be carried out at the Officers discretion as to whether they felt such a test was required.  The process for this to take place was explained and again this matter would be kept under review.

 

This revised Policy sought to have everything in one place in one single document for transparency.  Previously there had been two condition booklets, one for private hire drivers and one for hackney carriage drivers plus a standalone policy document and it was felt that such documents should be combined into one.

 

The entire look of the Policy had changed, the changes outlined in the chart at section 1.3 had been added along with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30/21

31/21

Licensing Update (Agenda item 8)

To receive an update from Josie Hoven, Licensing Team Leader.

Minutes:

Nothing further to report.

32/21

Next Meeting (Agenda item 9)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting on Wednesday, 20 October 2021 at 10am.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on Wednesday, 20 October 2021 at 10am in the Anglia Room, the Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham were noted.