Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2007.
Revised Health and Safety Policies and Procedures (Minute No. 59/07)
It was noted that the Harassment and Bullying Prevention Policy should have been included among the policies which had been implemented.
RESOLVED that the Harassment and Bullying Prevention Policy be implemented with immediate effect.
Out of Hours Services (Minute Item 60/07)
On 25 October 2007 Council had agreed to the request of the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee to defer this item and refer it back to General Purposes for further discussion.
The original decision read as follows:-
RECOMMEND to Council that the Out of Hours Service be approved as set out in option 4.1 of the report, subject to the inclusion of the amendments shown in bold, as follows:
(1) The Policy of Breckland Council is not to provide a service out of hours; except in life threatening or emergency ‘Blue Light’ requests, and at the Manager’s discretion.
(2) The call outs that have not been ‘Blue Light’ emergencies must be reported and reviewed within six months.
(3) There is a flat standby payment of £100 per week for an Officer on standby.
(4) Callout and telephone calls that extend into overtime are claimed as overtime or time off in lieu as appropriate.
(5) The Working Time Directive and HASAWA 1974 are integral to operating out of office hours working.
(6) Implement the Out of Hours Policy and Procedure and review this within six months.
(7) Amend the contract of employment for each designation of Officer in scope to include a clause requiring them to participate in a standby rota if requested.
Members agreed that recommendation one and two regarding call outs for ‘Blue Light emergencies were clear and acceptable.
With regard to recommendation three, six and seven it was agreed that these should be amalgamated. However, it should be made clear that Human Resources should review, within six months, the standby payment arrangements and produce a model, which was equitable to all parties, which should include incorporating a lump sum into officers’ salaries which they would retain if they took a different post which required out of hours working. This sum would be consolidated and would therefore attract pay increases and would be pensionable. If agreed the contracts of employment of officers receiving this payment would be amended to include a clause requiring them to participate in a standby rota, if requested. Services Managers would be requested to provide information relating to how many staff in their service area would be affected which would provide the final cost implications.
In respect of recommendation four and five it was agreed that the Human Resources Team together with the Service Managers should review the overtime arrangements for callout and telephone calls that extend into overtime but should be being mindful of the Working Time Directive and HASAWA 1974 which was integral to operating out of office hours working.
Members discussed the possibility of recouping costs when officers had been called out to incidents involving such things as dilapidated buildings where the owner was at fault for allowing the property to fall into disrepair. Another example would be when owners persistently allowed their dogs to stray which caused the dog warden to be called out. This list was not exhaustive and costs should be reclaimed wherever ... view the full minutes text for item 62b
Subject to the above the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2007 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda Item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was received from Mr D.R. Williams.
To adopt the unconfirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee held on 13 September 2007.
Out of Hours Services (Minute No. 22/07)
This item had been discussed at Minute No. 62b and the recommendations of the Local Joint Consultative Committee with regard to Out of Hours Services were not approved.
RESOLVED that, subject to 6407 (a) above, the Minutes of the Joint Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 13 September 2007 be adopted.
Report of the Principal Environmental Health Officer.
The Principal Environmental Health Officer informed Members that the Council’s Service Team Plan and local government best practice required that the Licensing Team’s work followed an agreed Service Plan. Best Value Performance Indicator 166 scored enforcement best practice within Environmental Health and required such a service plan.
Legislation which impacted on the work of the Licensing Team was as follows:-
Licensing Act 2003
This would be the major area of work in 2007/2008. The Team aimed to visit all licensed premises to risk rate them in accordance with the procedure agreed with the Licensing Committee in Appendix B.
However, experience suggested that the visits themselves generated considerable work as the Team became aware of the need for licence transfers, Designated Premises Supervisor variations, Gambling Act issues etc.
Smoke Free Legislation
The Health Act 2006 introduced a ban on smoking in virtually all workplaces and vehicles. The Principal Environmental Health Officer led the implementation of this new legislation but significant issues included compliance in licensed premises and ‘taxis’ where the Licensing Team would have considerable involvement.
Gambling Act 2005
This was a major piece of legislation passing responsibility from Magistrates Courts to Local Authorities for a variety of premises/activities. The Licensing Team produced a Statement of Particulars on how it would deal with the Gambling Act and applications made under it and this had been adopted by Full Council. During 2007/2008 the Team would have to prepare guidance and application processes for many new types of licence which would be time consuming.
All premises would be visited as part of a Licensing Act 2003 inspection. The Licensing Team had made a point of visiting the premises most affected by the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, e.g. potential adult gaming centres/family entertainment centres. It was expected that other licensed premises would be visited in 2007/2008, the majority in combination with the Licensing Act inspection to avoid duplication.
Changes to Taxi Licensing Function
In early 2007 the Licensing Team completely overhauled the ‘taxi’ licensing procedures and standards. The implementation of these new standards and enforcement of them would take considerable time in late 2007/early 2008 but it was anticipated this would lead to an improved standard of vehicles and public safety. As part of the licensing processes the Team would ensure that:
· Every vehicle would receive a mechanical test and its MOT certificate would be checked.
· All vehicles would have their insurance checked.
· All drivers applying for or renewing their licences would have an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check.
· All drivers applying for or renewing their licences would have their DVLA licence checked.
The Team anticipated considerable work in 2007/2008 as a result of effective enforcement due to:
· The bedding in of the new and approved standards.
· Increased out of hours monitoring.
· The introduction and use of the new penalty points system.
It was anticipated that there would be an increase in private hire licenses due to the repeal of an exemption in Section 75 of the Local Government (Miscellaenous Provisions) ... view the full minutes text for item 65.
Report of the Democratic Services Manager.
The Democratic Services Manager informed Members that Watton Town Council had requested that the District Council make an Order under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 for the designation of an area within which the consumption of alcohol in public places may be challenged by a Police Officer.
The power for a District Council to make such an Order was contained in Sections 12 to 15 of the Act. The procedure was set out in regulations made under the Act. The effect of an Order would be to empower the Police to ask persons drinking in public places in a designated area to stop; failure to do so would lead to confiscation of the alcohol and failure to surrender the alcohol without reasonable excuse was an arrestable offence.
Before making an Order the local authority was required to consult the Police, the Parish Council (and any adjoining Parish Councils that may be affected by the designation), licensed premises and the owners or occupiers of any land proposed to be identified. Any representations received had to be taken into account before an Order was made.
The Watton Town Council had already been in contact with the Police, at whose suggestion the proposed designation had been drawn up.
Before making an Order, the District Council must publish a press notice identifying clearly the place proposed to be designated, setting out the effect of the Order and inviting representations. An Order could not be made until at least 28 days after that. Following the making of an Order, and before it took effect, the local authority must publish a further notice which, amongst other things, indicated the date on which the Order came in. Any objections to the Order would be presented to the General Purposes Committee.
Before an Order could take effect, signs must be erected in the designated area. These must be sufficient in number and location to draw the attention of members of the public to the area covered by the Order. Siting was normally agreed with the Highway Authority. In the past the signs had been made of metal but new cheaper signs were now constructed of cardboard. It was hoped that the Home Office would provide funding for signage. Watton Town Council had indicated that it might consider making a contribution once the final cost of making the order was known. Members agreed that even though a contribution had not been requested from other Town Councils with designation orders, as Watton Town Council had offered it should be approached to request a contribution.
(1) an Order under section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 be made for Watton, for the area indicated, subject to formal consultation resulting in no objections;
(2) a further report will be made to the Committee on any unresolved objections; and
(3) once the final cost for the making of the order was known Watton Town Council be approached to request a contribution.
Report of the Democratic Services Manager.
Before the Democratic Services Manager presented the report the Chairman wished to thank the Working Group on the Review of Polling Districts and Places for the work they had undertaken.
The Democratic Services Manager informed Members that the Working Group had taken account of a submission from the Returning Officer, which was a requirement of the review process, as well as observations received from all parties. A draft summary of the Working Group’s findings and recommendations was attached to the report. The Working Group had met before the General Purposes Committee and had agreed with the draft and confirmed the report.
In carrying out the review, the Working Group sought to ensure that:
· All electors had such reasonable facilities for voting as is practicable in the circumstances.
· So far as was reasonable and practicable, the polling places were accessible to all electors.
The Working Group accepted that there were some places that fell short of the full recommended criteria, but where in practice there was no viable alternative (a fact acknowledged by the Electoral Commission). The Working Group had taken account of all observations received, before coming to its conclusions, which were believed to be the best available currently.
It was noted that there was a need to find alternatives to using caravans at polling stations but these continue to be used in the event of there being no other option.
In Thetford an additional station had been introduced to serve the Cloverfields development (Cloverfield Church and Community Hall). An adjustment was needed to the Register to ensure that electors in that part of the Guildhall Ward were directed to the most convenient station.
The Working Group acknowledged that consultation had given rise to comments on some aspects of electoral arrangements which were outside the scope of the current review, for example the need for alteration of existing boundaries.
RECOMMEND to Council that
(1) the proposals for polling districts and places put forward by the Working Group is adopted; and
(2) the conclusions of the review and all related correspondence and evidence be publicised in accordance with Electoral Commission guidance.
Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda Item 9)
RESOLVED that, under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
On the advice of the Council’s Solicitor it was agreed that the application for the grant of a licence for a sex establishment be heard above the line. However, the Committee would move to exclude the press and public if Members felt the need to ask questions which would be considered confidential under the categories of exempt information under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
Application for a Sex Shop Licence (Agenda Item 10)
Report of the Principal Environmental Health Officer.
The following were present for the Application to Grant a Licence for a Sex Establishment on the First Floor of Unit 1, Cloverfield Industrial Estate, Lopham Road, East Harling:-
Applicant – Mr Christopher Bottrell, Mr B. Hardie (Applicant’s Representative), Mrs Kathryn Bottrell (Wife of Applicant)
Objectors – Mr Nigel George (Solicitor) on behalf of Mr Andrew Taylor and Reverend Nigel Kinsella (Observer)
The Chairman introduced the Officers present and gave a brief description of their role in relation to the hearing of the application.
All those present were informed of the procedure the General Purposes Committee would follow and all agreed to that procedure.
The Technical Officer – Licensing presented his report which outlined the details of the application. The applicant was requesting a licence for a sex establishment on the First Floor of Unit 1, Cloverfield Industrial Estate, Lopham Road, East Harling. It was against this application that objections had been made.
The applicant was afforded the opportunity of making a presentation to the Committee on the application.
Applicant – Mr B. Hardie on behalf of Mr Christopher Bottrell
· The application had been made under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) ct 1982.
· The application was for a sex shop not a cinema or a sex encounter.
· It was purely an application for the sale of adult material by retail either in person, mail order or internet.
· As the applicant wished to sell adult material an application had to be made.
· The type of product which would be for sale may be known to the Committee as they would be similar to that of the Ann Summers chain which was a £110 million business.
· Mr Bottrell was the freehold owner of the unit which was on a small industrial estate and would require planning permission for change of use.
· This was a chicken and egg scenario as the applicant had not been sure whether to apply for the licence or the planning permission first. As the grant of a licence would be the more difficult of the two applications Mr Hardie had advised Mr Bottrell to seek the licence first. However, Mr Bottrell had approached the Planning Team of Breckland Council and had received a letter on 18 August 2007 stating informally that, subject to certain qualifications, planning permission for a material change of use of the premises would probably be granted.
· The sex shop would only operate on the first floor as the ground floor would be used to the wholesale import and export of 18 rated videos.
· There were no windows and there would be no shop front with pictures. It was an industrial unit where personal customers could browse just like any other shop.
· The predicted sales for the personal side of the business would only be £12,000 per year.
· It would be an incidental business to the wholesale.
· The applicant expected no more than 4 – 5 customers per day.
· There were eight units on the site and only two were occupied.
· The ... view the full minutes text for item 69.
Next Meeting (Agenda Item 11)
To note that the next meeting will be held on 12 December 2007 at 10.00 am.
The next meeting of the General Purposes Committee would be held on 12 December 2007 at 10.00 am.