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To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 23 January 2018 as published.
That the minutes of the Committee held on 23 January 2018 be approved and signed as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary and other interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.
In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor R Mohammed declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in minute item 3 – Overview of Licensing 2017/18 arising from his position as a taxi operator. The interest was such that Councillor Mohammed left the Chamber during consideration of the taxi part of the agenda item. Joanne McIntosh, Legal Services Manager, stated that the report could therefore be dealt with in two parts, firstly the alcohol related matters and subsequently the taxi matters.
Reporting Persons – Joanne McIntosh and Matt Cobb
Jon Herbert, Licensing Officer, reported that that much work was taking place in the area of alcohol licensing, including enforcement and inspection of premises licences. The relaunch of Best Bar None was taking place, led by Business Liaison with the Licensing team undertaking assessments of premises and licensing advice. An annual report from Best Bar None was available and the initial letters were being circulated to every licensed pub and bar to encourage their participation in the scheme, with a minimum of 30 premises being expected to take part. An initial steering group meeting had been held to consider the criteria which would be used for assessment. Screenshots from the Council’s website were circulated as well as a sample letter to illustrate the branding being used. A mobile phone app was being developed to provide guidance to members of the public who were interested in voting, as long as details of public transport links in Woking. A People’s Choice award would also be available, along with some specific award categories for restaurants. The focus of the scheme was to ensure a safer night-time economy.
Following a question by Cllr Eastwood, it was stated that the premises successfully completing the accreditation process would be marked gold, silver or bronze and given a plaque and a sticker to display. Jon Herbert stated that the award categories were still under development and were likely to change, with the expected addition of awards for restaurants.
Following a question by Cllr Mohammed, it was noted that shops selling alcohol had not previously been involved in the scheme, as the focus was on premises where the public could consume alcohol on the premises.
Cllr Pengelly welcomed the scheme, noting that the four Licensing objectives would form part of the assessment criteria, and asked whether compliance with the objectives would apply to the People’s Choice award. Jon Herbert stated that the objectives would be broken down into smaller categories and that the public would tend to just vote on the app, although they would have access to the licensing information available on the Council’s website.
Additionally, Cllr Pengelly suggested that a hygiene element be incorporated into awards in the restaurant category to demonstrate high standards and it was noted that consideration was being given to setting a minimum of hygiene rating of ‘four’ and above, in liaison with the Environmental Health team. The figure of 30 premises was regarded as a minimum and it had been four years since the scheme had last been operated, although many of the larger brewery chains required their pubs to participate.
The Chairman stated that it was important to encourage as many of the independent local premises as possible to take part so that the standards across the Borough could be heightened. Reference was made to requiring premises to be a member of Pubwatch and Matt Cobb, Senior Licensing Officer, stated that the work on Pubwatch was ongoing, sharing information and discussing local issues. However, the number of participating premises had ... view the full minutes text for item 3.