To consider a recommendation from Cabinet in respect of the adoption of the Statement of Licensing Policy under the Licensing Act 2003.
Councillor Evans declared an interest in this item and did not take part in the discussion and subsequent vote.
Consideration was given to a report seeking approval and adoption of a revised Licensing Act 2003: Statement of Licensing Policy.
The report noted that Section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003 required a licensing authority to prepare and publish a statement of its licensing policy at least every three years, however the last review that had been scheduled for 2016 had not taken place due the Council’s focus at that time on taxi and private hire licensing.
It was noted that Cabinet at its meeting on 23 December 2019 (Cabinet Minute No.97) had approved that a consultation process on the drafted policy take place to inform the final version of the revised Statement of Licensing Policy. A summary of the consultation process was included in the officer’s report and a summary of responses was attached as an appendix.
The report also provided information on a proposed Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) for Wickersley that would be included in the revised Statement of Licensing Policy. It was noted that where appropriate the Council could identify areas within the Borough where the granting of further licences, or variations to licences would likely impact on the Council’s obligations to the licensing objectives, and as a consequence the Council should produce a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) for such areas in order to establish whether a CIZ should be implemented.
It was noted that following the Cabinet decision that a CIA for Wickersley should be completed, that a CIA that had been drafted had been consulted on widely with Ward councillors, licensees, residents and other responsible authorities. In response to the information received from the responsible authorities and supported by the response to the consultation the CIA showed that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the implementation a CIZ for Wickersley due to the saturation of licensed premises, and the density of these premises having a negative impact on crime and anti-social behaviour and also of them negatively impacting health through an increase in ambulance call-outs directly related to alcohol consumption. The proposed CIZ for Wickersley was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report
The full revised Statement of Licensing Policy was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report.
Councillor Roche stated his support for the revised statement of Licensing Policy and noted the numerous support services that were available in the Borough for people looking to reduce their alcohol intake.
Councillor Carter advised of his concerns regarding the proposed Cumulative Impact Zone for Wickersley in light of the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and that zone would create further difficulties for the hospitality industry as the country emerged from the pandemic. Councillor Steele, as Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board advised that when the revised statement of Licensing Policy had been considered by Board that they had recommended to Cabinet that the Cumulative Impact Zone for Wickersley be reconsidered and noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board did not always agree report recommendations. Councillor Steele advised however that he would be voting to support the revised statement of Licensing Policy and the Cumulative Impact Zone for Wickersley.
Councillor Cowles advised that he would not be supporting the recommendations noting that the situation in Wickersley had been created by the Council in allowing the focus of the night-time economy in Rotherham to move to Wickersley and away from the town centre.
In responding to the debate, the Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, Councillor Hoddinott thanked Councillor Roche for the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board for their input into the revised policy. The Cabinet Member noted the evidence that had been used to determine the proposed Cumulative Impact Zone for Wickersley and advised that the zone would not prohibit new licensed premises opening but would mean that decisions taken on granting new licences could take into account the impact of that licence on the wider area, and not considered in isolation. The Cabinet Member in response to Councillor Steele noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board’s concerns had been regarding the size of the Cumulative Impact Zone being too large but advised that it was important that the zone was of adequate size so as not to simply displace the problems associated with a proliferation of licensed premises elsewhere.
That the Licensing Act 2003: Statement of Licensing Policy 2020-2025 be approved and adopted.
Mover: Councillor Hoddinott Seconder: Councillor Ellis