The Committee considered the report setting out proposals for its future operation.
It was noted that, whilst all hearings under the Licensing Act 2003 would continue to be heard by a sub-committee of three members, in line with Government guidance and legislation.
Flexibility was being proposed, however, so that any other applications, which would normally involve either private hire or hackney carriage licences, could be heard by either the full committee or a sub-committee depending upon their complexity.
Members asked what criteria would be used to determine whether an application was to be heard by a full committee or a sub-committee, as it would be important to ensure that all like applications were treated in the same way.
Officers advised that there was invariably a clear distinction between minor, straightforward applications which it would be appropriate to take to a sub-committee, and those of greater complexity, usually involving third party complaints or specific objections from a responsible authority such as the Police, where a full committee hearing was required.
All relevant factors would be taken into consideration, in consultation with the Chairman, before deciding whether to take an application to a sub-committee or full committee, with the intention of ensuring that all applicants received a fair hearing appropriate to their application.
The Committee also considered the options for chairing a sub-committee, as set out in paragraph 24 of the report.
It was of the view that, in view of the complex nature of many past hearings under the Licensing Act 2003, all of which would continue to be heard by a sub-committee, a chairman should always have previous and varied experience of sitting on a licensing sub-committee.
The Committee was therefore minded to remain with its current practice of having nominated sub-committee chairmen, all of whom would be experienced committee members, and one of whom must always chair a hearing.
The Committee endorsed the proposed Protocol and procedure notes, subject to the inclusion of a reference to the nominated sub-committee chairmen.
(1) all applications under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005 be heard by a sub-committee of three members, taken from the full committee membership;
(2) any other applications be heard by a sub-committee of three members or the full committee, at the discretion of the Chairman of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee in consultation with officers;
(3) the following members of the Licensing & Regulatory Committee be formally nominated to act as a sub-committee chairman:
Councillor L Ascough
Councillor Mrs N Bramhall
Councillor K Foreman
Councillor F Kelly
Councillor A Lynch;
(4) the Protocol for the appointment and operation of all sub-committees, as set out in Annex 1, be adopted, subject to the addition of reference to nominated sub-committee chairmen;
(5) the Head of Corporate Policy, Performance and Parking, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, be authorised to approve the Protocol (Annex 1) accordingly; and
(6) the hearing procedure notes as set out in Annex 2 be adopted.