To consider necessary policy and procedures to meet legislative requirements.
Note – This matter was included as an urgent item of business under Section 100B (4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The Chairman had agreed to the inclusion of the item due to the need for consideration without delay following the Bill having recently received Royal Assent. The report had been sent to all Members and published on the Council’s Website on 24 July 2020.
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder, presented the report. As part of the national economic recovery, the Government had enacted the Business and Planning Act 2020. This Act covered four key areas: pavement licencing; off sales of alcohol; extension of unimplemented planning permission and listed building consent; and the right to apply to extend construction hours. A detailed overview of the specific changes was included within the report and background documents.
The Business and Planning Act 2020 had recently received royal assent and the licensing provisions had immediate effect. The Council was required to put in place appropriate delegation arrangements for the Pavement Policy and for the changes to planning controls and rules. The report informed of the necessary constitutional arrangements and amendments to the scheme of delegation to ensure that the Authority could process and determine applications.
Councillor Ashcroft drew attention to the legislation as regards Pavement Licences which provided the means for levying an application fee, capped to a maximum of £100. He explained that his Party believed in offering support to residents and, therefore, moved the recommendations contained within the report, subject to an amendment to waive the £100 licence fee per application for a period of six weeks from the announcement of the arrangements in recognition of the fact that businesses were under stress and in order to encourage them to respond swiftly. The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) confirmed the wording which would be added to the recommendation proposed.
Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, seconded the motion, thanking officers for their work and Councillor Ashcroft for his presentation and stressing the importance of the Council demonstrating support for businesses during difficult times by waiving the £100 fee for a period of six weeks.
In response to queries, the Operational Lead Specialist Services reported that the District Council had received from the County Council a list of all businesses currently licensed to operate street cafés. In addition, he explained that officers in the Locality Teams and Environmental Health would monitor the situation in order to ensure regularisation and compliance with the regulations. With regard to consultation on applications and publicity, businesses would be required to display standard forms in a visible location at their premises and there would be a press release the following day to communicate the arrangements. Whilst the waiving of the application fee was welcomed by Members, it was pointed out that it was not mandatory for councils to apply a fee. In addition, the need to keep local Ward Members informed on applications was raised, as well as the need for regard to the 1.5 metre social distancing requirements. Councillor Ashcroft acknowledged the historic charm of many of the district’s towns which had not been designed for modern living, however, pointed out that the Locality Officers would be able to address any complications.
Also raised during discussion was the information recently provided to Members with regard to the lapse of the Authority’s prohibition on alcohol consumption in public places, which had been an important safeguard to residents. Councillor Ashcroft accepted that this should be addressed although pointing out that the context of the legislation had been changed by the Government.
The Chairman asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There being no dissent, it was
RESOLVED – That
(1) the draft Pavement Licensing Policy in Appendix 1 to the report be approved and authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services to undertake final design and implement the procedures
(2) authority to determine applications for pavement licenses under the Business and Planning Act 2020 be delegated to the Operational Lead Specialist Services, consideration of all appeals and any necessary enforcement/revocation action to be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services;
(3) approval be given to the introduction of a new charge of £100 per application for pavement licences under the Business and Planning Act 2020 and the 2020/21 fees and charges be amended accordingly, the fee to be waived for a period of six weeks following the announcement of the changes; and
(4) the Legal Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) be authorised to make any required constitutional amendments and changes to the scheme of delegation as described in the report and to ensure the Director of Customer and Commercial Services has the appropriate authority to implement the legislation and any further statutory instruments or guidance.
Note – In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Part 4, Rule 8 (Rules of Procedure), a motion to continue the meeting past 9.30 p.m. was moved by the Chairman, seconded by Councillor Robin Ashcroft and, there being no dissent, was carried.