Issue - decisions

Brent Statement of Licensing Policy

12/09/2019 - Brent Statement of Licensing Policy

The Chair welcomed Cllr Miller, Lead Member for Community Safety & Engagement to the meeting introduced the report and highlighted that the Committee had before them a pre-scrutiny update for their perusal and feedback.


Councillor Miller added that the briefing paper provided important update and sought views from members of the Scrutiny Committee as part of a pre-decision scrutiny consultation with regards to the proposed draft Statement of Licensing Policy. He stated that the report contained a range of vital measures, including minimum unit pricing, along with other matters, to ensure that drinking in Brent took place in a regulated environment that struck a careful balance between supporting the night-time economy along with tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and consideration of the welfare and safety of the community and stakeholders.


After his introduction, Councillor Miller handed over to Yogini Patel (Senior Regulatory Service Manager, Brent Council) to provide further details and the following key points were highlighted:


·               Since the last review in 2015 that did not have evidence of ASB and other issues, a lot of work had been carried out gone into this area and it now included hot spots including areas with less housing space, consideration of 24-hour economy in the Borough particularly Wembley and Kilburn and to tackle negative behaviour and crime.


·               New off-licenses to meet stricter criteria, welcoming approach to on-licences with food and entertainment to provide a healthier mix to community.


·               70p unit limit price and potential restrictions until it could be proven that an establishment/licensee was not contributing to the problem.


·               Before determining the Policy, the Licensing Authority must consult the persons listed in section 5(3) of the Licensing Act 2003. As was good practice, the licensing authority would consult more widely and not only limit it to the persons listed in section 5(3) of the Act. Section 5 of the report outlined that the Licensing Authority would consult widely. Persons to be consulted include: Chief Police Officer, London Fire Brigade, Director of Public Health, local premises licence holders, club premises licence certificate holders as well as bodies representative of businesses, residents, Planning, Trading Standards, Children Safeguarding, Public Safety, Noise Team, Licensing Authority and Home Office.


·               Consultation would also be undertaken with members of the Licensing Sub-committee, and with members in areas where proposed cumulative impact zones were proposed.


·               The consultation commenced on 23rd August 2019 and would end on 4th October 2019. Brent Forums would be consulted and their comments and views would be considered as the dates for the forums fell outside the period for on-line consultations.


The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officer for the introduction to the report and subsequently invited questions from the Committee with Members spotlighting on the following key areas:


·               The role of mystery shoppers and limiting sales of alcohol in the stadium and other problematic areas should be further encouraged.


·               CCTV recordings were kept for 31 days. Yogini Patel clarified that the recordings could not be watched live due to home office guidance.


·               Police and the Licensing Authority visited any problem areas and the council CCTV could also be utilised, where possible.


·               The work done by the Council in Queensbury must be praised however there were eight town centres in the borough and it would be good to know how often were these increased or decreased. In response, the Committee noted that cumulative impact zones (CIZs) were continuously reviewed, subject to consultation. It was worth noting that regular updates from various teams were coordinated and put in the mix. For example, a crime rate was comparatively low for Queens Park but ASB was high.


  • Responding to the queries about the Council’s support for the local night time economy, it was highlighted that a careful balance between effective enforcement vis-a-vis development of night time economy needed to be struck to ensure sufficient safeguards were in place while doing all it could to support the night-time economy. Councillor Miller reassured that Brent did not have an overzealous approach in Kilburn or else here in the Borough and all applications were determined by a committee.


·               The new stricter measures could not be applied to existing premises due to appeals and license transfers issue which had been reported to the Home Office.


·               The Chair enquired if the initiatives like the Home Office’s purple flag scheme were being pursued. In response, it was noted that the purple flag was in the Licensing Policy and was a resource intensive route which was an issue. Cllr Miller added that other voluntary measures could be explored and were being tried. He added that a voluntary registration scheme that would be published was part of the manifesto so that people could check and make their own minds.


·               The new policy would have restrictions on miniatures and high percentage of alcohol drinks to avoid inappropriate and dangerous top-ups.


·               In relation to a query about compliance and data on 70p minimum unit price, the policy was being introduced for the first time and the Council would have an idea in a year. HMRC would keep the additional money. This was only at a consultation stage at the moment, and was not a blanket minimum pricing like the one adopted in Scotland.


·               Licensing regime and public place protection orders were separate regimes. Resources was an issue so had to target areas based on evidence and heat maps.





The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee:


i.         Recommended that the council takes action to encourage key night-      time economy locations (primarily Wembley and Kilburn) to attain the          appropriate status reflecting the best practice, for example, the   Home Office’s Purple Flag Standard.


ii.        Noted the draft Statement of Licensing Policy in Appendix A, Cumulative   Impact Zones proposed in Appendix B and consultation questionnaire in        Appendix C.


iii.       Further noted that, once the public consultation period ended, the draft       Policy might be the subject of change before it is reported to Full Council for approval on 23 November 2019.


The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee made the following information requests:


a.       Data on consultation feedback around minimal unit pricing be shared     with the Committee by email once consultation came to an end.


b.       To simplify the language in the penultimate paragraph on page 3 of      the      policy document about timing variance.