LICENSING COMMITTEE – 4 OCTOBER 2006
PART 1 – PART DELEGATED
5.PROJECT INITIATION DOCUMENT UPDATE – GAMBLING ACT 2005. TO RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL ADOPTION OF THE STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY
1.1To update members on the progress on implementing the transfer of the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 and, as part of that transition, to confirm the Statement of Licensing Policy and to recommend adoption by Council.
2.1 This report updates progress on the implementation of transition of the Gambling Act 2005.
2.2 The Council is on target with all deadlines and timescales to date. The current main issue is the adoption by Council of the Statement of Licensing Policy – the document that sets out our strategy in dealing with applications under the 2005 Act. We have consulted widely on the document, including a press release in the Watford Observer on the 15 September reminding consultees that the closing date for comments was the 25 September.
2.3 Included in the covering consultation letter was reference to the specific question on whether or not the Council should adopt a no-casino policy. It is a requirement that a no-casino resolution must form part of our Statement of Licensing Policy. The recent press release also referred specifically to the casino issue.
2.4 At the closing of the consultation there have been 10 responses – three from trade organisations (the Racecourse Association, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the Association of British Bookmakers), three from Residents’ Associations (Park Close, Chorleywood and District and Turneys Orchard) and 4 from individuals. There have been 7 “No” votes for a casino within the District and therefore Council has to endorse this as policy and include it in the Statement of Licensing Policy.
2.5 The British Racecourse Association has made no comments as they have no racecourses in the District.
2.6 The response from the BBPA states that the response is supported by the British Institute of Innkeepers, The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Association.
2.7 The comments from the BBPA and the Association of British Bookmakers are summarised in Appendix 1.
2.8 Members are advised that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have deferred the First Appointed Day (FAD), for the acceptance of advance applications for premises licences from 31 January 2007 to the 30 April 2007. Licensed premises gaming machine permits and club gaming and machine permits will still have the advance application date of 1 June 2007. This deferment is to allow for key regulations to be laid and passed within the statutory timescales. The closing date for all advance applications remains at 31 July 2007 when, providing advance applications have been made, existing operators will be guaranteed continued operation beyond the 31 August regardless of whether the application has been determined or not by the licensing authority. There is no intention of imposing a turn-round time on local authorities for dealing with these applications. DCMS have stated that they will ensure the industry has no false expectations in this regard.
2.9 DCMS have also confirmed that they have no intention of introducing any extra requirements in relation to the content of Policy Statements, being satisfied that Gambling Commission guidance on the Statements is sufficient to meet the purpose of detailing the principles on which the local authority will consider each application.
2.10 In light of the guidance from DCMS that there are no proposals to require additional information in the Statement or change the FAD, it is suggested that the timeframe identified in the PID continues. Members are therefore requested to consider the comments made as a result of the consultation and recommend approval of the Statement of Licensing Policy to Council.
2.11 Fees (which are still to be decided) are a full Council decision. They will be within Bands which DCMS will set for authorities other than those rated excellent under CPA. It is suggested that Council be requested to delegate the matter of fees to Licensing Committee and that the Council Constitution be amended accordingly.
2.12 Small lottery registration is not automatically delegated to Licensing Committee. Regulations are awaited to inform local authorities whether it falls to Executive or full Council. It is again suggested that Executive and Council be requested to delegate this issue to Licensing Committee.
2.13 LACORS (Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) have produced a training pack for Members and Officers. The pack is currently being evaluated to produce a training programme. Members are reminded that there are only 7 licences currently in force in the district – 5 premises and 2 track bookmakers.
2.14 The draft Statement of Licensing Principles is attached at Appendix 2 with the response suggestions added in bold italic.
3.Options/Reasons for Recommendation
3.1To progress implementation of the transition of the Gambling Act to the Council and to recommend to the Executive Committee and Council the delegation of fees and small lottery registration to Licensing Committee.
4.1The recommendations in this report are not within the Council’s agreed policy and budgets. No budgetary information is available at present although there will be licensing income from the 5 premises due to be licensed and a Gershon saving by absorbing the licensing administration/procedure within existing resources. The report recommends adoption of Policy by full Council.
5.Financial, Legal, Equal Opportunities, Staffing, Environmental, Community Safety, Customer Services Centre, and Website Implications.
6.Risk Management Implications
6.1The Council has agreed its risk management strategy which can be found on the website at http//www.threerivers.gov.uk. The risk management implications of this report are detailed below.
6.2The subject of this report is covered by the Environmental Health service plan. Any risks resulting from this report will be included in the risk register and, if necessary, managed within this plan
6.3 There are no risks to the Council in agreeing the recommendations.
6.4The following table gives the risks that would exist if the recommendations are rejected, together with a scored assessment of their impact and likelihood:Description of Risk / Impact / Likelihood
1 / Council does not adopt the Statement of Licensing Policy within the imposed statutory timescale. / III / F
2 / That Members fail to discuss and evaluate the comments in Appendix 1 following the consultation on the draft Statement of Licensing Policy and determine whether any of the suggestions should be incorporated into the final document, / III / F
3 / That the Licensing Committee fail to refer the final draft Statement of Licensing Policy to Council for adoption within the appropriate timescale, / III / F
4 / That Council fail to delegate the matter of fees in relation to the Gambling Act to Licensing Committee to determine when they are made available from the DCMS, / I / E
5 / That Executive Committee/Council fail to delegate the matter of small lottery registration to Licensing Committee, and / I / F
6 / that a training programme for the processing of applications under the Gambling Act is not developed and implemented within the timescale identified in the Project Initiation Document. / III / F
6.5Of the risks detailed above none are already managed within a service plan.
6.6The above risks are plotted on the matrix below depending on the scored assessments of impact and likelihood, detailed definitions of which are included in the risk management strategy. The Council has determined its aversion to risk and is prepared to tolerate risks where the combination of impact and likelihood are plotted in the shaded area of the matrix. The remaining risks require a treatment plan.Likelihood / A / Impact / Likelihood
B / V = Catastrophic / A = >98%
C / IV = Critical / B = 75% - 98%
D / III = Significant / C = 50% - 75%
E / 4,5 / II = Marginal / D = 25% - 50%
F / 1,2,3,6 / I = Negligible / E = 2% - 25%
I / II / III / IV / V / F = <2%
6.7In the officers’ opinion none of the new risks above, were they to come about, would seriously prejudice the achievement of the Strategic Plan, and are therefore operational risks. The effectiveness of treatment plans are reviewed by the Audit Committee annually.
7.1 That progress on the implementation of the Project Initiation Document be noted as being on target.
7.2 That Members note the comments in Appendix 1 following the consultation on the draft Statement of Licensing Policy and determine whether any of the suggestions should be incorporated into the final document.
7.3 That members note the result of the consultation is in favour of a No-Casino policy for the district (Section 166) and that this is included in the Statement of Licensing Policy
7.4 That the final draft Statement of Licensing Policy be recommended to Council for adoption.
7.5 That Council be recommended to delegate the matter of fees in relation to the Gambling Act to Licensing Committee to determine when they are made available from the DCMS.
7.6 That the Executive Committee and Council be recommended to delegate the matter of small lottery registration to the Licensing Committee.
7.7 Members note that a training programme for the processing of applications under the Gambling Act is being developed and will be implemented within the timescale identified in the Project Initiation Document.
Draft Statement of Licensing Principles – Consultation Document
Consultation Document responses
Report prepared by:Ted Massey, Chief Environmental Health Officer
APPENDICES / ATTACHMENTS
Appendix 1 – consultation responses
Appendix 2 – Draft Statement of Licensing Policy
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APPENDIX 1Responder /
Comment/ Officers comment / Recommend amendment / Casino?
Turneys Orchard Residents Association / - / - / - / No
Park Close Residents Association / - / - / - / No
Chorleywood and District Residents Association / - / - / - / No
British Racecourse Association / - / - / - / -
The Association of British Bookmakers / Door Supervision: request Policy states:
“There is no evidence that the operation of betting offices has required door supervisors for the protection of the public. The authority will make a door supervision requirement only if there is clear evidence from the history of trading at the premises that the premises cannot be adequately supervised from the counter and that door supervision is both necessary and proportionate”. / Helpful and suggested addition / yes / -
Betting Machines (machines on shop floor where customer can place a bet without having to visit the counter) (not to be confused with fixed odds betting Machines or amusement with prizes machines) – requested addition to Policy –
“While the authority has discretion as to the number, nature and circumstances of the use of betting machines, there is no evidence that such machines give rise to regulatory concerns. This authority will consider limiting the number of machines only where there is clear evidence that such machines have been, or are likely to be, used in breach of the licensing objectives. Where there is such evidence this authority may consider, when reviewing the licence, the ability of staff to monitor the use of such machines from the counter.” / Helpful and suggested addition / yes / -
Enforcement – request policy to include –
“The authority recognises that certain bookmakers have a number of premises within its area. In order to ensure that any compliance issues are recognised and resolved at the earliest stage operators are requested to give the authority a single named point of contact, who should be a senior individual, and who the authority will contact first should there be any compliance queries or issues arise.” / Helpful and suggested addition / yes / -
The British Beer and Pub Association / Grant of additional gaming machine permits – request Policy reflect that “where operators apply for additional machine permits and they are complying with the Gambling Commission Code of Practice there is no reason why the application should not be granted”. / Officers recommend that existing draft policy remains as this is clearly a vested interest comment / no / -
Application procedures for more than two machines – would welcome an outline of the application procedure for permits for more than two machines. The BBPA understand that a number of authorities are taking the view that they will permit up to 4 machines without the need for a hearing. The BBPA support such an approach in the interests of reduced administration and bureaucracy.Wish to see a generic application form for permits. (it is understood that LACORS are working on a standard form). / Officers recommend that existing draft policy remains as this is clearly a vested interest comment / no / -
Transitional arrangements – BBPA consider that transitional arrangements for existing machine permits should be included within the Statement or in the form of separate guidance. / Officers suggest that this issue be dealt with by separate guidance / no / -
Cllr Durham / The area is not conducive to supporting a Casino / - / - / No
Martin Brummell / Having read the draft statement of principles re: Gambling Act 2005 etc. we are concerned that you will not have the resources or facilities to monitor and attend to these adequately. It will also increase council costs and then residents extra council tax costs to do so. The risks of misuse of casinos far outweigh any advantages one could bring to the area so it is safest to refuse one being provided in the first place. / - / - / No
Julie Hills / I strongly object to any plans for a Casino in the Three Rivers District or indeed any further encouragement and temptation for more Gambling venues in the area. I have lived in the South Oxhey area for over twenty years now and this Community has improved greatly. But the prospect of the minority of people in any area who may be vulnerable or indeed desperate for their life to change by Gambling and losing what little they may have appals me.
I appreciate that these days we always hear about freedom of choice but there are many who need protection from themselves and I would hope that Three Rivers District Council would use their money in more constructive ways.
My immediate thoughts go to more provision for good and reliable activities for the Youth and likewise the Elderly.
Thankyou for your time in reading. / - / - / No
Amanda Demou / I am astonished that Three Rivers would consider to have a Casino in South Oxhey. On a day to day basis, I meet people who are struggling with day to day provisions for their families. There is already a huge problem of debt on the estate, not to mention alcoholism, drugs, violence and anti-social behaviour. I fail to see how having a casino in South Oxhey or surrounding area would benefit the local community. The only effect would be a hugely negative one. There are already far too many pubs and betting shops, not to mention lottery outlets and gambling mad tv – plenty of opportunity to get into yet more debt which leads to a downward spiral of more alcohol and drug abuse to dull the pain etc
Please in the name of sanity – think again! Search your conscience and open your eyes!!!!!!! / - / - / No
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THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL
GAMBLING ACT 2005
DRAFT STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY
ContentsItem / Page
1. The licensing objectives
4. Responsible Authorities
5. Interested parties
6. Exchange of information
8. Licensing authority functions
Part B - Premises licences
1. General Principles
2. Adult Gaming Centres
3. (Licensed) Family Entertainment Centres
6. Betting premises
8. Travelling fairs
9. Provisional Statements
Part C - Permits / Temporary and Occasional Use Notices
1. Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre gaming machine permits
2. (Alcohol) Licensed premises gaming machine permits
3. Prize Gaming Permits
4. Club Gaming and Club Machines Permits
5. Temporary Use Notices
6. Occasional Use Notices
1.The Licensing Objectives
In exercising most of their functions under the Gambling Act 2005, licensing authorities must have regard to the licensing objectives set out in section 1 of the Act. The licensing objectives are:
Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
The requirement in relation to children is explicitly to protect them from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
Three Rivers District Council
Comprising an area of approximately 34 square miles, Three Rivers’ 82,848 residents (2001 Census) are concentrated in the District’s main population centres of Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green, Abbots Langley and South Oxhey/Carpenders Park. The south and east is more heavily built up, with leafy suburbs spreading almost continuously into the London Borough of Hillingdon at Northwood and Batchworth Heath, and east into Watford Council at Croxley Green and Oxhey. To the north, near the borders with Chiltern District and Dacorum Borough the separation of villages and settlements is more prominent, and here open countryside prevails.
Three Rivers is the most south westerly district in Hertfordshire and shares boundaries with the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Harrow in the south, Hertsmere and Watford Boroughs in the east, Dacorum Borough and Chiltern District to the north and South Bucks to the west. It is bisected by the major transport links of the M25 motorway, the West Coast main line and the Metropolitan line.