(A report by Christian Allen, Assistant Director - Regulation)
Portfolio Holder: Councillor Paul Skinner
Prior to presenting the report the Assistant Director – Regulation invited the portfolio holder to comment.
The portfolio holder declined at that point and advised he would comment at the end of the presentation if needed.
The Assistant Director – Regulation provided members with a brief overview of how the 13 recommendations had evolved following a very comprehensive task and finish group review that had involved a number of partners and agencies. The parent committee initially agreed and approved all the recommendations.
The report thereafter was tabled at Cabinet who agreed and approved recommendations 1 through to 11 with recommendations 12 and 13 scheduled for approval by BTAC.
Addressing the recommendations the Assistant Director – Regulation advised that recommendations 1,2,3,4 and 6 all related to legislative change and they had been forwarded, undercover of a letter from the Leader of the Council to the Home Secretary for consideration and review. The response from the Home Secretary being included within the agenda papers.
Recommendation 5 sought greater input by the 11 responsible consultees to licensing applications and the Leader of the Council had written to each consultee. No response from any consultee had been received.
Recommendation 7 sought greater input into licensing applications by the Parish Councils. The Leader of the Council had written to each Parish Council encouraging them to scrutinise licensing applications within their respective Parish.
Recommendation 8 sought to promote the work of Boston CAP (Community Alcohol Partnership). Inspector Fran Harrod had included a comprehensive response, which set out good work already undertaken by the CAP and the work they were intent on continuing to take forward.
Recommendation 9 related to performance reporting of Anti-Social Behaviour requesting comparative report be produced for Boston against Horncastle and Skegness. The recommendation had already been taken forward and was produced quarterly and available on the website.
Recommendation 10 sought notification on the Council’s website of a general police contact link for reporting of non-urgent crime. This had been taken forward and the details were on the website.
Recommendation 11 sought discussion to take place between the Police and Council to agree a way forward in facilitating public meetings. The meetings were now taking place quarterly hosted by the Police and supported by the Council’s Community Safety manager.
Recommendations 12 and 13 related to Central Park and scheduled for consideration by BTAC on the 20 May 2021. The decisions of BTAC to be updated at the next scheduled meeting of Environment and Performance committee on the 22 June 2021.
Committee deliberation followed which included:
A number of members voiced disappointment at the response from the Home Secretary with concern that Government had completely ignored the submissions. Members suggested that the Leader of the Council take the matter further with the local Member of Parliament to see if he could gain a more favourable response from the Home Office. The Leader of the Council confirmed he would be taking the matter further.
One key finding from the review, which the Police had fully supported, was the need for licensing of establishments that sold tobacco but not alcohol.
Whilst the Police had the right to enter an establishment with an alcohol licence that sold tobacco, they had no such right with a shop that did not sell alcohol. Locally illicit tobacco sales were a big problem, both as a front to other illegal trading and in significant lost revenue to the exchequer.
Madam Chairman advised she had watched the recent virtual public meeting hosted by the Police and stated she found it to be very informative and well run with live questions asked via the CHAT facility. The Chairman invited the Community Safety Officer, who had attended the meeting, to comment and he advised that whilst it had only been the second meeting, the feedback and input from the public was assisting in the priorities of the Police whilst being informative to the public. Occasionally it was not possible to answer a specific question at a meeting with the reply provided after. However, overall the meetings were working very well.
Committee agreed its’ receipt of the update report, noting completion of the Task and Finish Group: Regulating and Safeguarding Boston’s Economy, recommendations 1 to 11; and agreed to a further update being brought before this Committee when a response to recommendation 12 and 13 has been determined by Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC).
Committee further agreed a delegation to the Assistant Director – Regulation and the Leader of the Council to take forward the initial response from the Home Secretary, to the Local Member of Parliament.
CA: To update committee at its next meeting on the 22 June 2021 on the outcome of the decision made by BTAC in respect of recommendations 12 and 13.