Licensing Act 2003 Committee (Wirral Council) 7th November 2012

A report of the Licensing Act 2003 Committee of Wirral Council of the 7th November 2012, Interest Declarations, Minutes (25th July 2012), Result of consultation on draft statememt of principles (Gambling Act 2005), classification of Small Creatures (Light Cinema, New Brighton)

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Licensing Act 2003 Committee (Wirral Council) 7th November 2012

Cllr Bill Davies (Chair), Labour
Cllr Rob Gregson (Labour)
Cllr John Salter (Labour)
Cllr Harry Smith (Labour)
Cllr Steve Niblock (Labour)
Cllr Denise Roberts (Labour)
Cllr Mike Hornby (Conservative)
Cllr Adam Sykes (Conservative)
Cllr Dave Mitchell (Liberal Democrat)

Council officers
Anne Beauchamp (Committee Officer)
Margaret O’Donnell (Licensing Manager)
Ken Abraham (Legal adviser)
Unknown officer (male)

In attendance
Cllr Geoffrey Watt

John & Leonora Brace

The meeting started with Cllr Dave Mitchell (Lib Dem) giving apologies for Cllr Pat Williams (Lib Dem). The meeting was interrupted by the tune of an ice cream van, which the Chair, Cllr Bill Davies made a joke about, he went on to say that there were a number of meetings going on of different committees and that a number of councillors had sent their apologies. Apologies had been received from Cllrs McCubbin, Davies (George), Leech and Williams (Pat). He said he had a quick Any Other Business and asked if he could sign the minutes?

Agenda Item 1 Declarations of Interest 1:09 to 1:30
Cllr Niblock asked if he could declare a personal interest as a member of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority in item 3.
Cllr Denise Roberts also declared a personal interest as a member of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority in item 3.

Agenda Item 2 (Minutes) 1:30 to 1:50
The minutes of the meeting held on the 25th July 2012 were agreed.


The Chair asked Margaret O’Donnell (Licensing Manager) to talk about this item. She said the Committee had agreed a draft statement in July which had gone out to consultation, which had closed on the 31st October [2012].

At this point a Council Officer arrived.

Margaret O’Donnell continued that they had received one response which was attached at appendix 3, there were no specific direct comments so no amendments had been made to the draft since July, she said the purpose of the evening was to seek approval, then it would go to full Council on 17th December [2012] and was to be revised no later than January 2013.

Cllr Niblock referred to page 15 3.3 in the reference to “Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Authority” which should read Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. He pointed out a minor error where a full stop should be a comma and asked a question about page 31 about bingo being played in a member’s club.

Margaret was about to answer his points but Cllr Niblock went on to point out page 36, 21.2 apologising and saying he meant 27.3 and the phrase “will be decided on a case by case individual basis”, which he thought should either be case by case or individual.

Cllr Harry Smith agreed with him.

Cllr Niblock went on to point out that certain proper nouns such as Licensing Authority needed to be capitalised but were all in lower case.

Margaret O’Donnell said she would ask it to be looked at.

Cllr Harry Smith said, “Who are we going to shoot?”

Cllr Hornby asked a question about CRB checks and qualifications for door supervisors?

The Chair said that they used to interview door supervisors.

Margaret O’Donnell said that [door supervisors] were covered by the Security Industry Agency and they had to go through a process to be licensed.

Cllr John Salter asked if they had consulted the Chief of Police and if the Police had made comments?

Margaret O’Donnell confirmed the police had made no comments.

The Chair commented about training, the three meetings on tonight and that they were looking for alternative dates. As there were no further questions, the recommendation to the Council meeting of the 17th December of the Draft Statement of Gambling Principles was agreed.

Classification of unclassified film “Small Creatures” (Light Cinema, New Brighton)

The Chair said there was one item of Any Other Business which Margaret would explain.

Margaret thanked the Chair for allowing this item of Any Other Business. She said it was in respect of the classification of a film in accordance with guidance issued by the British Board of Film Classification, as they had a cinema in New Brighton called the Light Cinema which wanted to show an unclassified film. She said they were obliged to protect children from harm. She said she received an email on the 6th November from a gentleman who wanted to show it during anti-bullying week (the week starting the 19th November), she said it had been classified by Liverpool Licensing Authority, she said the film related to anti bullying, an individual called Martin Wallace wanted to show the film Small Creatures and had submitted a synopsis and was classified as a 15 by Liverpool City Council screening at FACT. She read out a synopsis about the film. She said there was discrimination of a homophobic nature, on-screen cannabis smoking, no horror in the film, reference to two instances of self-harm, but brief, it had strong occasional language, no nudity but occasional references to sex, crime and occasional violence (a school fight on a field) and a stabbing on camera.

Cllr Harry Smith asked if there was a moral ending?

Margaret O’Donnell said the film was about 89 minutes long.

Cllr Harry Smith referred to possible abuse.

Margaret O’Donnell suggested it could be delegated to a subcommittee, who would then have the chance to view the film.

Cllr Harry Smith asked again if there was a moral ending?

Margaret said that the 14-year-old boy ignored the advice of his teachers and gets involved in knife crime, there’s then a stabbing.

Cllr Harry Smith said he was “disappointed with the ending of the film”.

Margaret said the key thing was the classification and if people should be permitted to go see it.

Cllr Niblock asked if Liverpool City Council had just classified it based on a synopsis, as what it looked like might not be like what’s written on paper. Margaret O’Donnell responded. She said they hadn’t been able to establish how Liverpool City Council had come to its decision.

Cllr Sykes referred to the guidance, Margaret O’Donnell responded by reading out what the British Board of Film Classification see as a 15 classification, during this Cllr Andrew Hodson arrived at 5:47pm for the 6pm meeting. Another councillor arrived at 5:48pm for the 6pm meeting.

Cllr Sykes asked if it would be shown as part of anti-bullying week? Margaret nodded.

Cllr Gregson made some comments.
Cllr Salter wanted something written down.
Cllr Gregson asked about the Liverpool decision.
Margaret O’Donnell said she was seeking the “general view of the Committee” and that she was more than satisfied to report back. She said the email had put them in a difficult position, if it hadn’t been for the meeting she’d have suggested setting up a subcommittee, which would depend on the availability of councillors, she said she would report back the comments made this evening and it was a matter for the applicant if they wanted to pursue it further.

Cllr Hornby said it depended on how the film was directed, which can be misunderstood. He said, “I don’t like the idea of we giving carte blanche to something because someone else across the river said, “It’s OK.”” Cllr Hornby said it was his view it had to be done through a subcommittee.

Cllr Harry Smith said he was really worried there was no moralising end to it and referred to what happened to the baddies at the end of Grange Hill.

Cllr Hornby referred to direction.

Cllr Mitchell agreed that it should be delegated to a subcommittee, who would get the information prior to the meeting, she said it’s to coincide with anti bullying week.

Cllr Roberts asked if the Liverpool councillors seen the film? She said it was no worse than books for teenagers.

The Chair said at his discretion a member of the public has indicated they wish to say something and that he will allow it.

Declaration of interest: The member of the public is my wife and writes and edits for this blog.

Mrs. Brace thanked the Chair for letting her speak. She said that similar types of films had been banned, but if it did go ahead she thought that only people aged over 18 should go and watch it.

The Chair thanked Mrs. Brace for her comments.

Shirley Hudspeth arrived.

The Chair said he thought a decision had been made and it would go to a subcommittee. It was agreed to delegate the decision to a subcommittee.

Shirley Hudspeth arrived.

The Chair closed the meeting and said that the Licensing, Health & Safety and General Purposes Committee would start in five minutes.

Prenton/Oxton Area Forum 1st November 2012 Part 1 Belmont Suite, Tranmere Rovers Football Club

Prenton/Oxton Area Forum 1st November 2012 Belmont Suite, Tranmere Rovers Football Club Part 1

Prenton/Oxton Area Forum
Belmont Suite, Tranmere Rovers Football Club

1830 to 2030

Louise Harland Davies (Community Engagement)
Cllr Tony Norbury Labour (Chair)
Steve Preston (Community Safety)
Sarah Goulding (Community Rep)
Kay Crook (Community Rep)
Brian Griffiths (Merseyside Police)
Ian Lowrie (Community Safety)
Chris McCarthy (Interim Director, Technical Services)
Cllr Stuart Kelly
Cllr Paul Doughty
Paul Murphy (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service)
Cllr Patricia Williams
Cllr Alan Brighouse
Cllr Denise Realey (arrived late)

The Chair, Cllr Norbury welcomed people to the Area Forum and informed people he had been elected as a councillor in May [2012]. He asked people to introduce themselves and gave apologies for a number of people who couldn’t make it including the Lead Officer.

Chris McCarthy, deputising for the Lead Officer who wasn’t present read out a brief statement on the suspension of the Neighbourhood Forum funds. He said the fund was frozen as it was “non-essential” and there was a projected £17 million overspend.

Ed – at the time the projected overspend as of September 2012 was £13.2 million not £17 million as claimed, as the figure for £17 million was the position five months prior to the November Area Forum meeting (June 2012). However no-one will know the true figure until the 2012/2013 accounts have been audited in September 2013, until then it’s “just a guess” and falls into the selective quoting of statistics Wirral Council is famous for, where incorrect information supplied by others is repeated until some of the press and public believe it through repetition.

Merseyside Police and the leaked custody record

Merseyside Police and the leaked custody record

It’s nice to know that even during this Police and Crime Commissioner election the police staff are managing to leak a custody record to a member of the media (please note I’ve black boxed out most of it as proceedings are “active”) in relation to a charge of arson and breach of a restraining order on 31st October 2012. Wasn’t that the whole sort of thing the whole Leveson inquiry was supposed to address?

However the recently resigned Norman Bettison (infamous down to his role in Hillsborough) is a former Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, do you expect them to be following procedure or indulging in coverups?

I don’t see the point in making a complaint about this as invariably complaints about the police result in a whitewash. They usually don’t want to know about their own mistakes do they?

One day, maybe the police will stop leaking like a sieve, but I won’t hold my breath until it happens….

Wirral Council: Proposal not to pay £250 to employees earning less than £21000

Wirral Council: Proposal not to pay £250 to employees earning less than £21000

Wirral Council previously agreed back in March of this year (2012) (when it decided the Budget for 2012/2013) to pay all its employees earning less than £21,000 (which comes to over 2,000 employees) an extra £250 (net of National Insurance, Income Tax, pension contribution etc) in December 2012.

It was put thus in the budget and £600,000 was put aside for it. I quote from this document (which is the agreed Budget for 2012/2013, as agreed by Conservative and Lib Dem councillors (36)), but not the 29 Labour councillors.

“Our staff are those who are best placed to point out where we are failing and to tell us how we can improve the services that we will deliver. We are therefore investing to ensure we listen and properly engage with them in the future:”


“We recognise the importance of leading by example as an employer and we will again make provision for a payment of £250 for our lower paid workers – those earning under a full time equivalent of £21, 000.


Now go forward to now and there’s a proposal to the December Council meeting not to pay this £250 to 2,470 employees earning less than £21,000. The linked document goes into the detail and shows it affects a higher proportion of their female employees (calling this an “unintentional disadvantage”), a higher percentage of black and ethnic minority employees, a higher percentage of non-Christian employees, a higher percentage of transgender employees and a higher percentage of its young (under 30) employees.

So what have they done to mitigate the impact of this? They state they’ve written to the 2,470 employees that would be affected by this and they’ve discussed it in meetings with the trade unions.

As to the reasons why it’s being done, as the music hall song chorus goes:-

It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor what gets the blame,
It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn’t it a blooming shame?”

However if last March is a guide, then the Labour councillors will vote for this proposal and the Conservative/Lib Dem councillors will vote against. Labour have seven more councillors (plus Cllr McLaughlin can now vote as she’s no longer the Mayor). Conservative and Lib Dems have seven less. So whatever Labour decide will happen… and they tend to go by what the senior officers of the Council tell them to do.

This proposal (if it goes through which seems likely) just makes a small dent in the currently projected £13.2 million overspend. Quite what awaits the staff in the New Year is probably a much reduced workforce…. as to who is for the chop we’ll just have to wait and see.