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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 05/09/2006
LICENCES FOR USE OF LAND WITHIN WAVERLEY



Summary & Purpose
This item seeks authorisation for the grant of licences of Waverley land for no more than a period of one month on set terms and conditions and, as far as possible, on set fees. The purpose of this authorisation is to ensure that users of Waverley land who at present do not seek a licence for short-term use of its land will receive licences, thereby giving Waverley more control over the use of its land and also receiving revenue for that use.

APPENDIX J
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE - 5TH SEPTEMBER 2006

Title:
LICENCES FOR USE OF LAND WITHIN WAVERLEY
[Wards Affected: All]
Summary and purpose:

This item seeks authorisation for the grant of licences of Waverley land for no more than a period of one month on set terms and conditions and, as far as possible, on set fees. The purpose of this authorisation is to ensure that users of Waverley land who at present do not seek a licence for short-term use of its land will receive licences, thereby giving Waverley more control over the use of its land and also receiving revenue for that use.


Environmental implications:

If short-term uses can be brought under control, legally binding clauses can be introduced to ensure that damage to the environment is repaired by the user of the land.

Social / community implications:

Short-term licences will assist businesses to plan the cost and timing of renovations, householders to improve their properties and neighbourhoods to control the use of land.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications to this report.

Resource and legal implications:

Waverley will obtain some income from activities on its land that at present are difficult to regulate.


Introduction

1. There are existing delegated powers to authorise the grant of licences of less than three years. The system requires that the Property and Development Manager consults with the relevant Director and the Managing Director before authorising the licence. The authorisation period is usually two weeks and there is a set, non-refundable fee of 125 (excluding any fee for the licence itself) that includes administration costs and valuation of the licence. The system works well for long-term licences, such as for access or garden land, or for licences of reasonable value, such as a construction compound within a car park. The licences ensure that Waverley’s land is protected and that its use does not interfere with or provide a hazard to others.

2. The time and cost of obtaining these licences means that some members of the public and some businesses do not obtain licences before using Waverley land for short-term purposes, such as skips. They may also not be aware of the need to obtain the licence in the first place. Often the first Waverley officers are aware about the use of the land is once it is taking place. At this point, it is often difficult to stop the use or obtain a licence before the use is finished. Waverley is then left with clearing up, repairs to the land and possible loss of revenue.

Proposal

3. In order to deal with the problem, it is proposed that a blanket authorisation be granted for all short-term licences of less than one month. These licences would be based on a set of pro-forma licences and, as far as possible, on set fees. Where revenue-earning parking spaces are occupied or obstructed by the activity requiring a licence, the loss of parking income at full value, ie 100% occupancy, should be recovered in addition to the set fee. Any use that is liable to continue for more than one month would first be put on a temporary licence and then authorisation for a longer licence could be sought.

4. There are several advantages to such a system:

a. As the bureaucracy would be minimised, the administrative element of any fee would be low, thereby persuading more users of Waverley’s land to seek licences before entering onto the land;

b. With pro-forma licences, officers who come across unauthorised users of Waverley’s land could draw up a licence “on the spot”, thereby ensuring that the use conforms to Waverley’s requirements on health and safety and that there is a responsible person to clear and repair the land after the use is finished;

c. Set fees will make obtaining revenue from these uses easier as there will be no need for a valuation.

5. The disadvantages to the system are as follows:

a. There would be no input for a specific use by the Director of the Service Department, the Managing Director or the Property and Development Manager;

b. Set fees will result in some use being undervalued. Conversely, others will be overvalued.

c. The system will not deal with those individuals or businesses that will not enter into a licence arrangement.

6. It is, however, considered that the advantages of the system outweigh the disadvantages, especially as the proposed length of the licence is very short. The officers who would require authority to grant the licences would be:-

Estates Officer
Estates Surveying Technician
Countryside Management Officer
Countryside Rangers
Parks and Landscape Manager
Parks and Landscape Officers
Tree and Woodlands Officer

Recommendation

It is recommended to the Council that a blanket authorisation be granted to the Waverley officers specified in paragraph 6 above, to grant licences of Waverley land, of no more than one month, on set terms and conditions and, as far as possible, on set fees; and the Scheme of Delegation be amended accordingly.


Background Papers (DoPD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Ailsa Rhodes Telephone: 01483 523459

E-mail: arhodes@waverley.gov.uk



Comms/exec/2006-07/112