Rotherham Council to regain licensing powers

Licensing powers could be restored to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) after the council’s commissioner successfully highlighted improvements in the area.

Reports suggest that Communities Secretary Sajid Javid wrote to Sharon Kemp, the council’s chief executive, informing her that the authority would be able to resume all decision making on licensing matters, subject to local views.

The council has been without such powers since February 2015.

Commissioner Mary Ney had previously submitted evidence ion the matter, informing the government that elected members had the skills and capability to take on the decision making role.

New said: “The council has worked hard to implement a range of improvements to its licensing function and it is now appropriate to consider the return of decision making to the council.

“Councillors have worked with me in an advisory capacity for over 20 months and have gained considerable experience as the Council implemented the new arrangements. Public confidence and safety is now at the heart of the Council's licensing service and the new Hackney Carriage and Taxi Licensing Policy, the benefits of which we know passengers are already experiencing.”

Council leader Chris Read said: “This is welcome news and a real vote of confidence in the work undertaken by the council over the last 20 months, alongside commissioners, to deliver necessary improvements.

“We've lots more to do but - should this decision be confirmed next month - it would be another step in the right direction, for the council and for Rotherham.”

The proposal will now be considered by the council leadership and members, before the Communities Secretary will consider representations before making a final decision on whether to return the licensing function to the council.

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