PUBLIC PROTECTION LICENSING COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 2nd February, 2016.
Present: Councillor A.G. Powell (Chairman); Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman); Councillors G.A. Cox, E. Hacker, Mrs. A. Moore, Mrs. A.J. Preston, J.W. Thomas, R.P. Thomas and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.
800 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillors P. Clarke, Mrs. P. Drake, C.P.J. Elmore and K. Hatton.
801 MINUTES -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 1st December, 2015 be approved as a correct record.
802 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
803 REQUEST FOR THE GRANT OF A 12 MONTH PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE (DEH) -
The Committee considered a request by Mr. Mike Moore of A2B (South Wales) Ltd, for the grant of a twelve month Private Hire Vehicle Licence in respect of a Ford Tourneo, registration number YS15 GSV.
Section 48(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows the local authority to set conditions for the granting of Private Hire Vehicle Licences.
Private Hire Vehicle Licences are issued in compliance with the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Age Policy Guidelines, which state that a one year licence will be granted where a vehicle has delivery mileage only.
The current fee for the grant of a six month licence and one renewal is £284, whereas the grant of a 12 month licence is £242, therefore proprietors obtaining a one year licence made a saving of £42. .
The date of first registration for the vehicle YS15 GSV was 20th August 2015. When the vehicle was presented for inspection at the Alps Depot on 9th December 2015 the recorded mileage was 1,101.
On 9th December 2015 Mr. Moore, on behalf of A2B (South Wales) Ltd, submitted an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence for the Ford Tourneo YS15 GSV and stated that he was requesting the grant of a 12 month licence as the vehicle was new.
As part of the application, Mr. Moore produced a bill of sale dated 8th December 2015 which gave the mileage as 900. A copy of this document was attached to the report at Appendix A.
A Licensing Officer advised Mr. Moore that the vehicle did not meet the criteria set out in the authority's Age Policy Guidelines for the grant of a 12 month licence. This decision was taken because the recorded mileage, given at the time the application was made as 1,095, could not be evidenced as resulting from the delivery of the vehicle. A copy of the application form was attached to the report at Appendix B.
On 10th December 2015 a six month Private Hire Vehicle licence, plate number 130, was granted to A2B (South Wales) Ltd in respect of YS15 GSV.
On 11th December 2015 an e-mail message was received from Mr. Moore asking that his request for a 12 month licence be considered by the Public Protection Licensing Committee. The message was accompanied by a copy of a letter from the trader who supplied the vehicle offering an explanation of the vehicle's mileage. A copy of the email and letter were attached to the report at Appendix C.
Mr. Moore, present at the Committee meeting, was afforded the opportunity to address the Committee and advised Members that the vehicle had been driven to London and back to Swansea on two occasions to have leather seats and wheelchair access fitted which accounted for the mileage. He stated that the vehicle was a new vehicle and had not been owned or bought by any other person. He expressed the view that a precedent had been set by the Committee at a meeting on the 4th November 2014, when a 12 month licence had been granted in a delivery mileage case and at this meeting Members had expressed the view that the Licensing Authority’s Age Policy Guidelines were ambiguous. In addition he advised that at this meeting Members were of the view that a maximum delivery mileage could be specified and a decision was made that the Age Policy Guidelines were to be reviewed. He stated that on these grounds he did not see how the grant of a 12 month licence could be refused as there had been no review of the Age Policy Guidelines since this decision in November 2014.
Mr. Thomas, Chair of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, was provided with an opportunity to address the Committee and expressed the view that the vehicle in question was excellent. He also advised that the reason the vehicle had such a high mileage was due to the trips to London and was of the view that a 12 month licence should be granted.
A Member asked whether the Age Policy Guidelines had been reviewed. The Operational Manager for Neighbourhood Services, informed Members that the review had not taken place, however one was planned. At present delivery mileage was not defined within the guidelines, however, a maximum limit could be included as part of the review and some Licensing Authorities did specify maximum delivery mileages of 200 miles within their policies. He further advised that it was for the Committee to decide whether the mileage on the vehicle constituted delivery mileage only, however, it was the Licensing Officer’s view that over 1,000 miles did not constitute delivery mileage.
Members expressed the view that the review of the Age Policy Guidelines, as agreed in November 2014, should take place as soon as possible.
Following consideration of the report and Mr. Moore’s representations, the Licensing Committee
RESOLVED - T H A T the request to grant a 12 month Private Hire Vehicle Licence in respect of a Ford Tourneo, Registration Number YS15 GSV, be granted.
Reason for decision
To take account of the report and Mr. Moore’s representations made at the meeting.
804 APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF A PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE: VAUXHALL VECTRA FD58 BNL (DEH) -
The Committee considered a request by Mr. David Mais of Cabs 64 of Penarth to waive the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence application for a Vauxhall Vectra, registration number FD58 BNL.
Mr. Mais was not present at the meeting.
The Operational Manager for Neighbourhood Services, took Members through the report. The date of first registration for the vehicle registration FD58 BNL was 12th February 2009.
The vehicle was licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle number PH025, from 16th October 2012 to 22nd December 2015 when the licence was surrendered by the previous owner. Had the Private Hire Licence not been surrendered it would have remained in force until 15th April 2016.
On 5th January 2016 Mr. Mais submitted an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence for FD58 BNL. The application was accompanied by a letter requesting that the Public Protection Licensing Committee considered waiving the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of the grant of a licence for this vehicle. A copy of Mr. Mais' letter was attached at Appendix A to the report.
Members were informed that Licensing Officers had delegated authority to waive the Age Policy Guidelines in certain circumstances, but only when an application was made within five working days of the expiry or surrender of a previous licence. In this instance, the maximum time period had elapsed.
Mr. Thomas, Chair of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, was afforded the opportunity to address the Committee and informed Members that he had received objections in relation to the application. He advised he had spoken to the previous owner who had sold it to Mr. Mais for spares as it was not of a fit to be a taxi.
The Chairman expressed the view that in the absence of evidence to corroborate this claim, it was hearsay and could not be taken into account. Furthermore, if the Guidelines were waived, the vehicle would need to be presented to the Alps Depot for testing and it would be discovered at this stage if the vehicle not fit to be a taxi or not.
A Member expressed concern in relation to the Age Policy Guidelines as they were designed to ensure a better quality of vehicle for taxis.
The Operational Manager for Neighbourhood Services, informed Members that in 2013, Committee had granted Licensing Officers delegated authority to waive the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of applications for the grant of a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle made within five working days of the expiry of a licence. In this case, this time period had elapsed, however if an application had been made within the requisite time period, it would have been delegated to officers, and advised Committee that if it was deemed necessary, this delegation could be reviewed.
A Member asked whether these types of applications were dealt with differently by Cardiff and Bridgend Councils who were part of the Shared Regulatory Services. The Chairman advised that all Licensing Authorities deal with these matters on their own merits The Operational Manager for Neighbourhood Services, advised that at present there was no harmonised policy for Age Policy Guidelines across the three Authorities but they do work to and learn from best practice.
A Member expressed the view that there was no evidence before the Committee, such as e-mails or representations, not to waive the guidelines. In response to a query from a Member, the Operational Manager advised that no reason needed to be given to surrender a licence and it would have run until 15th April 2016 if not surrendered, furthermore the vehicle would have to pass very stringent checks before it could be granted a taxi licence.
Following consideration of the report, the Committee
RESOLVED - T H A T the request to waive the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of the vehicle be granted.
Reason for decision
To take account of the report and Mr. Mais’ letter.