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LICENSING COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 3rd September, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor A.G. Powell (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, G.A. Cox, Mrs. P. Drake, H.C. Hamilton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert, J.W. Thomas and R.P. Thomas.

 

 

240     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors K.J. Geary, K. Hatton and Mrs. A.J. Moore.

 

 

241     MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 30th May, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

242     LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the Licensing Sub-Committees held on the following dates be noted:

 

·         12th June, 2012

·         26th June, 2012.

 

 

243     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor A.G. Powell declared an interest in Agenda Item Nos. 5 and 6, Applications to Waive Age Policy Guidelines in that the applicant was a sponsor of a club of which he was a member.  Councillor Powell vacated the room during consideration of these matters and Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson was elected Chairman for the duration of those items.

 

 

244     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN'S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCES - IVECO MINIBUS X695 BYD (DS) -

 

Mr. C. Mort was present in support of his request. 

 

Committee considered a request from Mr. Mort of Contract Travel Services, Barry to waive the Vale of Glamorgan's Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence Application for an Iveco Minibus, registration number X695 BYD. 

 

The contents of an e-mail received from Mr. S. Thomas of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association was read out, as follows

 

“As I'm not able to attend the above meeting, I would ask you to read out this letter to the Committee at the appropriate time.

 

We would ask that you look favourably on the request from Mr. C. Mort (and any other operator in the future) to waive the Age Policy Guidelines on Ambulance minibuses.

 

The operators of these vehicles provide a much needed service to the Vale community that is not covered by the 'normal' taxis, the service they offer is very limited and out of school time the majority of these vehicles are just parked up.

 

The economic climate as it is at the moment means that Health Authorities are keeping their vehicles longer, meaning that the ones coming onto the market are older than is currently required by the Vale.  The price of newer ambulance minibuses are very high and just not practical for the amount of work they actually carry out.

 

We would ask that you restrict this request to ambulance minibuses with a wheelchair tail lift and put a restriction on them from being sold on, as has been done in the past.”

 

Vehicle Registration No. X695 BYD had been licensed as Private Hire Vehicle No. PH110, from 18th September, 2007 to 17th July, 2012, the Age Policy Guidelines having been waived by the Licensing Committee on 18th September, 2007 to grant the licence. 

 

Due to an oversight on the part of Mr. Mort, no renewal application had been received by the Licensing Authority by 17th July, 2012 and therefore, the Private Hire Vehicle Licence for PH110 had expired.

 

On 30th July, 2012, Mr. Mort had made an application for the grant of a licence for the minibus X695 BYD and the application was accompanied with a letter requesting exemption from the Age Policy Guidelines for this vehicle. 

 

Mr. Mort added that 'ambulances' only worked for some 190 days per year, although a small amount of work could be found elsewhere.  The vehicles were not used as normal taxis and furthermore the staff who drove them had to be trained. 

 

Members noted that, in addition to the request for a waiver of the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a particular vehicle, they were also being requested to consider waiving the Age Policy Guidelines for all vehicles falling within this particular classification. 

 

Having considered the application together with the representations of the applicant, it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the application to waive the Age Policy Guidelines in the case of Vehicle Registration No. X695 BYD be granted.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be brought to the next meeting of Committee giving consideration to the request to waive the Age Policy Guidelines on Ambulance minibuses.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       The Committee were satisfied that the vehicle met the requirements of Section 48 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to be licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle.

 

(2)       As requested by the Applicant.

 

 

245     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE LICENCES – FORD GALAXY GHIA CK04 ANV (DS)

 

Mr. C. Mort was present in support of his request. 

 

Committee considered a request from Mr. Mort of Contract Travel Services to waive the Vale of Glamorgan’s Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a Hackney Carriage Licence application for a Ford Galaxy, registration number CK04 ANV.

 

Vehicle registration number CK04 ANV had been licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle between 25th January 2008 and 21st July 2011, and then, as Hackney Carriage Number HC085, from 21st July 2011 to 20th July 2012. 

 

Due to an oversight on the part of Mr. Mort, no renewal application had been received by the Licensing Authority by 20th July 2012.  Therefore, the Hackney Carriage Licence for HC085 had expired. 

 

On 30th July 2012, Mr. Mort made an application for the grant of a licence for the Ford Galaxy CK04 ANV. 

 

Mr. Mort accompanied the application with a letter requesting exemption from the Age Policy Guidelines for this vehicle.

 

Having considered the application, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the application to waive the Age Policy Guidelines in the case of Vehicle Registration Number CK04 ANV be granted.

 

Reason for decision

 

The Committee were satisfied that the vehicle met the requirements of Section 48 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to be licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle.

 

 

246     AMENDMENT TO HACKNEY CARRIAGE, PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE AND PRIVATE HIRE OPERATOR LICENCE CONDITIONS (DS) –

 

Committee received a report which sought approval for amendments to the Vale of Glamorgan’s Conditions for Hackney Carriages, Private Hire Vehicles and Private Hire Operators Licences in relation to the carriage of Assistance Dogs.

 

The current Hackney Carriage, Private Hire Vehicle and Private Hire Operator Licence Conditions were adopted by the Licensing Committee on 29th April 2008.

 

Condition 46 of the Hackney Carriage Conditions and Condition 41 of the Private Hire Vehicle Conditions stated:

 

“Guide dogs, hearing dogs or other assistance dogs must be carried unless the driver has a medical exemption certificate”.

 

There was no reference to the carriage of Assistance Dogs in the Conditions for Private Hire Operators.

 

The Department for Transport had issued guidance in relation to the legal duties of Operators and Drivers of licensed vehicles with respect to the carriage of Assistance Dogs.  A copy of that guidance was attached to the report at Appendix A.

 

In addition to the duty of the Driver (who was not medically exempt) to carry the Assistance Dog, the guidance stated that they must also allow the Dog to remain with the passenger.

 

In relation to Private Hire Operators, the Department for Transport guidance stated that the Operator must:

 

·         accept bookings made by or on behalf of a disabled person who is accompanied by an Assistance Dog

·         accept bookings made by a person who will be accompanied in a Private hire Vehicle by such a disabled person

·         not make any additional charge for carrying the Assistance Dog.

 

It was proposed that Condition 46 of the Hackney Carriage Conditions and Condition 41 of the Private Hire Vehicle Conditions be amended to read:

 

“Guide dogs, hearing dogs or other assistance dogs must be carried, and allowed to remain with the passenger for the duration of the journey, unless the driver has a medical exemption certificate.”

 

It was further proposed that the Private Hire Operators Conditions be amended to add the following:

 

·         The Operator shall accept bookings made by or on behalf of a disabled person who is accompanied by an Assistance Dog.

·         The Operator shall accept bookings made by a person who will be accompanied in a Private Hire Vehicle by a disabled person with an Assistance Dog.

·         The Operator shall ensure that no additional charge for carrying an Assistance Dog is made.

 

Following careful consideration of the report, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan’s conditions for Hackney Carriages, Private Hire Vehicles and Private Hire Operators Licences be amended as outlined above.

 

Reason for decision

 

To bring the Vale of Glamorgan’s conditions into line with the Department for Transport guidance.

 

 

247     APPLICATIONS FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER’S LICENCES (DS) –

 

Committee were requested to consider how a number of applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licences that remained open but “dormant” should now be determined.

 

A review of pending Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s application files had brought to light a number of applications which had been open for some time, but had become “dormant” in that the applicants had not sought to progress the application for some time.

 

A list of the relevant applications and the significant dates in relation to them were attached to the report at Appendix A.

 

Licensing Officers had written to all applicants giving them the opportunity to contact the Licensing Section to discuss the progress of their applications.

 

Following careful consideration of the facts of each application, it was

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T all the applications for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences on the list attached at Appendix A to the report be refused and that all the applicants be informed by letter, giving reasons for the refusal.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be brought before the next meeting of the Committee proposing time limits for the consideration of such applications.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)               The need to determine Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s applications within a reasonable timescale.

 

(2)               The costs incurred of processing these applications to date.

 

(3)               The concerns about the accuracy of information provided on applications.

 

(4)               The accuracy of Criminal Record Disclosures given the length of time that had elapsed since the applications were first made.

 

 

248     SMALL SOCIETY LOTTERIES (DS) –

 

Committee received a report which sought approval to cancel the Small Society Lottery registrations as shown at Appendix A to the report.

 

Under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005, Licensing Authorities have been empowered to cancel a Society’s registration if the annual fee was not paid within the period of two months which ended immediately before each anniversary of the registration. 

 

A list of registered societies who had been sent reminder letters in respect of their annual fees and who had been formally notified of the intention to cancel their registration was attached at Appendix A to the report. 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T subject to fees remaining outstanding, the Small Society Lottery registrations listed at Appendix A to the report be cancelled due to non payment of annual fees.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the registration is removed where annual fees are not paid.

 

 

249     GAMBLING ACT 2005 STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES (DS) –

 

Committee was requested to endorse the revised Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles for consultation purposes. 

 

The Gambling Act 2005 placed a duty on the Council to develop a Statement of Principles that promoted the three licensing objectives:

 

·         preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime

·         ensuring that gambling was conducted in a fair and open way

·         protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.

 

The draft Statement of Principles would be subject to extensive consultation with members of the trade, responsible authorities, current licence holders and elected Members.  It would also be available on the Council’s website in both English and Welsh.  A copy of the amendments to the Statement of Principles was attached to the report at Appendix B.

 

The Statement of Principles would take effect on 31st January 2013.  The Statement must be published, be available at Council buildings and notices placed in a local paper four weeks in advance of the effective date, which was 3rd January 2013.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles, attached at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed for consultation.

 

(2)       T H A T the Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles be referred to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for information.

 

(3)       T H A T the Licensing Committee be provided with feedback from the consultation prior to the Statement of Principles being recommended to Council for approval.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-3)        To ensure a comprehensive and workable Statement of Principles is in place and to ensure that the Vale of Glamorgan Council complies with the requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.

 

 

250     LAW COMMISSION CONSULTATION: REFORMING THE LAW OF TAXI AND PRIVATE HIRE SERVICES (DS) –

 

Committee’s approval was sought for the response to the Law Commission’s consultation on Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services, a copy of which was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

On 30th May 2012, the Licensing Committee was notified of a consultation paper published by the Law Commission on Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services. 

 

The Law Commission’s consultation document contained their provisional proposals for reform of the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles. 

 

Specifically, it was proposed that the important distinction between taxis – which can “ply for hire” on the street or a cab rank – and private hire vehicles which can only be pre-booked be retained.

 

It was further proposed that all vehicles be subject to national minimum safety standards and, for private hire vehicles, these would replace more than 340 sets of local regulations.  It was the view of the Law Commission that this would reduce the burden on business because, once appropriately licensed, a private hire firm could work freely across the country, without geographical restrictions.  This would contribute to widening consumer choice and to making services cheaper and more competitive.

 

The Law Commission also made suggestions covering a wide range of issues, including improving provision for persons with disabilities, quantity restrictions and enforcement.

 

Having considered the draft response, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the response to the Law Commission’s consultation on Reforming the Law of Taxi and Private Hire Services attached at Appendix A to the report be approved subject to the following amendments:

 

-         the deletion of the word “have” at the end of the proposed response to Provisional Proposal 29

-         the insertion of the word “licence” following the word “districts” in the second line of the proposed response to Provisional Proposal 29.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the views of the Licensing Authority are provided to the Law Commission in connection with the reform of taxi and private hire service legislation.

 

 

251     FOR INFORMATION REPORT – MR. AUSTIN BOWDEN (DS) –

 

Committee were informed of action taken by Officers of the Licensing Section. 

 

The Licensing Section had received reports of someone trading from a food van in a lay-by at Crack Hill on the A48. 

 

Licensing Officers had visited the site and spoken with the trader, Mr. Austin Bowden, and advised of the requirement that he hold a Vale of Glamorgan Council Street Trading Consent.  Mr. Bowden had been further advised on three separate occasions in relation to this matter, and on 1st December 2011 he was advised that he was committing an offence and cautioned.

 

Despite this, Mr. Bowden was still found to be trading in contravention of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Street Trading designation on 17th February 2012.

 

On 6th July 2012 at Cardiff Magistrates Court, Mr. Bowden had pleaded guilty to the offence of Street Trading without being authorised to do so and was fined £100, plus a victim’s surcharge of £15 and £200 in costs. 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the contents of the report.

 

 

252     EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.

 

 

253     APPLICATION FOR HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER’S LICENCES – G. (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPHS 12, 13 AND 14) (DS) –

 

Mr. G. was present in support of his application.

 

With the consent of the Committee, Mr. G. circulated documents in support of his application.

 

Mr. G. attended the meeting to be interviewed to determine whether he was a fit and proper person to hold Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences. 

 

Mr. G. had first applied for his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licences in 2002.  At that time, Mr. G. had declared a conviction for assault and, following consideration of his application, he was granted his licences with a warning in relation to his future conduct.

 

Mr. G. successfully renewed his Licences between 2003 and 2006. 

 

As part of the 2008 renewal process, Mr. G. was required to apply for a new Criminal Records Bureau disclosure which subsequently revealed that Mr. G. had failed to disclose relevant information on both his 2007 and 2008 applications.

 

As a result of this information, the matter was referred to the Licensing Committee on 10th March 2009 at which it was decided that Mr. G.’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licences should be revoked with immediate effect.

 

On 11th June 2012, Mr. G. had submitted an application for the grant of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver’s Licences. 

 

At Section 7a of the application form, Mr. G. had declared previous convictions from 1986, 1998 and 2007.

 

Mr. G. addressed the Committee in respect of the offences.

 

Following careful consideration of the facts of the report, relevant legislation, the Council’s Policy on the Relevance of Convictions and after hearing from Mr. G., it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T Mr. G. be considered a fit and proper person to hold Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licences and that he be granted licences and issued with a written warning as to his future conduct.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the information presented.

 

 

254     FOR INFORMATION REPORT – K. (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPHS 12, 13 AND 14) (DS) –

 

Committee were advised of action taken by Officers of the Licensing Section in respect of Mr. K. 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the contents of the report.