Minutes of a meeting held on 8th January, 2013.
Present: Councillor A.G. Powell (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, G.A. Cox, Mrs. P. Drake, K.J. Geary, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton, Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert, J.W. Thomas and R.P. Thomas.
684 ANNOUNCEMENTS –
Prior to the commencement of the business as contained within the agenda, the Chairman made the following announcements:
- that the Members’ Pack containing the Licensing Policy and Objectives etc. had been updated at Section 15; the current version was dated 13th December 2012
- that Members would be notified of potential dates for training on decision making and participation on Licensing Sub-Committees; that potential dates would be e-mailed to Members and Members were urged to notify the Licensing Section of their availability at the earliest possible opportunity
- that, as requested at the previous meeting, the feasibility of attaching a link to associations associated with gambling had been investigated with the outcome being that the link would direct users to the Gambling Commission Website.
685 MINUTES -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th November, 2012 be approved as a correct record.
686 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
687 ALCOHOL AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITY (DDS) –
The Annual Report of the Director of Public Health for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board highlighted the impact of alcohol on the health of our community. The report before Members directed them to electronic links to the aforementioned report and a copy had been placed in the political group rooms. The report sought to raise awareness of alcohol related negative impacts so that all agencies could consider how their work and policies could work towards reducing the underlying causes. The key messages from the Director of Public Health were outlined within the report under the following headings:
- availability and consumption of alcohol
- developing a safe and sustainable night time economy
- harm reduction
- changing attitudes.
The Director had requested that all agencies consider how they could contribute to “action on harmful alcohol consumption”. In response to a question as to the information being provided to by the Safer Vale Partnership, the Head of Service confirmed that discussions with the partnership were ongoing with the aim of maximising opportunities for collaborative working. Discussion also ensued on the widespread availability of alcohol, particularly in supermarkets.
(1) T H A T the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the key messages within the report be taken into consideration when formulating future policies.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To be made aware of the impact of alcohol in the Cardiff and Vale area.
(2) To provide evidence to assist Members when considering policy development.
688 APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE LICENCES – MERCEDES VITA S60 AYL (DDS) –
Mr. Ahmed was in attendance at the meeting. When asked if he had received a copy of the report, Mr. Ahmed indicated that he had not. Mr. Ahmed was then provided with a copy of the report and shown into an adjacent room in order that he might read the report in private and decide whether he wished to defer consideration of his application or to proceed immediately. Mr. S. Thomas, Secretary of the Vale of Taxi Association, was also in attendance.
After Mr. Ahmed had been given sufficient time to read the report and returned to the meeting room, he was asked whether or not he wished to proceed with his application. Mr. Ahmed stated that he did. At this juncture Mr. Thomas indicated that he was attending the meeting in order to register the opposition of the Association to the grant of the application. The Head of Service then presented the report. The vehicle had been licensed previously on several occasions under a different registration number and by keepers of the vehicle other than the applicant. In April 2011 the then keeper of the vehicle had been notified that the registration document for the vehicle indicated that the vehicle was manufactured as a van with side windows and that the DVLA must be notified in order that the modifications to the vehicle could be tested and deemed fit as a minibus following which a new registration document would be issued. In June 2011 the application for the renewal of the vehicle licence in the name of 1St Line Taxis Ltd. was granted since the vehicle had changed hands and a condition attached to the licence requiring the production of an amended registration document to the Licensing Section within 2 months. Members were notified that an amended vehicle registration document was not produced and that the vehicle licence had expired in December 2011.
Mr. Ahmed had subsequently applied to renew the vehicle licence and asked that the Age Policy Guidelines be waived since the vehicle had been previously plated in the Vale of Glamorgan. In response to questions, he stated that he was the owner of the vehicle and that he had applied to the DVLA for an amended vehicle registration document. Members expressed concern at the lack of an amended registration document, stating that the production of the same was essential in the interests of public protection and safety. The Licensing Officer suggested to Mr. Ahmed that he contact the DVLA to expedite progress. Mr. Thomas then spoke. He referred to similar cases he was aware of in relation to the need to obtain amended registration documents which had been cleared up within a few months, adding that the Association could not understand why this particular case was still ongoing and asking the Committee to treat all applicants the same in respect of the time allowed to produce the required documentation. Mr. Thomas concluded by stating that the Age Policy Guidelines had been introduced to safeguard the trade and that Mr. Ahmed’s application to waive the same could not be determined until the necessary paperwork had been produced. Mr. Thomas also offered the assistance of the Association to Mr. Ahmed in expediting that paperwork.
Following further consideration of the above matters, the Licensing Officer informed Mr. Ahmed that he could reapply for a waiver of the Age Policy Guidelines if he could first produce an amended vehicle registration document. In response to the Chairman’s question as to whether he felt he had been afforded every opportunity to put forward his case to the Committee, Mr. Ahmed confirmed that he had. The Committee then unanimously
RESOLVED – T H A T the application be refused.
Reason for decision
Members could not be satisfied that the vehicle in question was suitable in type, size and design in accordance with Section 47 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to be licensed as a hackney carriage.
689 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 item of business on the grounds that it involves 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.
690 FOR INFORMATION REPORT – B. (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPHS 12, 13 AND 14) (DDS) –
The Committee was notified of the actions taken by Licensing Officers in respect of B. B.’s Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Driver Licences had been revoked with immediate effect on the grounds of public safety on 6th December 2012 because of the nature of the offences B. had been convicted of and a further breach of the Hackney Carriage / Private Hire conditions by failing to inform the Council of the conviction within the stated time period.
B. had subsequently contacted a Member of the Licensing Committee requesting assistance; that Member read out the contents of the e-mail and an accompanying letter. The response to B. had been that the decision to revoke the licence had been taken by the Licensing Authority and that the only recourse was an appeal to the magistrates court.
During the course of consideration of the above, reference was made to a recent judgement in the courts in relation to the revocation of licences being the way forward in cases such as B. rather than the Council’s previous practice of suspension. Members agreed that the current policy for dealing with that matter should be reviewed/redrafted and submitted to this Committee for consideration.
Following further consideration of matters relating to B., it was
(1) T H A T the actions taken by the Licensing Section in revoking the licences be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the draft policy relating to the revocation of drivers licences as referred to above be submitted to this Committee for consideration.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To recognise the action taken by officers.
(2) To allow consideration of a draft policy.