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 LICENSING COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th July, 2014.

 

Present:  Councillor A.G. Powell (Chairman); Councillor H.C. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman); Councillors G.A. Cox, K.J. Geary, K. Hatton, N. Moore, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert, J.W. Thomas and R.P. Thomas.

 

 

171     ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

Prior to the commencement of business the Chairman informed the Committee that the Licensing Sub-Committee training had been cancelled and professional training had been secured and would take place after the August recess.

 

 

172     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors P.J. Clarke, Mrs. P. Drake, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A.J. Moore and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

 

173     MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 13th May, 2014 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

174     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

175     MINUTES OF THE LICENSING-SUB COMMITTEE -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the Licensing Sub-Committee meeting held on 28th May, 2014 be noted.

 

 

176     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF A HACKNEY CARRIAGE VEHICLE LICENCE AUDI A6 - DG55 CVP (DDS) -

 

The Licensing Committee received a report to consider a request by Mr. Shahid Ahmed to waive the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence application for an Audi A6, registration number DG55 CVP.

 

The Head of Public Protection presented the report to the Licensing Committee and outlined the issues involved and options available to the Licensing Committee with regards to the application. 

 

The Committee was informed that Class 1 is one of two classes of vehicles used in the Vale of Glamorgan in conjunction with the Age Policy Guidelines; Class 1 vehicles must be under 5 years old to have a licence granted.  The date of first registration for the vehicle registration DG55 CVP was 5th September, 2005 and therefore the vehicle was now 8 years and 9 months old. 

 

Vehicle registration number DG55 CVP was licensed as Hackney Carriage Vehicle number HC136, from the 19th December 2010 to 8th June 2014.  No application to renew the Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence was made, and no communication was received from Mr Ahmed prior to the expiry of the Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence on 8th June 2014.  On 16th June 2014 Mr Ahmed submitted a letter requesting that the Licensing Committee consider waiving the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a licence for this vehicle.  A copy of Mr Ahmed's letter was attached at Appendix A to the Report.

 

Mr Ahmed was advised that in order for Committee to consider his request he would first have to make application for the grant of a Hackney Carriage Licence.  On 16th June 2014 Mr Ahmed applied for the grant of a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence.

 

If the Committee approved the waiver of Age Policy Guidelines in respect of this vehicle, the vehicle would be presented for testing at the Alps Depot, and a licence would be issued from the date the vehicle receives a satisfactory pass certificate.

 

Mr. Shahid Ahmed was present at the meeting and requested that Mr. Reswan Ahmed be able to speak on his behalf.  Mr. Reswan Ahmed informed the Committee that on 8th June, 2014 the date that the licence expired, Mr. Shahid Amhed’s daughter had been in hospital and therefore he was unable to apply for a licence renewal.  He further informed the Committee that Mr. Shahid Ahmed approached the Council about 7 or 8 days later to renew the vehicle’s licence. 

 

The Chairman asked whether Members of the Licensing Committee had any questions regarding the application.  One Member pointed out a typographical error within the report which related to a different licence plate being stated within paragraph 1 of the recommendations.  The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that the correct registration for this application was DG55 CVP.

 

Following consideration of the report, Mr. Ahmed’s letter and the representations made by Mr. Reswan Ahmed, the Licensing Committee

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the request to waive the Age Policy Guidelines be granted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To take account of the report, Mr. Ahmed’s letter and Mr. Reswan Ahmed’s representations at the meeting.

 

 

177     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF A HACKNEY CARRIAGE VEHICLE LICENCE - PEUGEOT 307, SA58 BYH (DDS) -

 

The Licensing Committee received a report to consider a request by Mr. Mahdi Assi to waive the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Age Policy Guidelines in respect of Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence application for a Peugeot 307, registration number SA58 BYH.

 

The Head of Public Protection presented the Committee with the report with the options available to the Committee with the officers recommendations being that the application to waive Age Policy Guidelines be granted.

 

The Committee was informed that Class 1 is one of two classes of vehicles used in the Vale of Glamorgan in conjunction with the Age Policy Guidelines.  Class 1 vehicles must be under 5 years old to have a licence granted.  The date of first registration for the vehicle , registration SA58 BYH was 24th September, 2008 and therefore the vehicle was now 5 years and 9 months old.

 

Vehicle registration number SA58 BYH was licensed as a Hackney Carriage Vehicle number HC008, from the 29th September 2008 to 12th August 2013.  On 12th August 2013, the Licensing Section revoked the Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence HC008, to enable Mr Assi to drive the vehicle while he was not a licensed Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicle Driver.  Mr Assi applied for the grant of a Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicle Driver Licence on 13th June 2014.  This application would be granted following the receipt of a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate.  On 16th June 2014 Mr Assi submitted a letter requesting that the Licensing Committee consider waiving the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a licence for this vehicle.  A copy of Mr Assi's letter was attached at Appendix A to the Report.

 

Mr Assi was advised that in order for Committee to consider his request he would first have to make application for the grant of a Hackney Carriage vehicle Licence.  On 16th June 2014 Mr Assi applied for the grant of a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence.

 

If the Committee approved the waiver of Age Policy Guidelines in respect of this vehicle, the vehicle would be presented for testing at the Alps Depot, and a licence would be issued from the date the vehicle received a satisfactory pass certificate.

 

The Chairman provided Mr. Assi with the opportunity to speak and make representations to the Committee with regards to his application.  Mr. Assi informed the Committee that his taxi licence had been suspended because his work permit had expired and it had taken a long time for the Home Office to return his work permit and consequently he had been late in renewing the licence.  He informed the Committee that his vehicle was not an old vehicle and that he had had his work permit renewed in May 2014.

 

The Chairman asked if there were any questions from Members of the Licensing Committee.  A Member queried whether the Licensing Department had a copy of Mr. Assi’s new work permit and the Licensing Team Leader confirmed that they did hold a copy of Mr. Assi’s work permit.

 

Following consideration of the report, Mr. Assi’s letter and representations made by Mr. Assi at the meeting the Committee subsequently

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the request to waive the Age Policy Guidelines be granted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To take account of the report, Mr. Assi’s letter and Mr. Assi’s representations at the meeting.

 

 

178     DISCIPLINARY MATTER - MICHAEL CONIBEAR (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to determine whether or not Mr. Conibear remained a fit and proper person to hold Vale of Glamorgan Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licences. 

 

The Head of Public Protection presented the report to the Committee and informed the Committee of the options available to them with regards to this matter. 

 

The Committee was informed that Section 47 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allowed the Licensing Authority to attach to the grant of a Hackney Carriage Licence any conditions that were deemed necessary.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Hackney Carriage Vehicles included the following:

 

Condition 5

 

The vehicle shall be kept in good repair and condition at all times to the satisfaction of the Licensing Authority.

 

Condition 6

 

The interior and exterior of the vehicle (including the windows, signs, advertisements and fittings) shall be kept clean and maintained fit for public service at all times.

 

In these conditions the following definition as defined in section 80 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, apply:

 

(d)       the "proprietor" includes a part-proprietor and in relation to a vehicle which is the subject of a hiring agreement or hire-purchase agreement, means the person in possession of the vehicle under that agreement.

 

The proprietor and owner of Hackney Carriage, 136 an Audi A6 registration number DG55 CVP, is Mr Shahid Ahmed.  Mr Conibear had an arrangement with Shahid Ahmed and drives the Hackney Carriage for financial reward.

 

On 14th May 2014 Hackney Carriage 136, was inspected by Licensing Officers and found to be in an unsatisfactory condition.  On Wednesday 14th May 2014 HC136 was presented for a vehicle condition compliance inspection by Licensing Officers at the Civic Offices, Barry.  On inspection of the vehicle the Licensing Officers found it to be in a poor and dangerous condition and a Section 68 Suspension Notice was issued detailing the defects found. A copy of this Notice was attached at Appendix A to the report.  The following were the areas of concern.

 

a)         No vehicle number on roof signage

b)         Damage to the nearside and offside front bumper ends

c)         No wheel brace

d)         Nearside brake light and number plate light not working

e)         Drivers door catching on offside front wing

 

The nature of some of the faults described in the Suspension Notice would suggest that the vehicle was subject to deterioration and in a sub-standard condition for some time.  This meant that HC136 was being used in an unsatisfactory condition in the period prior to the inspection.

 

Officers were concerned about the condition of Hackney Carriage 136 and obtained the daily vehicle records from 1st Line Taxis Ltd. The records indicated that the vehicle was used daily from Wednesday 7th May 2014 until Wednesday 14th May 2014 and that the driver of the vehicle on those dates was Michael Conibear.

 

The fact that Mr Conibear was prepared to use the vehicle in such condition to carry out fares gives cause for concern as it demonstrates a disregard for not only the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Hackney Carriages, but also for the law and safety of the public.

 

Following the receipt of the report, the Chairman provided Mr. Conibear with an opportunity to make his representations with regards to this matter.  Furthermore, the Chairman asked Mr. Conibear to introduce the gentleman who accompanied him.  Mr. Conibear informed the Committee that he was accompanied by Mr. Miah who was his boss.  Mr. Conibear informed the Committee that he agreed with what had been said within the report and informed them that the vehicle had recently gone through plating and therefore he thought that the vehicle was in good repair.  He was unaware that the rear brake light and the registration light were not working. 

 

The Chairman asked whether any Members of the Committee had questions with regards to the application.  A Member asked how the vehicle could have recently gone through plating but not have a licence as it was the same vehicle for which an application had been submitted earlier in the meeting to waive the Age Policy Guidelines for the grant of a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence.  The Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that this vehicle had last been tested on 9th December, 2013 and that it was due to be retested this year but it had been allowed to expire and confirmed that it had not been tested since December 2013.

 

Mr. Thomas, Chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association asked whether he was able to address the Committee on this matter.  Having been granted the opportunity to address the Committee, Mr. Thomas stated that Mr. Conibear had previously worked for the A2B taxi company for approximately four to five years but had subsequently left that company, and informed the Committee that Mr. Conibear was not used to working with the new system as A2B had their own garages which ensured that all of their taxis were in good working order. 

 

A Member queried whether any disciplinary action could be taken against the owner of the vehicle for allowing the vehicle driver to continue to use a vehicle which was not in good working order.  The Chairman informed the Committee that it was the responsibility of the person driving the vehicle at the time and that best practice was to check the vehicle every time before driving.  The Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that with regards to fitness and propriety this related to the driver of the vehicle. 

 

There being no further questions in relation to this matter, the Licensing Committee considered the matter and  

 

RESOLVED - T H A T Mr. Conibear remained a fit and proper person to hold a Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s licences, and that a written warning should be issued in relation to his future conduct and in particular regarding compliance with the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Conditions and the safety of the public.

 

Reason for decision

 

To take stepped enforcement to encourage Mr. Conibear to comply with the requirements of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Licence conditions in the interest of public safety.

 

Following consideration of this matter a Member asked whether the Licensing Team could remind taxi drivers that it was their responsibility to ensure that their vehicles were road worthy.  The Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that each time a licence was renewed, the driver received a copy of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Licence conditions and that this was done for all taxi drivers on a six monthly basis.

 

The Chairman stated that the focus was on best practice and ensuring that the Vale of Glamorgan had good quality taxis and drivers and that the Committee would need to look at these issues more closely in the future.

 

 

179     MATTER WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the following matter, which the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason given beneath the minute heading, be considered.

 

 

180     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN’S POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF A PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE (DDS) -

(Urgent by reason that until the application was determined, Mr. Slimings was unable to operate his brand new Hyundai as a licensed Private Hire Vehicle)

 

The Committee received a report to consider a request by Mr. Steve Slimings to waive the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Policy Guidelines in respect of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence.

 

The Head of Public Protection presented the report and informed the Committee of the options available.

 

Mr Slimings became a licensed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver, Number 1186, in the Vale of Glamorgan on 12 October 2004.

 

Mr Slimings became the operator of Cardiff Airport Taxis / Bay Cars on 17th March 2006.   Mr Slimings wished that the Licensing Committee waive Private Hire Vehicle Condition number 4, to allow him to licence his white Hyundai i800 vehicle within the Vale of Glamorgan at the earliest opportunity.

 

Private Hire Vehicle Condition Number 4 stated that 'the Vehicle should not be white with a black bonnet.  Any vehicle with a licence granted from January 2009 should not be white, with the exception of a mini bus type vehicle’.  The basis of the Condition was so that members of the public did not confuse a Private Hire vehicle with a Hackney Carriage vehicle.

 

The Committee was informed that Mr Slimings had arranged to purchase a new white Hyundai i800 vehicle registration CA14 EXB to be used as a Private Hire Vehicle on the 30th June 2014.   He attended at the licensing section counter on the 30th June 2014 and made a successful application to licence the vehicle as a Private Hire Taxi; the vehicle was given the licence number of PH207 and the examination was booked at the Alps garage for 1st July 2014.

 

The vehicle was presented at the Alps Depot and duly passed the examination.  He then attended at the Civic Offices in Barry with the vehicle to collect the necessary documentation and his licence plate.  It was during this process that officers noted that the vehicle colour was white and therefore cannot be licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Mr Slimings informed the officers that under the current Vale of Glamorgan’s Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles (section 4) a minibus type vehicle was exempt from the colour white condition.  Officers accepted this was the case; however the Hyundai model i800 was classed by the DVLA on the vehicles V5 body type as a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV).  Due to the newness of Mr Slimings Hyundai a V5 for his vehicle CE14 EXB had not been issued yet, however enquiries with a Hyundai dealership revealed that on a similar model vehicle the classification is of an MPV.

 

The Licensing Committee were informed that they must be satisfied that the white Hyundai i800 could not be confused with a Hackney Carriage Vehicle.  The definition of a "minibus" as stated in the Construction and Use Regulations 1986 is 'a motor vehicle which is constructed or adapted to carry, more than 8 but not more than 16 seated passengers in addition to the driver'.  The Hyundai i800 has the ability to seat 8 persons within the vehicle including the driver.

 

Following the presentation of the report, the Chairman provided Mr. Slimings with an opportunity to make representations with regards to his application.  Mr. Slimings informed the Committee that the word 'minibus’ within the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles was confusing as a minibus is classed as a vehicle that has more than 9 seats and if his vehicle was a minibus he would have been required to go to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to have the vehicle licensed. He would not have to licence the vehicle in the Vale of Glamorgan if it had more than 9 seats. 

 

The Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that there are two types of minibus type vehicles which were a panel van vehicle and an MPV and in this case this vehicle was an MPV and that taxi licences in the Vale of Glamorgan were issued for vehicles up to eight passengers and any more than that would be licensed by VOSA.  Furthermore, she confirmed that minibus type vehicles are now licensed under taxi legislation.  The Head of Public Protection in confirmed that the Committee that the Vale of Glamorgan Council would licence minibus type vehicles up to eight passenger seats.  The Chairman stated that this was an issue for the Vale of Glamorgan Council not VOSA and that the Council do not issue licenses for minibuses and enquired  with regard to whether the 8 seats included the driver or not and if an 8 seat vehicle constituted a minibus or not.  The Licensing Team Leader stated that if a vehicle licensed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council carried more than 8 passengers they would be in breach of their licence and that Public Services Vehicles are licensed by VOSA.  The Vale of Glamorgan did licence vehicles that have been adapted to carry disabled passengers which may previously have carried more than 8 passengers but had been reconfigured.

 

One Member stated that the Age Policy Guidelines stated that an 8 seater vehicle was a minibus type vehicle and  that on the vehicle’s V5 it was listed an an MPV therefore Mr. Slimings’ vehicle was a minibus type vehicle.

 

The Chairman gave the Committee the opportunity to view Mr. Slimings’ vehicle, however this was not felt to be necessary in order for Committee to consider the application.

 

A Member asked for further clarification with regards to the colour of the vehicle and requested to hear from the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association’s Chairman.  Mr. Thomas informed the Committee that when this condition was introduced it was in relation to saloon cars in order that there was no confusion for the public as Private Hire Vehicles were predominantly white in colour.  He further informed the Committee that Mr. Slimings’ vehicle was a brand new vehicle and that the Taxi Association had no objections to the application and further confirmed that the condition had been introduced to stop white saloon cars being licensed as Private Hire Vehicles. 

 

The Chairman provided an opportunity for the Licensing Team Leader to provide further information with regards to this application and the officer stated that vehicles were evolving all the time and that MPVs were mainly used to carry lower numbers of passengers and that maybe the Licensing Team needed to consider the wording of the Vale of Glamorgan Age Policy Guidelines to state that MPVs are 8 seater vehicles.

 

Following consideration of the application the Licensing Committee

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the request to waive the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Policy Guidelines for the grant of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence be granted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Taking into account the report, Mr. Slimings’ letter and representations made at the Committee meeting.

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