Top

Top

 LICENSING COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 30th September, 2014.

 

Present:  Councillor A.G. Powell (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, J.W. Thomas and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

 

451     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors H.C. Hamilton, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Ms. R.F. Probert and R.P. Thomas.

 

 

452     MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th July, 2014 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

453     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

454     MINUTES OF THE LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the Licensing Sub-Committee meetings held on 30th June, 2014 and 30th July, 2014 be noted.

 

 

455     APPLICATION TO WAIVE THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL’S AGE POLICY GUIDELINES FOR THE GRANT OF A HACKNEY CARRIAGE VEHICLE LICENCE, SKODA SUPERB, KM05 XXH (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to consider a request by Mr. Shahid Ahmed to waive the Vale of Glamorgan’s Age Policy Guidelines in respect of a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence application for a Skoda Superb, registration number KM05 XXH.

 

The Licensing Team Leader presented the report to the Committee and outlined the issues involved and options available to the Committee with regards to the application. 

 

The Committee was informed that Class 1 was 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 KM05 XXH was 20th June 2005, therefore the vehicle was now 9 years and 2 months old.

 

Vehicle registration number KM05 XXH was licensed as Hackney Carriage Vehicle number HC149, from the 5th August 2009 to 4th August 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 4th August 2014.

 

On 6th August 2014 Licensing Officers witnessed Hackney Carriage 149, KM05 XXH being used to ply for hire at Holton Road Taxi Rank.  The plate and window licence on the vehicle indicated that the licence had expired on 4th August 2014.  Further action in relation to this matter was ongoing.

 

On 20th August 2014 Mr. Ahmed submitted an application for the grant of a Hackney Carriage Licence for the vehicle. The application was accompanied by a message 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 message was attached at Appendix A to the report received by the Committee.

 

The Committee was informed that if it approved the waiver of Age Policy Guidelines in respect of the vehicle, it 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.

 

Mr. Shahid Ahmed was present at the meeting and was provided with the opportunity to make representations by the Chairman.  Mr. Ahmed stated that he was not aware that his Vehicle Licence had expired as he had not received a reminder and had forgotten to complete an application form to renew his Vehicle Licence. 

 

There being no further representations from Mr. Ahmed, the Chairman granted Mr. Thomas, Chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association the opportunity to address the Committee and he stated that these types of issues were occurring on a regular basis and that the message needed to be communicated to taxi drivers across the Vale of Glamorgan that it was not acceptable.  He further stated that taxis had a sticker on their window and a plate on the back of the vehicle which stated the expiration date of the licence and it was unacceptable that these issues continued to occur and unless the taxi driver had a valid reason there was no excuse for the Vehicle Licence to expire.

 

In response the Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that Licensing Officers had delegated powers to deal with the expired vehicle licences, however, in this instance, it fell outside of these delegated powers as the vehicle in question was found plying for hire.  Therefore there were extenuating circumstances with regard to this specific case, so it had been referred to the Licensing Committee for determination.

 

A Member asked whether any further action had been taken with regards to the expiration of the Licence in this case.  In response, the Licensing Team Leader advised that as the taxi had been found plying for hire when it was not a licensed vehicle, the Licensing Team was in the process of investigating the matter and Mr. Ahmed had been interviewed in regard to this.  It was confirmed that this was an ongoing matter. 

 

The Member enquired as to whether this course of action would negate the decision of the Licensing Committee with regard to the application being considered and in response the Licensing Team Leader informed the Committee that the application must be considered totally separately to any other action being taken, and that the application was with regard to the fitness of the vehicle to be granted a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence and that the Committee could not take into account any other matters in relation to this application.

 

A Member asked whether letters were issued to licence holders to remind them of the expiration date of their vehicle licences and the Committee was advised that reminders were issued, however, the Licensing Team was not obliged to issue these reminders under the relevant legislation.  However, it was a more cost-effective way of dealing with the expiration of licences, rather than bring them all to the Licensing Committee.

 

Following consideration of the report, Mr. Ahmed’s e-mail message and the representations made by Mr. 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 e-mail message and Mr. Ahmed’s representations at the meeting.

 

 

456     PROPOSAL FOR A TAXI RANK TO BE APPOINTED IN COWBRIDGE (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to consider a request from members of the Licenced Taxi Trade for a taxi rank to be appointed in Cowbridge Town Centre. 

 

The Licensing Team Leader presented the report and informed the Committee that Licensing Officers were unable to provide any evidence of the need for a taxi rank in the Cowbridge area and that they were only aware of two Hackney Carriages that were working in that area on a semi-regular basis and therefore it was not envisaged that a taxi rank would be fully utilised and furthermore, officers were also mindful of the cost of providing a taxi rank at this time of financial restraint.

 

Section 63 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 allow the Local Authority to appoint Hackney Carriage Stands.

 

The process for establishing or amending stands was as follows;

 

·         The consent of the Highways Authority should be obtained

·         Notice must be given to the Chief Officer of Police

·         A Notice stating the Authority's intention to appoint a taxi rank must be published in a local newspaper

·         Any representations in respect of the proposal must be taken into consideration.

 

The Borough of Vale of Glamorgan Byelaws 1978 record that there was previously a Taxi Rank in Cowbridge, located on High Street, 55 metres to the east of the Town Hall.

 

On 30th June 2014, the Licensing Team received a request from Mrs. Annette Lewis, proprietor of JD Cars, that consideration be given to the placement of a Taxi Rank in Cowbridge.  A copy of this message was attached at Appendix A to the report received by the Committee.

 

Also on 30th June 2014, the Head of Service, Public Protection received an e-mail from Councillor Jeffrey James who forwarded a similar enquiry from John Lewis of JD Cars; a copy of this message was attached at Appendix B to the report received by the Committee.

 

The Licensing Team sought the views of Highways, Ward Members, Cowbridge Town Council and South Wales Police.

 

A response from the Traffic Management Department was received on 26th August 2014, a copy of this message was attached at Appendix C to the report received by the Committee.

 

In subsequent discussions with Steven Arthur, Principal Engineer at Traffic Management, the following points in relation to the possible appointment of a Taxi Rank  were noted:

 

·         The estimated cost of the processing, advertising and implementation would be in the region of £5,000.

·         Funding for the project would be identified by Traffic Management.

·         The project would be placed on a waiting list for implementation.  It was likely that the Rank would not be in place for some considerable time as it did not involve road safety issues and would, therefore, be considered low priority.

 

Licensing Officers estimated that there were no more than two or three Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriages regularly working in Cowbridge.

 

Following the presentation of the report the Chairman provided Mr. Thomas, Chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, with the opportunity to address the Committee. 

 

Mr. Thomas informed the Committee that as an Association they had not discussed the proposal for a taxi rank in Cowbridge specifically, however, they felt there to be a lack of taxi ranks across the Vale of Glamorgan to cater for the large number of taxis in the county.  As a result of the limited number of taxi ranks the drivers would park up on the side of roads.  He further stated that although there was a need for more taxi ranks, it would be for the Committee to determine where these were located. 

 

A Member of the Committee, who was also a Ward Member for Cowbridge Town, stated that Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council felt that it had not been afforded enough time to discuss the proposal and, therefore, had not been able to comment.  The Member further expressed the view that there was already a shortage of car parking spaces in Cowbridge Town, and there was little need for a taxi rank in the town.

 

A Member stated that any applications for taxi ranks in the Vale of Glamorgan would be considered on an individual basis and accepted Mr. Thomas’ point with regard to the number of taxi ranks in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

RESOLVED - T H A T a taxi rank not be provided at this time in Cowbridge Town Centre.

 

Reasons for decision

 

(1)       No evidence could be provided for the need for a taxi rank in the Cowbridge area.

 

(2)       There were only two Hackney Carriages that the Licensing Authority were aware of, working in Cowbridge Town Centre on a semi-regular basis and therefore it was not envisaged that a taxi rank would be fully utilised.

 

(3)       The Committee was mindful of the cost of providing a taxi rank at this time of financial restraint.

 

 

457     APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL AS AN AUTHORISED HACKNEY CARRIAGE METER TESTER - A2B (SOUTH WALES) LIMITED (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to consider an application from A2B (South Wales) Limited, Unit 1, A2B House, Atlantic Trading Estate, Barry, CF63 3RF for approval to test Hackney Carriage Meters for use in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The Licensing Team Leader presented the report to the Committee and provided the background to the application.

 

The Committee was informed that the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Hackney Carriages stated that the proprietor shall produce annually to the Licensing Authority a certificate issued by a meter installer approved by the Licensing Authority that stated that the meter was accurate and contained only the current Vale of Glamorgan Hackney Carriage tariff.  There were currently five companies approved to issue Hackney Carriage meter certificates for vehicles licensed by the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

On 4th August 2014 the Licensing Team received an application from by A2B (South Wales) Limited to be approved by the Vale of Glamorgan to test meters and issue meter certificates for Hackney Carriages licensed by the authority.  A copy of the application was attached at Appendix A to the report received by the Committee.

 

The application was supported by confirmation of approval to test meters from GPC Computer Software Ltd.  This letter was attached at Appendix B to the report received by the Committee.

 

Following the presentation of the report, the Chairman afforded Mr. Mike Moore, Director of A2B (South Wales) Limited, the opportunity to make representations to the Committee with regards to the application.

 

Mr. Moore informed the Committee that the old meter testing system relied on the turn of the wheel and there had been no way to monitor it; whereas the new system was digital and was as tamper-proof as possible.  Furthermore, he confirmed that the system had been tested extensively by GPC Computer Software Ltd., and the main benefit would be to the fare paying customer.  Mr. Moore informed the Committee that there were five meter testers in the area, however, none of these were in the Vale of Glamorgan; therefore, taxi drivers would be required to travel to Cardiff, Bridgend or Swansea for testing. 

 

The Chairman afforded Mr. Thomas, Chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association with an opportunity to address the Committee and Mr. Thomas stated that the Association wanted a system that would be able to test all types of meters.  He further stated that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was able to test meters on a measured mile, however, it would be beneficial to the taxi trade if approval was given to test all meters, digital or rolling roads meters.  In response the Licensing Team Leader stated that this application was for a particular type of meter testing and a separate application to test all types of meters would be required, which would need to be considered by the Committee. 

 

Mr. Moore stated that his company had the facilities to carry out testing for the measured mile, and it would not be difficult to arrange testing for other types of meters, however, confirmed that this application was solely for approval as an authorised Hackney Carriage meter tester in respect of the GPC meter.

 

The Licensing Team Leader advised the Committee that A2B were unable to alter the taxi tariffs should they change but could calibrate GPC meters with the existing tariffs. 

 

A Member stated that the Committee was required to consider and determine the application before them and as the measured mile was currently able to be tested by the Licensing Team, this was an issue that could be considered at a future Committee.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the application by A2B (South Wales) Limited to be an authorised Hackney Carriage Meter Tester in respect of GPC meters be granted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To provide Hackney Carriage Vehicle proprietors in the Vale of Glamorgan with a greater choice of approved meter testers.

 

 

458     NEW BYELAWS - REGULATION OF ACUPUNCTURE, TATTOOING, SEMI-PERMANENT SKIN COLOURING, COSMETIC PIERCING AND ELECTROLYSIS (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to apprise the Members of the new byelaws in connection with the regulation of acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Local Government Act 2003).

 

The Committee was informed that local authorities were responsible for the regulation and control of businesses carrying out the procedures of acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin-colouring, cosmetic piercing, and electrolysis. The main powers to do this were provided under Sections 14 and 15 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Local Government Act 2003). 

 

On 3rd September 2013 the Licensing Committee approved that the byelaws and adoption of relevant legislation be recommended to Council on 25th September 2013.

 

At the meeting of Full Council on 25th September 2013 the Council endorsed the model byelaws and resolved that the Council adopt the provisions of Part VIII of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and for the provisions to come into force on 26th October 2013.

 

The draft byelaws in both English and Welsh were made available, advertised and then forwarded to Welsh Government to be sealed in accordance with the procedures under Local Government Act 1972 Section 236.  On 10th July 2014 the byelaws were sealed by Welsh Government with a commencement date of 10th August 2014.  A copy the byelaws was attached at Appendix A to the report.  The sealed byelaws were placed on the Vale of Glamorgan website in both English and Welsh and circulated to all town and community councils on 22nd July 2014.

 

Following the presentation of the report a Member of the Committee asked whether mobile tattoo parlours were also covered by the new byelaws, as they were aware of one operating in St. Athan.  In response the Licensing Team Leader advised that they were unaware of a mobile tattoo parlour in the Vale of Glamorgan and that inspections were carried out by the Environmental Health Department in accordance with the new byelaws.  The Officer confirmed that they would contact the Environmental Health Department subsequent to the meeting with regard to this issue.

 

The Licensing Team Leader further informed the Committee that there could be a number of registered persons that worked at registered premises under the Act, however, they would ensure that the issue of the mobile tattoo parlour was dealt with expeditiously. 

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the Council had in place appropriate byelaws for officers and licence holders to adhere to for the regulation of acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis under the Act and to ensure that the Committee was apprised in this matter.

 

 

459     FOR INFORMATION REPORT - IBRAHIM GASHI (DDS) -

 

The Committee received a report to inform Members of the action taken by officers of the Licensing Section and the decision of Cardiff Magistrates Court in relation to the revocation of Mr. Ibrahim Gashi’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences. 

 

On 2nd July 2007 Mr. Ibrahim Gashi was granted Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences by the Licensing Committee.  On 2nd April 2014 information was received from South Wales Police Notifiable Occupations Unit that Mr. Gashi had been arrested in connection with an allegation made against him.

 

In line with the Vale of Glamorgan's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Revocation Policy, Mr. Gashi was invited to attend the Civic Offices to discuss the matter.  Mr. Gashi met with the Head of Service, Public Protection and the Licensing Team Leader in relation to the Police notification.

 

As a result of the explanation of the incident offered by Mr. Gashi at that meeting his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licences were revoked under delegated authority with immediate effect.

 

On 28th April 2014 the Licensing Section received notice that an appeal had been lodged at the Magistrates Court.  On 1st July 2014 the appeal was heard at Cardiff Magistrate's Court where the decision to revoke Mr. Gashi's licenses was upheld.  A costs order was made in the sum of £1,500.

 

The magistrates stated they had heard all the material evidence and treated this hearing as a new hearing.  When making their decision they focused in on the Local Authorities test when granting a licence.  That being, "Would you, as a member of the Licensing Committee, allow your son or daughter, spouse or partner, mother or father, grandson or granddaughter or any other person for whom you care, get into the vehicle with this person alone?"

 

The Magistrates found that Mr. Gashi was acting as a public servant in the course of his employment and it was he who instigated sexual acts with a fee paying passenger who was either drunk or very emotional.  Under these circumstances, they upheld the decision of the Council. 

 

Following the presentation of the report, the Chairman provided Mr. Thomas, Chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, with the opportunity to address the Committee.  Mr. Thomas expressed gratitude to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the speed and manner in which it dealt with this case and stated that the Association did not want these types of incidents to occur. 

 

A Member asked whether Mr. Gashi would have been able to continue as a taxi driver after his taxi licence had been revoked by the Licensing Section and it was confirmed that he would have been unable to continue as a taxi driver until the outcome of the appeal hearing against the revocation of his licence.  The Licensing Team Leader further confirmed that he would be unable to drive as a licenced taxi driver after the appeal and any subsequent applications for a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences from Mr. Gashi would come before the Licensing Committee for determination. 

 

In light of the above Members asked whether any procedural lessons could be learnt from this case and a report be brought back to Committee in due course if appropriate. 

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that Members were aware of the action taken by officers under delegated authority and the subsequent action taken by the Magistrates Court.

 

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook