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Agenda Item No. 4

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Public Protection Licensing Committee: 16th January 2017

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

 

Request for an Exemption in Relation to the Display of Private Hire Vehicle Licence Plates and Door Stickers

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To consider a request by Mr Terrence Gape to be exempt from the requirement to display a licence plate and door stickers on his Private Hire Vehicle.

Recommendations

  1. It is recommended that Members give careful consideration to the application taking into account whether or not public safety would be compromised were one of the following recommendations accepted:-
  • grant an exemption from one, or both, conditions 8 and 9 relating to Private Hire vehicles to Mr Gape in respect of an application made for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence, for vehicle registration CE62 DVL.
  • If Members are minded to grant an exemption from the requirement to display a licence plate, they must instruct that the required notice be given to Mr Gape.

or;

  • refuse the application giving full reasons for their decision.
  1. The officer recommendation is that the Committee must consider the application on its merit. If they are of the view that there is no public interest in granting this exemption having regard to public safety, the application should be refused.
  2. Members are reminded that when the vehicle is licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle the type of fares that are carried out by the vehicle cannot be controlled and as such it will not be restricted to chauffer work.

Reason for the Recommendations

To advise Members of the options available to them.

Background

  1. On 9th November 2016, Mr Terrence Gape made application for a Private Hire Vehicle Licence in respect of his vehicle, a Mercedes Benz S350 registration CE62  DVL, first registered on 1st September 2012.
  2. Having previously made enquiries regarding the requirement for door stickers and plates to be attached to his vehicle, Mr Gape accompanied his application with a written request to have an exemption from these conditions considered by the Licensing Committee. A copy of the request is attached at Appendix A to this Report.
  3. Mr Gape has advised officers that his business model is to offer an executive hire operation rather than the traditional private hire business where the public expect a liveried vehicle.
  4. On 5th December 2016 the Licensing Section received a letter in support of Mr  Gape's request. A copy of the letter is attached at Appendix B to this Report.
  5. Current private hire legislation does not distinguish between the different types of business model and standard conditions relating to displaying a plate and door stickers apply to all vehicle licences. This is in order to ensure public safety.
  6. While awaiting the determination of this matter, Mr Gape has not had the vehicle tested for compliance. However, should his request be approved, he will be required to produce a satisfactory test certificate from the Alps Depot prior to the issue of the Private Hire Vehicle Licence.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Section 48(6) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 requires that a plate is issued in relation to, and displayed on, all licensed Private Hire Vehicles.
  2. However, by virtue of Section 75(3) the Council has the power to issue a notice to a proprietor of a vehicle licensed under Section 48 to exempt them from the requirement to display a licence plate on the vehicle.
  3. Section 75 also dis-applies the provisions of the Act in certain circumstance;
  • While the vehicle is being used in connection with a wedding or funeral
  • When the vehicle is being used under a contract for a period of 24 hours or more
  1. Condition number 8 of the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles requires that the licence plate is permanently affixed to the outer rear of the vehicle's bodywork or to the rear bumper with the fixing kit supplied.
  2. Condition number 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles states that identification door stickers should be fixed to each of the vehicle's front doors by their adhesive backing.
  3. Officers are not delegated the authority to issue a Private Hire Vehicle Licence other than in accordance with the Vale of Glamorgan Council's standard conditions. A copy of the conditions can be found in section 8 of the Information Pack for Licensing Committee Members.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Resources directed to the administration and enforcement of the Taxi Licensing function may be recovered through Taxi Licensing Fees and Charges.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Section 48(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 allows a Council to make conditions relating to the prohibition or the displaying of signs on Private Hire Vehicles licensed by that Authority.

"A District Council may attach to the grant of a licence under this section such conditions as they may consider reasonably necessary including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this subsection, conditions requiring or prohibiting the display of signs on or from the vehicle to which the licence relates."

  1. Section 48(6)(a) states;

Subject to the provisions of this part of this Act, no person shall use or permit to be used in a controlled district as a private hire vehicle a vehicle in respect of which a licence has been granted under this section unless the plate or disc issued in accordance with subsection (5) of this section is exhibited on the vehicle in such a manner as the district council shall prescribe by condition attached to the grant of the licence.

  1. Section 48(7) states;

Any person aggrieved by the refusal of a district council to grant a vehicle licence under this section, or by any conditions specified in such a licence, may appeal to a magistrates' court.

  1. Section 75(3) states;

Where a licence under section 48 of this Act is in force for a vehicle, the council which issued the licence, may by a notice in writing given to the proprietor of the vehicle, provide that paragraph (a) of subsection 6 ( refers to the fixing of plates or discs) of that section shall not apply to the vehicle on any occasion specified in the notice or shall not apply when the notice is carried in the vehicle; and on any occasion by virtue of this subsection that paragraph does not apply to a vehicle section 54(2)(a) (the wearing of a badge by the driver) of this Act shall not apply to the driver of the vehicle.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the Council has a statutory duty to consider crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour implications whilst regulating licensing activities. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this Report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Council is obliged to apply its licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Regulatory Services contribute to the Well Being Outcome 1: "An inclusive and Safer Vale and Objective 2 Providing decent homes and safe communities."

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for decision for the Public Protection Licensing Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Homes and Safe Communities

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Yvonne Witchell, Team Manager Licensing 01656 643105

Officers Consulted

Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing

 

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