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Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Public Protection Licensing Committee: 6 March 2018

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Request for Exemption from Conditions 8 and 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Conditions Attached to Private Hire Vehicles -          PH 198 Ford Tourneo 8 Seater Minibus CN65 YBA and PH 207 Jaguar XF SIG 6299

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To consider a request by Mr. Mohammad Imran Miah to be exempt from the requirement to display door stickers on two Private Hire Vehicles. Private Hire 198 and Private Hire 207
  2. To also consider a request by Mr. Miah to be exempt from having the Private Hire Licence Plate permanently affixed to the outer rear of the vehicle's bodywork or to the rear bumper with the fixing kit supplied by the Licensing Authority.
  3. Officers are not delegated the authority to issue a Private Hire Vehicle Licence other than in accordance with Standard Conditions 8 and 9 above.   

Recommendations

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:-

  • Allow an exemption from condition 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions attached to Private Hire vehicles, to Mr. Miah in respect of his application.

and/or

  • Allow an exemption from condition 8 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions attached to Private Hire vehicles, to Mr. Miah in respect of his application.

or

  • Refuse one or both the requests giving full reasons for their decision.

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.

Members are advised that when a vehicle is licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle, the type of hire that is undertaken cannot be controlled and as such it will not be restricted to any particular type of work.  There is no distinction between travel work, touring, executive hire or a pre-booked private hire fare to a hospital or supermarket. 

Reason for the Recommendations

To advise Members of the options available to them.

Background

  1. Condition number 8 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles states that, the licence identification plate must be permanently affixed to the outer rear of the vehicle's bodywork or to the rear bumper with the fixing kit supplied by the Licensing Authority at the proprietor's own expense.  The Licence Plate must be clearly visible to the driver of a following vehicle and must not obscure the registration plate of the vehicle.
  2. The rationale in relation to this condition is that the Licence Plate cannot be easily removed from the vehicle by an unknown individual and used unlawfully. The fixing kits supplied by the Council allow for the Licence Plate to fit flush to the vehicle thus preventing protruding Licence Plate holders causing injury to passengers or members of the public.   
  3. Condition number 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions for Private Hire Vehicles states that, The proprietor and/or driver shall at all times ensure that there shall be clearly displayed on the centre or upper part of each front door of the vehicle, the adhesive private hire identification sticker supplied by the Licensing Authority.  The stickers must be permanently fixed to each door with the identification sticker's adhesive backing.
  4. The rationale in relation to this condition is that members of the public can clearly identify Licensed Private Hire Vehicles from both the rear and the side of the vehicle. The door stickers also clearly advises that Private Hire vehicles must be pre booked, the stickers also display the licence number, this aids both the public and the Licensing section with regard to enforcement. 

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. On 5th February 2018, Mr. Miah sent a letter requesting exemption from Conditions 8 and 9 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Conditions attached to Private Hire Vehicles.  The request (with personal data removed) is as follows:

I have a proposal to make to the Committee. Before I make my proposal let me introduce myself;  my name is Mohammad Imran Miah of [], I am an operator under the name Airport Link OP026.  The reason why I have written this letter is to request that I may have permission to remove the door stickers on PH198 and PH207. PH198 is a 2015 Jaguar XF and PH207 is a 2015 Ford Tourneo custom minibus. Both of these vehicles are used for airport transfer work. We are getting requests for executive vehicles and customers specifically ask for executive class vehicles.  The door stickers take away the executive look of the vehicles and make them look like normal taxis.  We actually lost a job for the Anthony Joshua fight due to the vehicle looking more like a taxi than an executive vehicle. There is nothing wrong with the door stickers in normal private hire use but for the services we offer which involve airport transfer, day tours and chauffeur service the vehicles do not match other companies offering executive services. So with that in mind I would like to ask the Committee if they would allow me to run these vehicles without the door stickers. I would also like to ask the Committee if they would allow removal of the rear plate just for VIP and chauffeur bookings pre-booked fares, so possible a plate holder for normal transfer work which is easily removed for VIP and chauffeur bookings.  Thank you for your time.

  1. As highlighted above, current private hire vehicle legislation does not distinguish between the different types of business model that Mr. Miah describes.  Standard conditions relating to displaying door stickers apply to all Private Hire vehicle licences.
  2. Members have requested a report detailing a policy for Executive Hire vehicles which is being prepared, but Members are requested to determine this application on its merits; and if minded to approve the request, specify that the approval is to be non-transferrable and relating to the above-mentioned vehicles only.

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(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 01446 709478

Officers Consulted

Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing