The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Licensing Committee 6th November 2012
Report of the Director of Development Services
Proposed Amendment to the Vale of Glamorgan's Age Policy Guidelines for Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licences
Purpose of the Report
1. To ask Committee to consider an amendment to Age Policy Guidelines in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles to permit the grant of a licence to ambulance mini bus type vehicles that are older than the policy currently allows.
After careful consideration of the facts of this Report and after hearing any representations the Taxi Association Members or the Council's Fleet Manager may make, the Committee's instructions are requested in respect of this matter. Members may wish to consider the following options:-
THAT the proposal to adopt a new classification of vehicle relating to minibuses with an automated wheelchair access lift be adopted as shown at Appendix A to this Report.
THAT the upper age limit at which a licence will be granted in respect of minibuses with an automated wheelchair access lift be adopted as shown at Appendix A to this Report.
THAT should Members resolve to adopt the policy as shown at Appendix A to this Report, that a condition be attached to all Prestige Three type vehicle licenses, stating that an automated wheelchair access lift must remain fitted to the vehicle.
THAT the proposals are rejected and the current policy, as shown at Appendix B to this Report, be reaffirmed.
Reason for the Recommendations
2. To ensure that applications for Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles are considered on an equitable basis in all cases, and to maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.
3. Under Section 47(1) and 48(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 a Local Authority have discretionary powers to attach such conditions to Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licences as considered reasonably necessary.
4. On 1st June 2011 the Licensing Committee approved Age Policy Guidelines for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licences. These are attached at Appendix B to this Report.
Relevant Issues and Options
5. At the Taxi Consultative Panel Meeting of 29th August 2012, Mr Chris Mort, proprietor of C.J. Contract Travel, made a request that an amendment to the Age Policy Guidelines in respect of ambulance mini buses be considered.
6. On 30th August 2012 the Licensing Section received a message from Mr Steve Thomas on behalf of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, in support of Mr Mort's request. A copy of the message is attached at Appendix C to this Report.
7. The Vale of Glamorgan Council's Director of Visible Services and Housing was consulted in relation to the Trade Association's request. A copy of the Council's Director of Visible Services and Housing's recommendation is attached at Appendix D to this Report.
8. Should Members allow the Age Policy Guidelines to be amended in respect of this matter, it is proposed that to qualify for the extended upper age limit the vehicles must be 8 seat mini buses fitted with an automated wheelchair access lift and be under 10 years old to be granted a licence.
9. It is further proposed that once a licensed vehicle of this type becomes over 10 years old, the vehicle is subjected to testing every 4 months, in line with the current Age Policy Guidelines.
10. Should Members allow the Age Policy Guidelines to be amended in respect of this matter, it is also proposed that the vehicles will not continue to be licensed if the automated wheelchair access lift is removed from the vehicle.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
11. 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
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
13. Section 47(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states;
A district council may attach to the grant of a hackney carriage under the Act of 1847 such conditions as the district council may consider reasonably necessary.
14. Section 48(1) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states: -
Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, a district council may on receipt of an application from the proprietor of any vehicle for the grant in respect of such vehicle of a licence to use the vehicle as a private hire vehicle, grant in respect thereof a vehicle licence: -
Provided that a district council shall not grant such a licence unless they are satisfied-
(a) that the vehicle is-
(i) suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire vehicle;
(ii) not of such design and appearance as to lead any person to believe that the vehicle is a hackney carriage;
(iii) in a suitable mechanical condition;
(iv) safe; and
15. Section 48(2) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 states: -
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.
16. Hyndburn Borough Council ex p Abdul Rauf, ex p Halim Kasim. The High Court held that it was possible, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to impose the condition on the grant of a licence that no licence would be granted to a vehicle that was over a specified age.
Crime and Disorder Implications
17. 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. The Licensing Authority is committed to reducing crime, disorder and anti social behaviour across the Vale of Glamorgan. Reducing crime and the fear of crime is important to the community, especially vulnerable members of the community such as the very young and elderly.
18. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this Report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
19. The Council is obliged to apply its Licensing conditions on an equitable basis in the case of all applications.
20. To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious disease, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare.
21. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.
Policy Framework and Budget
22. The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy Framework and Budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
23. The Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Consultative Panel
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
24. Housing and Public Protection.
Alun Billinghurst, Head of Public Protection. 01446 709105
25. Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing.
Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services.