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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee Tuesday 1st December 2015

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing Services

 

 

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 Justin Lewis to be exempt from the requirement to display a licence plate and door stickers on his Private Hire Vehicle.

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:-

  • grant an exemption from either, or both, conditions 8 and 9 relating to Private Hire vehicles to Mr Lewis in respect of Private Hire vehicle No. PH057 registration LUW 1S, instructing that the required notice be given to the applicant, or;
  • refuse the application 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.

Reasons for the Recommendations

To advise Members of the options available to them.

Background

  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. In Section 75 of the Act there is a provision for an exemption for the requirement for the plate to be displayed in certain circumstances. The exemption applies to the following;
  • While the vehicle is being used in connection with a funeral
  • While the vehicle is being used in connection with a wedding
  • When the vehicle is being used under a contract for a period of 24 hours or more
  • On any occasion specified in a written notice from the licensing authority given to the proprietor
  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 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.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Mr Justin Lewis is the proprietor of Mercedes CLS 250 CDI registration LUW 1S, date of first registration 29th June 2013. The vehicle is licensed as Private Hire vehicle number PH098.
  2. The vehicle was first licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle on 6th November 2015.
  3. On 12th November 2015, having made enquiries regarding the requirement for door stickers and plates to be attached to his vehicle, Mr Lewis submitted a request to have the matter considered by the Licensing Committee. A copy of the request is attached at Appendix A to this Report.
  4. Mr Lewis then forwarded further information in support of his request to which he would like the Committee to give consideration. The additional information is attached at Appendix B to this Report.
  5. Mr Lewis has advised officers that his business model is to offer an executive hire operation rather than the traditional private hire business where the public would come to expect a liveried vehicle.
  6. Current private hire legislation does not distinguish between the different types of business model and the Council has therefore adopted standard conditions relating to displaying a plate and door stickers in order to ensure public safety.

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 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. To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meet legislative requirements, controlling infectious diseases, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare. To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Yvonne Witchell, for Operational Manager Neighbourhood Services 01656 643105

Officers Consulted

Richard Price, Lawyer, Legal Services 01446 709409

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services

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