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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 24/04/2007
Minutes of Licensing & Regulatory Committee - 16/04/07




Licensing and Regulatory Committee 23
16.04.07
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE –
16TH APRIL 2007

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 24TH APRIL 2007
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
Mr L C Bate (Chairman)*Mrs S R Jacobs
*Mr J M Savage (Vice-Chairman)*Mrs J R Keen
*Mr M J Blower*Dr M-G Lane
*Mr M W Byham*Mrs A E Mansell
*Mrs E Cable*Mr W M Marshall
Mr V Duckett*Mr A Rayner
Mr R D Frost*Mr J R Sandy
*Mr P B Isherwood
*Present

45. MINUTES (Agenda Item 1)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13th February 2007 were confirmed and signed.

46. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE (Agenda Item 2)

Apologies for absence was received from Mr L C Bate and Mr V Duckett.

47. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS (Agenda Item 3)

There were no interests raised under this item.
PART I – Recommendations to the Council

48. HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING POLICY – HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVERS’ LICENCES (Appendix A)

48.1 The Committee considered the report which addressed the result and outcome of the consultation process in the first phase of a programme to update the Council's policy guidelines in respect of licensing for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers, vehicles and Private Hire operators. The report also addressed comments received as a result of the consultation with licensees and more widely via the Council’s website.

48.2 The review had been conducted in the light of recent issues identified by officers and took account of best practice of other licensing authorities in Surrey and nationally, and reference had been made to the recently produced Department for Transport Best Practice Guidance note.

48.3 The Committee had submitted proposals to Council on 12th December 2006 for the revised policy, with the exception of the proposal regarding Group 2 medicals. Up-to-date information on insulin dependent diabetics had become available prior to the circulation of proposals and was therefore included in the consultation so that a decision could be made on that matter. At a liaison meeting with the licensees, the consultation document had been considered and licensees’ comments had been included in a matrix for members’ consideration (Annexe 1). Members considered these comments together with the conditions of licences that had been identified for updating or clarification and the changes were shown in bold (see attached at Annexe 2).


48.4 A revised recommendation to Appendix A of the agenda was tabled in respect of the proposal to introduce the Driving Standards Agency test to the wheelchair enhanced standard for all new drivers who intended to drive wheelchair accessible vehicles, and to the ‘saloon’ standard for all other new applicants for private hire and/or hackney carriage driving licences. Drivers who transferred from saloons to wheelchair accessible work would be required to upgrade their qualification by taking the wheelchair module.

48.5 The Committee

10. the introduction of the Group 2 medical standards with immediate effect for all new applicants for Hackney Carriage / Private Hire driver licences, the Group 2 medical to include consideration of exceptional circumstances for insulin dependent diabetics, subject to satisfactory medical report;

11. the introduction of Group 2 medicals with the same proviso for insulin dependent diabetics as above for existing licensees;

12. the amendment to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire driver licence conditions as agreed and shown at Annexe 2, with immediate effect for new drivers and at licence replacement time for the existing licensees;

13. the amendment to the policy for licensing hackney carriage and private hire drivers, as agreed and detailed at Annexe 2;

14. introduction of the Driving Standards Agency test to the wheelchair enhanced standard for all new drivers who drive wheelchair accessible vehicles, and to the ‘saloon’ standard for all other new applicants for private hire and/or hackney carriage driving licences, and that drivers who transfer from saloons to wheelchair accessible work be required to upgrade their qualification by taking the wheelchair module;

15. existing licensees be advised that if they incur more than 6 driving penalty points, the relevant Licensing (Sub) Committee may consider these penalties and require an individual to undertake the DSA taxi test before any licence renewal.

Background Papers (MD)

49. HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE LICENSING POLICY – HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCES (Appendix B)

49.1 The Committee considered the report which addressed the second phase of a programme to update the Council's policy guidelines in respect of licensing for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers, vehicles and Private Hire operators. The report addressed changes which needed to be made in the area of vehicle licensing, and made proposals for consultation to update Waverley’s policy regarding the licensing of hackney carriages (taxis) and private hire vehicles.

49.3 The Council had previously agreed the licence conditions that would apply to vehicle licences. Members discussed the conditions that had been identified by officers for updating or clarification (shown in bold at Annexe 3) and noted that should Council endorse the proposed amendments, any changes to licensing applications and conditions on the licences would be brought to the licensees as the major part of the consultation process, and their comments would be brought back to the Council for further consideration before any decision was taken.

49.4 Regarding the licensing of wheelchair accessible vehicles, the Committee received information on Section 32 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) which provided that the Secretary of State may make regulations for the purpose of ensuring that disabled persons, both in and out of wheelchairs, can access Hackney Carriages safely and be carried in comfort. As no regulations had yet been made under section 32, and Waverley was not yet one of the districts which were obliged to provide a greater number of wheelchair accessible vehicles, Members agreed to defer the proposals relating to the licensing of wheelchair accessible vehicles until more information was available and comparative research undertaken with other local authorities.

49.5 The Committee

RECOMMENDS that the following amendments to vehicle licensing policy and
17. licensed vehicles’ seating capacity (Paragraph 12A Annexe 3) be assessed via both width of the seat as currently, and also defined further by provision of seatbelt provision and safe access/egress, with the Licensing Officer authorised to refuse to include in the licence permission for rear-facing or ‘flip-down’ seats, unless provided in a purpose built hackney carriage, but that any dispute on these matters be brought before the appropriate Licensing Committee for decision;

18. the Licensing Officer be authorised to refuse to license the full seating capacity of any people carrier type vehicle, (Paragraph 12B Annexe 3) or similar, having particular regard to seats in the centre/rear of a vehicle where obstruction of an exit may occur, but that any dispute on these matters be brought before the appropriate Licensing Committee for decision
24. the minimum engine capacity for any licensed vehicle shall around 1600cc (Paragraph 12G Annexe 3)

25. there shall be no additional tint (darkening) of the windows of the licensed vehicle beyond the legal limit of light transmission (not less than 75% for front and side front windows, and 70% for all other windows) or the manufacturer’s specification, whichever is the lesser (conditions at Paragraphs 11/12X Annexe 3);
Background Papers (MD)

50. GAMBLING ACT 2005 (Appendix D)

50.1 The Committee received a report which gave advice from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on setting fees for premises licences within the parameters advised under the Gambling Act 2005.

50.2 Members noted that the first date when applications might be made to Waverley under the Gambling legislation (the First Appointed Day) was 21st May 2007, which had recently been moved forward for the second time. This left Councils as Licensing Authorities with a shorter period (from 21st May to 31st August) to receive and consider applications for conversion and variation to the new premises licences under grandfather rights. These would be made under the transitional arrangements for existing licensed premises, so that they could convert from the old to the new regime as smoothly as possible. The Act comes fully into force as from 1st September 2007 (the Second Appointed Day) which was the date that the first annual fee for premises licences would become payable.

50.3 The Committee noted that fees had to be set for all types of premises licences, even though Waverley did not currently have any casinos, bingo halls, tracks, adult or family gaming centres, as far as the officers were aware. Local Authorities had to set their fees to ensure that the income from the fees as nearly as possible equated to the cost of providing the service, and would be obliged to review the fees annually. The normal principle for licensing fees applied, in that the cost of providing the service should not fall on the Council Tax payer, but should be met by the applicant for the licence.

50.4 The Committee received the figures that identified the anticipated costs to the Council (Annexe 4) and agreed that the costs be recovered at around 60% of the maximum Government permitted level. Annexe 5 showed the 60% fee level in bold for all licences under the Act, together with the maximum fee levels set by the Government, against which the fee had been calculated.

50.5 The Committee

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (MD)

MATTERS OF REPORT

Background Papers (MD)

The background papers relating to the following items in Parts II and III are as specified in the Agenda for the meeting of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee.
PART II – Matters reported in detail for the information of the Council
There are no matters falling within this category.
PART III – Brief Summaries of other matters dealt with

51. PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENSING – APPLICATION TO LICENSE A RANGE ROVER (Appendix C)

51.1 This report addressed a request for a licence for a vehicle that would not necessarily fall within the Council’s revised Licensing Policy on 4-wheel drive vehicles (see Minute 49). It also gave rise to concerns of the officers that this vehicle should be licensed as a Private Hire Vehicle at that time because of problems of access for people with impaired mobility.

51.2 The Committee considered the request and took into account the officers comments. Members noted that this vehicle had previously been licensed in about 2000/01 and the licensee had now approached the Council to licence this and a new Range Rover as a Private Hire Vehicle.

51.3 Members were concerned that this type of vehicle might be difficult for residents with mobility problems to get into and out of. Members also considered that the nature of the work undertaken in the Borough did not require a vehicle of this type and that until officers had looked further into the individual specification of 4 x 4 vehicles to determine their suitability as private hire transport (see Minute 49.4) they were unable to grant a Private Hire Vehicle licence to this vehicle for more than a period of one year, which would enable the licensee to purchase an alternative more suitable vehicle if necessary.



52. MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE LICENSING (GENERAL PURPOSES) SUB-COMMITTEE (Agenda Item 9)

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Licensing (General Purposes) Sub-Committee held on 13th February 2007 be noted.

53. MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS OF THE LICENSING ACT 2003 SUB-COMMITTEE (Agenda Item 10)

RESOLVED that the following Minutes of the Meetings be noted:-

i) Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee ‘A’ (Appendix F) held on 16th February 2007;
ii) Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee ‘E’ (Appendix G) held on 1st March 2007; and
iii) Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee ‘A’ (Appendix H) held on 8th March 2007

There being no matters needing to be dealt with in exempt session, the Chairman declared the meeting closed.

The meeting commenced at 7.00 pm and concluded at 9.01 pm


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