Agenda and minutes

Licensing and Safety Committee
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 6.00pm

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Stephen Platt, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

702.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Fearn, Godwin and Kemp.  

703.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 28 October 2015.

Minutes:

The  record of the meeting held on 28 October 2015 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct.

704.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons. 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none. 

705.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report. 

Minutes:

There were none. 

706.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The purpose of this report is to ask the Committee to comment on the draft policy on taxi licencing and make recommendations to Full Council for approval on 25 February 2016.

Minutes:

 

Discussion:

 

The Committee considered a report on the draft policy in respect of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing. Members were requested to comment on the draft policy and make recommendations to Full Council on 25 February 2016 at which meeting the policy would be considered for approval.

 

The Licensing and Local Land Charges Manager advised the Committee that in March 2015 the views of the taxi trade and the public had been sought and these, together with existing documentation and processes followed, current legislation, case law and guidance, were used to aid the drafting of the proposed policy.

 

The consultation process had been undertaken between 12 October 2015 and 8 January 2016 and was advertised in the local press, on the Council’s website, at community hubs and at Gun Wharf reception. In addition, letters or emails containing the web-link to the draft policy were sent to all Ward Councillors and Members of Parliament for Medway, Clerks to Parish Councils, driver and operator licence holders, and Town Centre Managers. A copy of the draft policy was also placed on deposit at Gun Wharf reception for inspection.

 

The Licensing and Local Land Charges Manager drew Members’ attention to the following aspects of the draft policy:

 

  • The section on stretched limousines had been amended in line with Department of Transport best practice guidelines.
  • At Appendix A on vehicle specifications, the section on tinted windows had been amended following visits to vehicle main dealers and discussions with the Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (MLTDA).
  • At Appendices B and C on vehicle conditions, the wording had been improved and, for hackney carriage vehicles, to remove duplication with the content of the byelaws at Appendix H.
  • At Appendix F on application procedures, the reference to ‘VRQ/NVQ certificate’ should be replaced with ‘any relevant certificates’.
  • At Appendix G on relevance of convictions to applications, the draft policy included both the original and alternative wording for the process to be followed and Members’ preference was sought.
  • At Appendix J on private hire driver licence conditions, the seating arrangements had been amended to be consistent with the wording on tariff cards, as requested by the MLTDA.

 

Members noted the number of responses to the consultation which referred to vehicles operating within Medway that were licensed by a different Licensing Authority and sought clarification on a number of issues. Members were advised that the driver of a non-Medway taxi (hackney carriage or private hire) picking up a passenger who had hailed the vehicle was committing an offence and should be reported to the Licensing Unit.  However, under case law, a non-Medway hackney carriage vehicle could be used for bookings made with a Medway operator. Operators had advised that they were employing non-Medway drivers to ensure the availability of vehicles at all times. 

 

On the issue of accessibility set out at section 2.2 of the policy, Members were advised that no complaints had been received about insufficient numbers of wheelchair accessible vehicles but the Licencing Unit would keep the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 706.