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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors; A Bardoe, P Cutler, E J Lampkin and B E Read.

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor D Baker to the Licensing Committee following his recent bi-election success (Newtown Ward) and his subsequent nomination to the Committee by his Group Leader. The Chairman also thanked Councillor Swinerd for his contribution to the Committee over the preceding two years. Councillor Swinerd was attending his final Licensing Committee following the nomination of Councillor Baker [on grounds of political balance].

 

The Member Services Officer confirmed that Councillor Baker had received the required licensing training from the Head of Legal Services the previous day and that a training day was being negotiated with Councillor Cutler, to enable him to participate and consider applications at Licensing Sub-Committee Panels.

 

The Chairman noted that some Committee members still required the necessary training to participate in Sub-Committee hearings and undertook to follow this point up with the Head of Legal Services.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary or prejudicial interest. Councillor Hammock asked that it be noted that he still held a publican’s licence.

3.

Confirmation of Minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2012 pdf icon PDF 17 KB

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 19 December 2012 be confirmed as an accurate record.

4.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items notified for consideration.

5.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Review pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report detailed the results of the review of the Dartford Borough Council Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, together with a list of recommended amendments (Appendix A). The report recommended that the Licensing Committee:

 

·         endorse the proposed amendments to the existing Policy (Appendix A);

·         approve a consultation exercise with the hackney carriage and private vehicle hire trade on the results of the Policy review;

·         extend the duration of the existing Policy from 31 July to 5 December 2013 to allow for an 8 week trade consultation process; and

·         receive a final revised Policy document including a review of licensing forms and conditions (following the proposed trade consultation), at a further meeting of the Committee on 28 November 2013.

 

The Chairman explained that the proposed amendments to the existing Policy (summarised at Appendix A) were the result of a great deal of hard work and investigation by Officers, including the Head of Legal Services. He did not envisage Members making any major changes to the proposed amendments prior to the trade consultation exercise, but advised that he had received a list of points from Councillor Bardoe [absent on other Council business] for discussion by the Committee that evening, together with the report.  

 

The Senior Licensing Officer advised that Councillor Bardoe had also been in direct contact with the Licensing team, detailing his suggestions for the proposed Policy amendments summarised at Appendix A. She suggested that the Committee examine each proposed Policy amendment in detail, rather than receive a summary of the report and then return to individual amendments.

 

The Chairman accepted this proposal and advised that he would introduce Councillor Bardoe’s comments as they became pertinent during the discussion.

 

Members and Officers discussed the following areas of the Policy review in detail:

 

Tariff Review [Item 5 agenda p 6 para 3.6 – 3.12]

 

Officers explained that the current tariff to calculate the cost of a journey is set in both metres and yards and that at present companies adopted both measurements to calculate individual fares. The Dartford running mile cost is presently calculated at £2.148 (tariff 1) and £2.86 (tariff 2) with a cost unit of 20p. However, meters cannot display running mile costs for journeys which do not divide equally into minutes/seconds. As a consequence, meter readings for tariff 1 and tariff 2 can be displayed as £2.20 and £3.00 respectively; a process known as ‘creeping-up’ the fare, which can result in customers being over-charged. The Policy amendment proposed a more easily calculated tariff rate per mile displayed only in yards (or its equivalent fraction of a mile) with measurements in metres being scrapped. Officers advised that adopting a yards only tariff would not result in fare increases.

Members were advised that the final part of the fare calculation is based on “waiting” time. When a vehicle is travelling below a minimum mph figure the meter stops and a clock takes over, costing that part of the journey in minutes/seconds.  Again, difficulties arise over the calculation of “waiting”  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.