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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Items
No. Item

12.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors D J Baker, R Bryant, P Cutler, P Kelly, B E Read, C J Shippam and R J Wells.

13.

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:

Councillor Hammock confirmed for the record, that he continued to hold a personal Licence [Alcohol] and was a life member of a Trade Association.

14.

Confirmation of Minutes held on 28 November 2013 pdf icon PDF 10 KB

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 28 November 2013 be confirmed as an accurate record.

15.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for consideration.

16.

Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff 2014 pdf icon PDF 12 KB

To note the Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff 2014 attached at Appendix A to the report, as approved by Cabinet on 6 March 2014.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report asked Members to note the Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff 2014 as set-out in Appendix A.

 

Following a ballot of Hackney Carriage Drivers in December 2013, Cabinet agreed on 6 March 2014 an increase of 40p to the Tariff across the mileage, with future tariff increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as published annually each October.

 

Licensing Officers confirmed the following points in response to Member’s questions:

 

·         Drivers were required to have their meters re-calibrated annually as a condition of their licence;

·         Drivers did not need to pass on the tariff increases to passengers however; they could elect to offer a discount on the metered fare at the end of each journey.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

 

1.    That the Committee notes the Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff for April 2014 with a 40 pence increase across the mileage as agreed by Cabinet on 6 March 2014 and set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

2.    That the Committee notes that future tariff increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as published annually in October, to take effect from 1 April 2015 and annually thereafter.

17.

Locally Set Fees Consultation pdf icon PDF 13 KB

That the Committee recommends a response to Cabinet as set out in Appendix B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed that all Members had received the ‘to-follow’ report for Item 6 – Locally Set Fees Consultation – not included in the original agenda papers.

 

The report asked the Committee to recommend to Cabinet for endorsement, the Licensing Authority’s response to the Home Office’s Locally Set Fee Consultation exercise [Appendix A] as set out in Appendix B to the report.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer advised Members that the current Licensing fees were set in 2005 on a national basis. The Home Office consultation as set out at Appendix A; sought the views of local authorities to move from a centrally-set to a locally-set fees regime, under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. The SLO emphasised two key points in the Home Office proposals aimed at reassuring fee payers:

 

·         Caps (or highest permitted fee level) would be set by the Government for each fee category;

·         Agreement in due course for a Single National Payment Date for annual fees for premises licences and club premises certificates. This would assist multiple licence holders in particular who, under the current arrangements, pay annual fees on the anniversary of the date each licence was issued.

 

The Licensing Authority’s response to the consultation is contained at pages 55 – 64 of the agenda document.

 

The Chairman expressed only one slight reservation over the Officer comments in regard to Question 22 [agenda page 61]. He asked that this be re-worded and the term ‘usually’ excluded from the final response, to avoid any public doubt or confusion.

 

The SLO acknowledged this point.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

 

1.    That the Committee recommends to Cabinet for endorsement, the Licensing Authority’s response to the Locally Set Fee Consultation, as set out at Appendix B to the report, subject to the re-wording of Officer’s comments in response to Question 22 [as detailed above].

 

18.

Review of draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy & Consultation Process pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider the Trade response to the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The report asked the Committee to consider the response received from the Trade (Appendix A) to the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy (the Policy) as set out at Appendix B and to adopt the Policy.

 

The Head of Legal Services advised Members that the draft Policy was a comprehensive document, with extensive updates as detailed in the ‘tracked’ version of Appendix B to ensure fitness for purpose and compliance with legislation. The majority of the Trades’ comments had been addressed. The Trades continuing concerns with the proposed Penalty Points Scheme (Appendix M) and the Council’s response were contained in the tabled ‘bundle’ of correspondence presented to Members that evening.

 

Initial Member discussion of the Policy focussed on the minimum twelve (12) month driving qualification period for drivers applying for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle licences as set out in the draft Policy paragraph 15.4.1 [agenda page 143].

 

Some Members expressed concern that holding a standard GB licence for only 12 months prior to applying for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle licence was insufficient. They noted in this respect that other Kent licensing authorities and the Metropolitan authority, required drivers to have a minimum of 36 months driving experience before applying for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle licence and proposed that the Council also adopt a 36 month minimum criteria and review the minimum age requirement of 21 years [paragraph 24.1.1 of the draft Policy (agenda pages 149/50)].

 

The Senior Licensing Officer advised that raising the minimum driving licence requirement to 36 months could disadvantage older applicants seeking to re-train as Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle licence holders. There was also the question of compatibility with EU legislation and the need to consider linkage to the minimum age requirement.

 

The Head of Legal Services confirmed that the specific changes being proposed by Members would constitute a Substantial Amendment(s) to the draft Policy, requiring a further period of consultation with the Trade. The SLO advised that some 8 – 12 weeks would be required for further consultation with the Trades. Members had no concerns with the remainder of the draft Policy as set out in Appendix B.

 

The Chairman sought a more detailed explanation of requirement HC12 regarding the suitability of Hackney Carriage Vehicles, as set out in Appendix A – ‘Vehicle Age & Other Specifications’ [agenda page 161].

 

The SLO advised that the requirements set out in HC12 reflected the advice given by the relevant Department for Transport body – VOSA [Vehicle Operator Services Agency]. M1 or M1 low volume certificates were issued to Hackney Carriages vehicles pre-registration, based on Agency testing of prototype model engines; subsequent conversions to the cabs of individual vehicles was covered by the issue of a Basic IVA [Individual Approval Scheme] certificate on registration.

 

In further discussion, Members agreed Recommendations 2.3 to 2.5 as set out in paragraphs 3.5.2 to 3.5.4 of the report respectively to; dispense with the Code of Good Conduct, accept the Use of Proxies  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.