Licensing Committee Minutes

Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday 5 October 2015
Time:
1:00 p.m.
Place:
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor B E Taylor (Chair), Councillor J A Walker (Vice Chair); Councillor R Arundale, Councillor S Biswas, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor T Lawton, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor D McCabe and Councillor G Purvis.
Observers:
A Symon - Legal Services, Middlesbrough Council.
Officers:
C Cunningham, J Dixon and T Hodgkinson.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor T Mawston and Councillor J Rathmell.
Declarations of interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
15/37 MINUTES - LICENSING COMMITTEE - 7 SEPTEMBER 2015

The Minutes of the previous Licensing Committee held on 7 September 2015 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

15/38 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC.

ORDERED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

EXEMPT
Report of Assistant Director - Improving Public Health
15/39 REVIEW OF COMBINED PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE/HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE: REF. NO. 34/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 34/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting accompanied by his wife, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to a complaint received from a member of the public regarding the driver.

 

It was noted that the driver was first licensed with the Council in February 2008 and first appeared before Members in January 2009 in relation to a complaint regarding his behaviour. On that occasion Members allowed the driver to retain his licence but issued him with a warning.

 

The driver next appeared before Committee in November 2010 in relation to the offence detailed at 1) in the report. Members allowed him to retain his licence but warned him that any further such incidents would result in him returning to Committee for review of his licence.

 

The driver last appeared before Members in May 2013, following receipt of information from the Police Notifiable Occupations Scheme. He was permitted to retain his licence on that occasion.

 

The driver now appeared before Members following a complaint submitted by a member of the public alleging that the driver had overcharged her for a journey undertaken in a private hire vehicle being driven by the driver on 13 June 2015. A copy of the letter of complaint was attached at Appendix 1. The applicant was interviewed by a Licensing Enforcement Officer on 22 July 2015 and provided his version of events in relation to the incident. A copy was attached at Appendix 2. Licensing Officers had investigated the complaint with the driver’s vehicle operator and Officers were very concerned that the driver had provided different versions of events to Licensing Officers and his vehicle operator.

 

When interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer, the driver was informed that the vehicle operator had stated that the driver had not called in for an amended fare. The driver had responded that he had encountered previous problems with his operator in relation to information passed to him regarding fares.

 

The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.

 

The driver addressed the Committee and provided his version of events in relation to the complaint and responded to questions from Members and the Principal Licensing Officer.

 

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver, his wife, and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the review.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that consideration of the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence be deferred to the Licensing Committee scheduled for 2 November 2015 in order for Licensing Officers to make enquiries and seek clarification with the driver’s operator in relation to the issues raised by the driver at the meeting, namely:-

  • How any additional charges for different waiting times or additional drop offs are relayed to drivers by the operator.
  • Obtain confirmation of the statement that the driver told the operator that he had charged £7.00 for the fare, which contradicted what he had told officers and the complainant’s statement that he had charged £12.00.
     
15/40 REVIEW OF COMBINED PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE/HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE: REF. NO. 33/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 33/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offence detailed at 1) in the submitted report.

 

The driver was first licensed with the Council in April 2006. The driver now appeared before Members in relation to the offence detailed at 1) and his subsequent failure to report the conviction to the Council within seven days, as specified by condition on his licence. It was highlighted that the driver had not previously appeared before the Licensing Committee and Council records showed that no complaints had been received in relation to his behaviour or standard of driving.

 

The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 27 August 2015 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed that he was in the process of paying off the fine and costs imposed as a result of the conviction at 1) and offered an explanation in relation to the offence at 1).

 

The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.

 

The driver addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members.

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the review.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 33/15, be retained but that the driver be issued with a warning in relation to his future conduct.

 

The driver was reminded of the requirement, by condition on his licence, to report any offences within seven days to the Licensing Section.
 

15/41 APPLICATION FOR PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF. NO. 32/15

The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 32/15, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.

 

The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant, who was in attendance at the meeting, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.

 

The Senior Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to the offences detailed at 1) and 2) in the submitted report.

 

The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 27 August 2015 at which time he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware, confirmed all fines and costs had been paid in relation to the offences and offered explanations in relation to the offences at 1) and 2).

 

The applicant confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.

 

The applicant presented the case in support of his application and responded to questions from Members.

It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the applicant and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Council’s Legal Services and Members’ Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.

 

Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committee’s decision.

 

ORDERED that the application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 32/15, be granted.

 

In making its decision, the Committee decided to depart from the Council’s Policy Guidance on convictions - which stated that an applicant with more than one conviction for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol would normally be refused until a period of at least 5-10 years had elapsed, free from major motoring convictions and drunken incidents, since the DVLA licence was restored or completion of any sentence imposed or treatment, whichever was the later - for the following reasons:_

  1. The Committee acknowledged that the applicant was on the borderline of being free of drunken incidents/major motoring convictions for the minimum five year period.
  2. The Committee recognised that the applicant had taken an active role, in a voluntary capacity, within the NHS relating to alcohol abuse and had worked with people who had alcohol problems.
  3. The Committee also acknowledged that the applicant had been alcohol free since 2008.
  4. Whilst the Committee noted the seriousness of the offences at 2) in the report, it had taken into consideration the circumstances surrounding the offence.
     
15/42 ANY OTHER URGENT ITEMS WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE CHAIR MAY BE CONSIDERED.

 
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