Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Rooms, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

19.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2015.

Minutes:

Subject to the following two amendments:

 

·        the final paragraph (before the Resolution) on page 2 to read ‘…Members were agreed that the Applicant was a fit …’

·        reason 3 for the decision on page 4 to read ‘… the Applicant had been working in their capacity as…’

 

the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

20.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Askew who had been delayed in traffic.  He arrived at 10.08 at the start of Agenda Item 6.

21.

Urgent Business (Agenda Item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.

Minutes:

None.

22.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 

 

In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

23.

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda Item 5)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

24.

Objection into the Making of a Tree Preservation Order (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Objection into the making of Tree Preservation Order 2014 No.11 - Mundford

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Tree & Countryside Officer presented the report which concerned a tree in the Conservation Area of Mundford.  He had been notified of an intention to fell the tree and had visited site and determined that the tree had a high amenity value.  The only option to save the tree had been to place a Tree Preservation Order on it, which had been done in November 2014.  That TPO would lapse in May 2015 if it was not confirmed by the Committee.

 

The applicant had applied to fell the tree because he was concerned that it was causing damage to the adjacent flint well.  The Historic Buildings Officer had been consulted and in his opinion it was possible to repair the wall whilst retaining the tree.  That opinion was disputed by the applicant whose own consultant had advised that the wall could not be repaired and would eventually fall over.

 

The tree was a Yew and it was unusual for such trees to be planted on street frontages.  It was judged to be about 100 years old and expected to live for a very long time.

 

Councillor Armes asked if there was any way that the roots of the tree could be curtailed to prevent further damage to the wall, but that was not possible.  The Historic Buildings Officer had suggested removing a section of the wall and putting a ‘bridge’ in and filling in beneath.

 

It was confirmed that the tree was not likely to grow much taller but the girth would increase.  It was accepted that the tree was causing the wall to lean.

 

Members discussed the options and felt that the amenity value of the tree outweighed the amenity value of the wall, which they considered could be repaired or replaced.

 

RESOLVED that Tree preservation Order 2014 No 11 be confirmed.

 

 

25.

Deregulation Bill 2014 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To receive the report of Assistant Director Community.

 

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer presented the report which updated Members on changes to legislation.  The De-regulation Bill had recently received Royal Assent and a commencement date was awaited.  The legislation was now known as the De-regulation Act 2015.

 

The main changes were alterations to the duration of licences for drivers and changes to the sub-contracting regulations.  They were set out in paragraphs 1.3 to 1.8 of the report. 

 

Concern was raised about the lack of details regarding sub-contracting.  It was expected that central government would issue guidance but another option would be to attach a condition, if the Council saw fit, requiring records to be kept, etc.

 

Although sub-contracting occurred already it could only be done between taxis that were licensed by the same authority.  Under the new legislation it would be acceptable to sub-contract to a firm licensed by another authority.  That raised concerns about where responsibility would lie if there were problems or complaints.

 

It was confirmed that the Council could apply conditions to new and existing licences requiring record keeping, as long as they were justified and proportionate.  However, if Members were minded to impose such conditions it would be good to carry out consultation first. 

 

It was noted that the Council’s Taxi Policy had been adopted in 2007 and would be reviewed once the new legislation commenced.  The Chairman pointed out that it was the General Purposes Committee that set the Policy but she thought that a condition requiring record-keeping of sub-contracted jobs should be applied after consultation with the Taxi operators.

 

RESOLVED that the proposed changes to Private Hire and Hackney Carriage legislation be noted; and

 

RECOMMEND TO GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE that when the legislation came into force a condition should be introduced to ensure that records of sub-contracted work were kept.

 

The Licensing Officer said that she would check to see if the taxi companies currently kept records of any sub-contracted work.

26.

Hearing Procedures (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

27.

Application for amendment to Private Hire Vehicle licence (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 9 MB

Report of the Assistant Director Community.

 

Minutes:

This application had been withdrawn by the Applicant.  The vehicle would remain licensed to carry seven passengers.

28.

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda Item 10)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they are likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1, 2 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.

 

PART B

ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

29.

Application for suspension or revocation of private hire / hackney carriage drivers licence (Agenda Item 11)

Report of the Assistant Director Community.

 

Minutes:

The Committee heard the application in accordance with the Council’s agreed procedures.

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the Applicant, a Licensing Officer and Mr L Parker, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures.

 

The Licensing Officer presented the report which asked Members to consider whether a driver was a fit and proper person to continue to hold a Hackney Carriage / Private Hire drivers’ licence in view of their conviction for a motoring offence.

 

The Chairman sought clarification of the date of conviction and it was confirmed that the driver had been away on holiday at the time of the conviction and sentencing had been adjourned to a later date so that they could be present.  The Council had been notified of the offence, by the driver, shortly after that.

 

The Applicant explained the circumstances of the incident which had led to the conviction.  He had been given five penalty points on his licence and a fine and had paid the insurance excess.

 

Additional information had been provided by a customer stressing the important role that the driver played in providing transport for a special needs child.

 

The Applicant and the Licensing Officers were asked to leave the room whilst the Committee made their deliberation. They were later invited back to hear the Committee’s decision.

 

The Chairman advised the Applicant that it was the Committee’s view that he had been sufficiently punished already by the fine, points and payment of the excess.  However, they did not take the offence lightly and warned the Applicant to be very careful when driving in future.

 

RESOLVED to take no further action.

 

 

30.

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 12)

To note that the date of the next meeting has been changed to Wednesday, 17 June 2015.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting to be held at 10.00am on 17 June 2015 in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham were noted.

 

 

The Chairman was aware that Councillors Armes, Askew and North would not be standing for re-election.  She thanked them for their help and work on the Committee.