Agenda item

Application for a Grant of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

Cllr Armes declared a personal interest by virtue of having used taxis in Thetford driven by the appellant and the supporter who accompanied him.

 

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant, Principal Licensing Officer, Licensing Officer, Assistant Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures to the appellant. 

 

The Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the grant of a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence in accordance with Section 37 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and Section 47 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The appellant had been a taxi driver prior to 2008, and not as recorded in the report.  The appellant stated he  started driving in 1998.

 

The Licensing Officer explained for the benefit of Members that Application Packs were sent out by the Contact Centre with Guidance Notes, the Licensing Policy was available online and advice was given to applicants to consult with Licensing Officers. He read out the content of a file note dated 16 November 2011 following a telephone call from the appellant.

 

The appellant stated as he was aware of 7 vehicles with tinted glass already in the area he felt there was no reason not to go ahead and purchase the vehicle, as his tint was no more than those.  There was nothing to state that he had to bring the vehicle into the Licensing Authority.   He advised he only found out about the Authority’s policy after he had purchased the vehicle.

 

The appellant tabled at the meeting a letter received by him on 6 January 2012 from the Customer Relations Department at Toyota with regard to the make and model of his vehicle and the legal requirement of the percentage of light through the different windows, all of which his own vehicle complied with.  The letter was read out to the Committee by the Chairman.  The Licensing Officer had not seen the letter or had been given prior notification of it.

 

The supporter of the appellant questioned whether Breckland Council could obtain a light device to measure tints, as used by the Police.  The Licensing Officer commented that a device of that nature was actively being looked into.  The appellant made reference to a vehicle advert consisting of 10 cars, 8 of which all had tinted glass.

 

Work undertaken by the appellant mainly consisted of airport runs and some railway rank work.  He did not undertake any school contracts, and ceased night work six years ago.

 

 

 

The vehicle was inspected by the Committee.

 

Having heard all the evidence, the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  The Solicitor explained that it was important that the Committee was satisfied whether the vehicle in question fell within the requirements of the Licensing Policy.

 

After considering the matter the Committee returned.

 

The Solicitor advised the following findings of fact :

 

1.                  The appellant had initial contact with Licensing Officers over the Council’s existing policy on tinted windows prior to purchasing the vehicle

2.                  Officers presented the report to the Committee on the basis of the Authority’s current policy on tinted windows

3.                  The appellant had produced a certificate with regard to the factual situation in connected with the tinted window policy

4.                  On evidence provided, the appellant’s vehicle complied technically with the existing policy on tinted windows

5.                  The vehicle was inspected by Members of the Committee; however the Committee on inspecting the vehicle had grave concerns with regard to the high level of obscurity in the glass

 

RESOLVED to grant a Hackney Carriage vehicle licence, however in doing so, given Members were concerned that safety issues should remain paramount when licensing all vehicles in the Breckland District, and in granting the licence, a condition was imposed that the vehicle was not to be used for school contracts or by unaccompanied children under the age of 16.

 

The reason for the condition was due to the safety of those using that particular vehicle and safety remaining paramount within the Breckland district.

 

The appellant suggested that he might change some of the tinted windows/glass panels, which the Chairman thought to be a very good compromise.  He was advised that if he wished the condition to be removed, he would need to contact the Licensing Authority and re-present the vehicle for their inspection. It was made clear to him, that until that time, the vehicle was to be used with the condition imposed.