Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

15.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2012.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2012 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

16.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Cllr Armes, Cllr W Richmond was present as her substitute.

17.

Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in the following items on the agenda.

 

The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial interest. 

Minutes:

Cllr Duffield declared a  personal interest in Agenda Item 9 by virtue of having had business contact with the appellant.

 

Cllr Sherwood declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 11 by virtue of being Chairman of the Licensing Committee.

 

Cllr Sherwood declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 13 by virtue of knowing the family of the appellant.

 

 

18.

Hearing Procedures pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

The procedures were noted.

19.

Exclusion of Press and Public

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 item of business on the grounds that it is 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”.

Minutes:

RESOLVED 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 were likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

20.

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied by his wife, the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures to the appellant.  The appellant confirmed he had received all relevant documentation.

 

Tiffany Bentley, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to the incurrence of a motoring conviction, the failure to notify the Licensing Authority of that conviction and the use of a mobile phone whilst driving a vehicle. 

 

The principal consideration was whether the safety of the public might be at risk through the appellant’s driving and possibly evasive behaviour in not disclosing his motoring offences.

 

She tabled a letter to Members received by her that morning from the appellant dated 10 June 2011, advising the Licensing Team that he had received a fixed penalty on his licence in respect of the offence of driving his personal vehicle whilst talking on his mobile phone.  She was confident that the letter had not been received by Breckland Council prior to the date of the hearing, as had it have been received, it would have been included as an Appendix to the report.  The hearing would still have taken place even if the letter from the appellant had been received advising them of his motoring conviction. 

 

The appellant stated his date of birth was 13 May 1954 and not as stated in the report.  He explained he had contested the conviction. Whilst he admitted to Members it was not a safe procedure, he explained he was listening to an MP3 file in his open topped sports car and had the phone propped up against his ear with both hands on the steering wheel.  He agreed it was an offence, but he had not actively been engaged in a phone conversation. 

 

He had written and posted a letter to the Licensing Team on 10 June 2011 advising them he had received a fixed penalty.  He had done everything he could to remain in compliance with the Authority’s regulations and complied completely with them. The first he had been notified of the Licensing Team’s concern was when he provided his driving licence to them.  He was made aware of the hearing date on 21 January 2012.  He had offered to send in his letter dated 10 June 2011, and could have done that anytime between June 2011 and when he provided his licence in January 2012, but the Licensing Team had chosen not to avail themselves of the letter.  He was a confident PC user and could prove the date and time he had written the letter.  He had undertaken the necessary corrective action to avoid any further incidences of the same nature, by having had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

Cllr  Duffield declared a personal interest by virtue of having had business contact with the appellant.

 

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied by his partner, the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

The Chairman made introductions and explained the procedures to the appellant.  The appellant confirmed he had received all relevant documentation.

 

Tiffany Bentley, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to the incurrence of motoring convictions and the failure to notify the Licensing Authority of those convictions.

 

The principal consideration was whether the safety of the public might be at risk through the appellant’s driving record and possibly evasive behaviour in not disclosing his motoring offences.

 

The Solicitor advised Members they had enough information before them, and would not take into account the spent convictions when determining the case.

 

The appellant explained how the incident with the van occurred in August 2011 along with reasons as to why he exceeded the statutory speed limits on two occasions, as shown in Appendix C.  He had not asked the owner of the van if it was insured as he had presumed he would be able to drive it under his own car insurance. He accepted that he did not inform the Licensing Authority of the first two offences when he should have done, as he only realised it was a requirement at a later date when he had been advised by his employer that he should have done so.  If the decision was taken to suspend his licence, his partner would have to drive at night to provide for his family.  As well as taxi driving during the day and night himself, he undertook roofing work when it was available.

 

A Councillor could not understand why he was not aware that he had to notify Breckland Council in writing of any conviction, caution or driving offence imposed on him during the period of the licence within seven days of the conviction, as he had signed to say he acknowledged receipt of the White Book which contained the Byelaws and Conditions applicable.

 

When questioned further as to whether he did or did not know that he should have informed the Licensing Authority of his convictions, he confirmed that he had known.

 

The appellant had held a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence about 13-14 years previously when he undertook taxi driving in Watton.  His current taxi work included school contracts, and he and his partner shared one vehicle.

 

Having heard all the evidence, the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  The Solicitor explained that the Members would apply the statutory test to the application to determine if they considered that the appellant was a fit and proper person  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied by a Hackney Carriage Proprietor (employer), the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

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

 

Patrick O’Brien, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to failure to produce a valid medical certificate as required by the conditions of his licence.

 

The principal consideration was whether the safety of the public might be at risk through the appellant’s failure to provide a satisfactory medical certificate and his inability to meet the required optical standard.

 

The appellant stated that given the length of time it had taken the DVLA to respond to his application for a Group 2 Lorry/Bus driving licence made in March 2011, he progress chased it over the telephone with them, asking them to make their decision as soon as possible as the outcome would be vital inasmuch as he might need to find alternative employment.  At that time he was not told about the Group 2 requirement with regard to taxis.  He received letters from them dated 29 June 2011 one of which advised him his application had been refused for a Group 2 Lorry/Bus driving licence, another letter advised that a car/motorcycle driving licence had been issued to him.

 

Following receipt of the letters from the DLVA he had carefully checked that no restrictions applied to his car/motorcycle driving licence whatsoever until he reached the age of 70, and therefore on that basis he decided to apply to renew his Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers licence.

 

He did not understand why he was not entitled to drive a taxi when his licence enabled him to drive a car.

 

He believed the comments made by the Doctor on the Medical Declaration form dated 17 October 2011 to be quite vague as the Doctor had not performed an eye sight examination himself, but copied all the figures from the VOC33 Eyesight Certificate.

 

The Licensing Officer wrote to the appellant on 27 October 2011.  The appellant had not to date, provided additional information from a specialist optician as suggested in the letter, as he did not believe it would support his case, however he would have no problem in obtaining one. 

 

He explained he was short sighted with a stigmatism.  Whilst his eye sight could not be corrected to the perfect standard it was not degenerative.  His current lens prescription was slightly below that prescribed for perfect correction, to “make his eyes work” and therefore it would not be beneficial for him to wear lenses twice as strong. He had been advised against corrective laser eye surgery due to his particular circumstances.

 

The Licensing Officer explained that Breckland Council’s Licensing Policy was based  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied, along with the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

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

 

Patrick O’Brien, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to the failure of the licence holder to comply with the conditions attached to his Hackney carriage vehicle.

 

The principal consideration was the appellant’s continual breach of licensing conditions, his untruthfulness regarding ongoing insurance cover and the manner of his disposal of the Hackney Carriage.

 

The appellant stated he had prepared a written statement which was tabled at the hearing, and was read out by the Chairman.  The letter, dated 22 February 2012, had in fact been written by another Hackney Carriage Proprietor and the appellant was a driver for his company.

 

A second letter from the licensed driver who had had vehicle HV0123 transferred to him, was read out by the Chairman.  In response to the content of the letter, the Licensing Officer said that most of it was not relevant to the hearing and that the author had written a letter of complaint which had been dealt with separately.

 

Cllr Sherwood declared a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of being the Chairman of the Licensing Committee as he had knowledge of the author of the second letter from the licensed driver, and therefore left the room.

 

The Licensing Officer was not aware of any offer of a temporary address having been provided by the appellant.  He explained the requirement was that notice had to be given in writing to the Council by the driver every time they moved, and that telephone notification was not accepted.

 

The appellant stated when he spoke to the Call Centre they advised him they would not accept a temporary address as they required a permanent one and that he did not need to meet anyone in person.  He had kept a Licensing Officer informed he was at no fixed abode and completed the appropriate forms in Thetford of his change of address. 

 

Given that all calls received by the Call Centre were recorded for training and general purposes a Councillor asked if those could be accessed to determine what was said during the telephone conversation the appellant had with them.  However in the Conditions issued to the appellant when his Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence was issued, it did state that a licence holder on changing address shall notify the Council in writing of such a change within 7 days.

 

The appellant advised that during the time the vehicle was uninsured it had been parked up, as it could not be driven as the battery had been removed.  He had asked for “overlap” insurance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Application for the Suspension/Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver's Licence

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of the appellant who was accompanied by his daughter, the Licensing Officer and Mr P Mason, the Council’s Solicitor.

 

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

 

The Solicitor advised Members they had enough information before them, and would not take into account the spent convictions when determining the case.

 

Patrick O’Brien, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the suspension/revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1) (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 under any other reasonable cause, due to the failure of the holder to notify the Licensing Authority of his driving convictions and his driving record whilst holding a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence.

 

He advised the Committee that just prior to the hearing having commenced that morning, the appellant had informed him he had received a further SP30 speeding offence on 19 November 2011 for which a fixed penalty of £60 had been imposed along with 3 points.  The offence would be spent on 19 December 2016.  The latest conviction therefore brought the total to four offences with a total of 12 points.  The Licensing Team had not been told of the offence prior to the hearing.

 

The principal consideration was whether the safety of the public might be at risk, through the appellant repeatedly incurring motoring convictions.

 

The appellant had prepared a written statement which was tabled at the hearing and it explained details of the appellant’s personal circumstances at the time of the offences.

 

When asked by a Councillor whether he was aware that having read the booklet of conditions issued to him, he should have notified Breckland Council in writing of any conviction, caution or driving offence imposed on him during the period of the licence within seven days of the conviction, he replied yes, but it was only at the time he had received the paperwork for the hearing. 

 

Committee Members did not understand why the appellant was not aware of the condition to notify the Licensing Team of any convictions having previously appeared before the Committee on 25 January 2006, at which time conditions he needed to adhere to would have been discussed.

 

The appellant advised that with regard to the conviction on 6 July 2008 he had taken his mobile phone off of loud speaker as passengers in the vehicle had been using foul language.  With regard to the conviction dated 18 December 2010 he had been driving at about 43mph in a 30mph limit.  He was an experienced driver and viewed all the offences he had incurred as serious.  His vehicle was now fitted with blue tooth mobile phone capability.  He was employed by one of his daughters who was aware of his driving record.

 

Having heard all the evidence, the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  The Solicitor explained that the Members would apply the statutory  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers Licence and Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Licences

Report of the Assistant Director of Commissioning.

Minutes:

Cllr Sherwood declared a personal and prejudicial interest in the item by virtue of knowing the family reasonably well and that they had rented a business from Swaffham Town Council.  He left the room.

 

Cllr Duffield was not present for the item.

 

The appellant was not present at the hearing.  The Committee noted that all appropriate efforts and attempts had been made to contact the appellant with regard to the hearing but all had been to no avail.  No apologies had been received from the appellant.  It was decided to continue with the hearing and consider the application in his absence.

 

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

 

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

 

Patrick O’Brien, Licensing Officer presented the report which was to consider the revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence in accordance with Section 61(1)(a)(ii) and (b) of the local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.  In addition to consider the Revocation of 2 Hackney Carriage vehicle licences and 2 Private Hire vehicle under Section 60(1)(b) and Section 60(1)(c).

 

The principal consideration in the case was the appellant’s continual breach of licensing conditions.

 

The Licensing Officer advised of further background information in that complaints had been received that vehicles were being driven by others.  One of the vehicles was being driven legally by a brother of the appellant.

 

Having heard all the evidence given by the Licensing Officer, the Committee withdrew to consider their options.  Members would apply the statutory test to the application to determine if they considered that the appellant was a fit and proper person able to drive and to perform the duties expected of a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver and Proprietor.

 

After considering the matter the Committee returned.

 

In the absence of the appellant, the Solicitor advised the following findings of fact :

 

1.                  The appellant had held a Breckland Council Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence since at least 1 February 2007.

2.                  All licences except the appellant’s driver’s licence were issued to The Shambles, Market Place, Swaffham.  There was evidence in November 2011 that the operation closed and a new site was to be opened in Sporle.

3.                  There had been no contact by the appellant with the Licensing Authority since at least November 2011.

4.                  Letters from the Licensing Team sent on 3 January 2012 were returned undeliverable on 10 January 2012.

5.                  Two unfit vehicle notices were served on 30 January 2012 on licensed vehicles HV107 and HV07.

6.                  The appellant had failed to notify the Local Authority of the change in Operators’ address.

7.                  The appellant had failed to notify the Local Authority of changes in status to the vehicles.

8.                  The appellant had failed to notify the Local Authority of his current address.

 

In the circumstances it was :

 

RESOLVED that the appellant’s Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence, Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle licences and Operators Licence be revoked, on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Date of Next Meeting

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday 4 April 2012 at 10.00 a.m in the Norfolk Room.