Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

51.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 September 2015.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 2 September 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by Councillor Duffield who had been appointed Chairman for that meeting.

 

52.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

None.

53.

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.

54.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in 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 that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Hollis declared an interest in Agenda Item 10 as she knew the driver.  She left the meeting after Agenda Item 9.

 

55.

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:

Councillors Bishop, Newton and R Richmond were in attendance to observe the meeting only.  They did not participate in any of the discussions.

56.

Hearing Procedures (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

57.

Objection to serving of Tree Preservation Order 2015 No.9 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Hearing took place in the presence of Hugh Coggles (Tree & Countryside Officer), Mr Simon Westaway, objector and Tom Donnelly (Technical Admin Assistant) who was present as an observer only.  The Committee’s legal advisor Tamsin Eddison was also in attendance.

 

The Tree & Countryside Officer presented the report and advised Members that having visited site and assessed the tree he felt it had a high amenity value in the Conservation Area and was worthy of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

 

Mr Westaway noted that an additional letter from his neighbour had been omitted from the agenda pack.  It had been e-mailed to Members for information.  The letter referred to problems his neighbours had experienced with the needles from the tree which had caused the hood mechanism of their soft top car to malfunction.

 

Neighbours on the other side also supported the proposal to fell the tree due to nuisance from needles and root damage to drains.

 

Mr Westaway noted that he had been given permission to fell the tree by the Council’s previous Tree & Countryside Officer some years ago.  However, due to pressure from the Town Council who used the tree in their Christmas Lights display he had let that permission lapse.  The tree had grown considerably since then and some of the horizontal branches were touching his house.  He referred to a separate tree report that he had commissioned which provided a different assessment.  The tree had already been cut back by the Highways Authority which had caused a loss of shape.

 

Members asked about the condition of the tree and whether its balance had been affected by branches being lopped on one side.  The geology of the area was also discussed.

 

The Tree & Countryside Officer asserted that tree roots very rarely damaged pipes.  The tree was relatively young, being about 30 years old with a likely life of 100 to 150 years.  It might be expected to reach 20 metres in height with an eight metre radius if left unchecked.  However, it could be pruned and maintained to restrict its width.  He accepted that it was not an ideal location but the tree was healthy and had high amenity value.

 

Mr Westaway advised the Committee that if the TPO was confirmed he would apply to fell the tree and if he was refused again he would appeal to the Secretary of State.

 

The Tree & Countryside Officer explained that if the tree was preserved and Mr Westaway applied to fell it he would be required to give a reason and provide evidence to back up his request.  Without supporting evidence it was likely that permission would be refused to fell the tree.

 

Everyone was asked to leave the room whilst the Committee made their determination.  They were then invited back to hear the decision.

 

The Chairman explained that there had been a thorough discussion by Members and they had concluded that the tree could be trimmed and pruned  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda Item 8)

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.

 

59.

Consideration of suspension or revocation of hackney carriage/private hire drivers licence (Agenda Item 9)

Report of the Executive Director Commercialisation.

Minutes:

The Licence Holder was invited into the room.  The Chairman introduced the Committee and Officers and explained the procedures.

 

The Licensing Officer presented the report.   The Licence Holder had failed to notify the Council of a change in his medical condition.  When he had applied to renew his licence it had been noted that he did not meet the medical requirements and his licence had been revoked.  He had since received medical clearance and re-applied for a Licence.  Members were invited to determine whether the failure to notify the Council warranted any action.

 

Councillor Duffield asked if there was a list of medical conditions on the Group 2 licence.  He had had a similar experience and he had not been advised not to drive as a consequence.

 

The Licensing Officer explained that Group 2 conditions were not a legal requirement in the eyes of the medical profession.  It was a Breckland specific requirement which drivers should be aware of.

 

The Licence Holder explained the circumstances.  Following a medical procedure he had been advised not to drive for a week.  He realised with hindsight that he should have notified the Council.

 

Everyone was asked to leave the room whilst the Committee made their determination.  They were then invited back to hear the decision.

 

The Chairman noted that the Licence Holder had already had his Licence revoked for four weeks.  Members had also agreed that the wording was not clear and would be making a recommendation that the rules were clarified.

 

In this instance the Committee had determined not to take any further action but they would require an annual medical report from the Licence Holder’s GP to confirm that he was still fit to drive with regard to the existing medical condition.  The Licence Holder would receive a written warning about his failure to notify the Council and he was reminded of the need to read the rules about the notification requirements.

 

RESOLVED to take no further action.

 

It was further RESOLVED to RECOMMEND TO GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE that the wording of the Policy Booklet should be clarified to make it clear that all heart conditions should be notified to the Council when diagnosed, or when there was a change in condition.

 

Members also requested that all existing Licence Holders should be notified of that fact.

60.

Consideration of suspension or revocation of a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire drivers licence (Agenda Item 10)

Report of the Executive Director Commercialisation.

Minutes:

Councillor Hollis had declared that she knew the Licence Holder and left the meeting before this item was discussed.

 

The Licence Holder was invited into the room and the Chairman introduced the Committee and explained the procedures.

 

The Licensing Officer presented the report and outlined the circumstances of the complaint that had been received about the Licence Holder.

 

The Licence Holder was asked to explain what had happened and he advised that he had gone to collect three regular customers.  He had assumed that they were all in the car before starting to pull away.  One customer had fallen from the car.  He had been shocked and had apologised but thought that everything was OK.

 

Members questioned the Licence Holder about the checks he would normally carry out.  He confirmed that he had seat belt and door warning lights on his console.  If a seat belt was not fastened there was an audible alarm once the car started moving.

 

Everyone was asked to leave the room whilst the Committee made their determination.  They were then invited back to hear the decision.

 

The Chairman advised the Licence Holder that the Committee had decided to revoke his Licence.  She invited the Solicitor to read out the reasons for that decision.

 

RESOLVED to revoke the Licence with immediate effect for the following reasons:

 

1.     Having read the papers provided and listened carefully to what had been said and having questioned the Licence Holder the Committee was concerned by the apparent lack of remorse shown.  On questioning and on his own admission the Licence Holder had stated that he had “assumed” that the passenger was in the car.  The Committee was satisfied that the Licence Holder had failed to ‘take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of passengers conveyed in, entering or alighting from the vehicle driven by him’.

 

2.     The Committee were mindful that the precautions available to the Licence Holder included a visual check, mirrors and information available electronically such as warning lights on his console; the Licence Holder had confirmed that they were fitted to his vehicle.  He had failed to ensure all doors were closed and he had failed to use any of those steps before driving off.

 

3.     On safety grounds and in view of the Licence Holder’s apparent lack of remorse the Committee felt obliged to revoke his Licence with immediate effect.  The Committee felt they had no other option in the interests of public safety.

 

The Licence Holder was advised of his right to appeal within 21 days from the date of written communication of the Committee’s decision.

 

The Chairman explained that the decision had not been taken lightly and the details had been discussed fully. 

 

61.

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 11)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 16 December 2015 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 16 December 2015 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham were noted.