Agenda and minutes

General Licensing Committee
Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: The Coppice, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland PR25 1DH

Contact: Dianne Scambler  Email: dscambler@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

13.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors Jon Hesketh and Barbara Nathan submitted apologies.

14.

Councillor David Wooldridge

Minutes:

Councillor Jane Bell on behalf of the Committee said a few words about their friend and colleague, Councillor David Wooldridge who had sadly passed away. Councillor Wooldridge was a great ambassador for licensing and he would be greatly missed.

15.

Minutes of meeting Tuesday, 24 July 2018 of General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To confirm as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

Minutes:

The minutes of the General Licensing Committee meeting held on 24 July 2018 were confirmed as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

16.

Declarations of Any Interests

Members are requested to indicate at this stage in the proceedings any items on the agenda in which they intend to declare an interest. Members are reminded that if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct) they must leave the room for the whole of that item. If the interest is not a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but is such that a member of the public could reasonably regard it as being so significant that it is likely that it would prejudice their judgment of the public interest (as explained in the Code of Conduct) then they may make representations, but then must leave the meeting for the remainder of the item.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of any interests.

17.

Proposed changes to vehicle age policy pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Report of the Head of Licensing attached.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Head of Licensing that provided Members with an update on proposed changes to the vehicle age policy relating to hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.

 

At meetings of the Taxi Trade Forum in 2017, the Borough’s licensed trade queried whether the differential approach remained justifiable and as a result the Committee agreed to set up a working group to consider the matter in detail.

 

The recommendation from the group was to replace the current differential age policy with a standardised one, meaning that if adopted, the proposed age limits for all vehicle (whether saloon or wheelchair accessible) would be six years on first application and up to 12 years on renewal.

 

The working group produced a detailed report of its findings and recommendations, which was consulted upon throughout the month of May 2018. Out of the nine responses received, only one was against the proposal.

 

The Council’s Environmental Health Department has since raised concerns about the proposed changes, highlighting the Council’s commitment to improving Air Quality, currently a key priority within the Corporate Plan. Environmental Health felt that a relaxation of the policy would allow for operators to extend the life of older more polluting and potentially less safe vehicles.

 

The Committee heard representations from a Council’s Environmental Health Officer who attended the meeting along with Councillor Karen Walton, Cabinet Member (Public Health, Leisure and Wellbeing) who asked for a deferment of the decision to allow for the Committee to consider key information in relation to vehicle emissions.

 

Members were also provided with further information at the meeting from Public Health England, who are looking to commence discussions with local districts in the Lancashire area to develop a consistent approach in respect of age limits on vehicles, bearing in mind the air quality impact.

 

Members of the Committee were of the view that the air pollution concerns had not been fully investigated and did not come out during the previous consultation. The approach to be taken by Public Health England could provide further information which would assist in a future consultation.

 

However, although, some concerns were raised in respect of air quality, there was general opinion that the working group had proposed the recommendations to bring parity for all licensed vehicles and would provide fairness to all in the taxi trade.

 

Members also received representations from members of the taxi trade who were in attendance at the meeting and whom had participated in the working group. They were apprehensive of a further review and circulated information that appeared to show that some, newer vehicles did not necessarily have reduced emissions. There was a real concern amongst the trade that they were being penalised for serving the public when other public serve vehicles had no age restrictions like buses or council vehicles.

 

The Committee debate was quite heated and there was a clear division amongst the membership.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Ken Jones, to recommend to Council to accept the recommendation of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Consultation on Gambling Policy pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Report of the Head of Licensing attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Head of Licensing that outlined the proposed revisions and updates on the Council’s Gambling Policy and sought approval to undertake a consultation on the draft policy.

 

The draft Policy was appended to the report along with a list of all bodies that would be consulted upon.

 

The Committee discussed the various measures that could be put into place to enforce the policy that included the frequency of reviews and the use of a pro-forma to assess risk, to ensure that the policy was sufficiently robust and asked for the policy to be amended to reflect these suggestions.

 

As the eight week period of consultation needed to commence on 13 September 2018, so that any responses could be brought back before Committee at its meeting in November, it was agreed to grant officer delegation to make the necessary amendments following this meeting. This timeframe would ensure that the new policy would be ready to implement, when the existing Gambling Policy expired at 31 January 2019.

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That delegated authority be granted to the Head of Licensing to make the suggested amendments to the draft Gambling Policy ahead of the AGREED eight week consultation period to commence from 13 September 2018.

 

The Chair, Councillor David Suthers left the meeting.

19.

Consideration for Mandatory CCTV in Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Report of the Head of Licensing attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice Chair, Councillor Jacqui Mort, took the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

 

The Committee considered a report of the Head of Licensing that advised Members of the process for introducing CCTV in taxis and private hire vehicles as a Mandatory Condition of licence.

 

The Committee heard from representatives of the Trade who explained that although they thought that the use of CCTV was a good idea and would afford protection for both the driver and members of the public, the cost of its provision, (estimated at £500) if made mandatory, would be an additional one off cost that could not be recovered.

 

Taking into consideration all the relevant information, the Committee were also of the opinion that it was unfair to impose these costs on to the trade and struggled with the decision to make the installation of CCTV a mandatory condition of their licence.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Paul Wharton, seconded by Councillor Ken Jones and subsequently RESOLVED (Unanimously): to allow the status quo to remain, which permits CCTV to be installed in a taxi or private hire vehicle at the driver’s discretion subject to the system being approved by South Ribble Borough Council.

 

Councillor David Watts left the meeting.

20.

Licensing Activity Report for July and August 2018 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Report of the Head of Licensing attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Licensing submitted a report that provided the Committee with information on licensing activity throughout July and August 2018 that included applications received, enforcement checks and referrals to partner agencies.

 

The Head of Licensing also gave notice of three Licensing Reviews that would be coming before Committee over the next few weeks.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously) – That the report be noted.