Agenda and minutes

Taxi Licensing Sub Committee
Thursday, 22nd July, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey GU21 6YL

Contact: Doug Davern  on 01483 743018 or email  doug.davern@woking.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary and other interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that Councillor Harlow had advised that she would be unable to take part in the determination of the two items before the Sub-Committee as she had previously had contact with both of the taxi drivers.  Councillor Harlow had therefore submitted her apologies for absence for the meeting.

2.

Urgent Business

To consider any business that the Chairman rules may be dealt with under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business.

3.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Chairman will move and the Vice-Chair will second:-

 

"That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of items 4-5 in view of the nature of the proceedings that, if members of the press and public were present during these items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, to the Local Government Act 1972.”

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of minutes 4 to 6 in view of the nature of the proceedings that, if members of the press and public were present during these items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, to the Local Government Act 1972.

4.

Report by Officers

Reporting Person – Matthew Cobb

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee received a report which requested that a decision be made as to whether Mr I should continue to be permitted to hold a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Licence, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, following the accrual of in excess of 12 Penalty Points under the Council’s Penalty Points Scheme.  Mr I attended the meeting together with his son and, through video conferencing, his Solicitor Mr Schiller. 

 

All parties present had a copy of the Licensing Committee’s agreed procedure to be followed at Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee hearings.  The Chairman introduced the Sub-Committee to those present and explained the procedure and order of speaking that would be followed during the hearing.

 

The Licensing Authority’s representative outlined the report before the Sub-Committee.  Mr I had held a Driver’s Badge between 2006 and 2009 and since 2013, with an expiry date of 16 July 2021 and no contact received regarding a renewal.  There had been an incident in January 2018 whereby Mr I was seen with his licence plate in the rear window as opposed to the rear bumper and with no operator door signs which had resulted in a written warning.  In February 2018 he had been issued with a further written warning following a notification from Surrey Police that he had failed to stop at a red light, though he had advised the Police that another person had been operating his vehicle.  The Sub-Committee was advised that due to the expiry of the licence the case should be considered as a request for a renewal.

 

There were four particular incidents highlighted to the Sub-Committee. 

 

On 26 February 2021, Mr I had been seen by a Licensing Officer smoking a cigarette in his licensed vehicle, resulting in five penalty points being issued. 

 

On 22 March 2021, Surrey Police had advised that a lone female member of public had complained that Mr I had made ‘threats to kill’ regarding his daughters by their husbands, resulting in an arrest.  Part of the conversation had been recorded by the passenger and passed to the Police, who had arrested and interviewed Mr I and decided to take no further action.  A total of six penalty points had been awarded in relation to aggressive behaviour and bringing the trade into disrepute.

 

On a number of dates in May and July 2021, Mr I was seen on CCTV parking in the disabled bay on The Broadway in the Town Centre, with the earliest time being 23:33 hours.  A total of 4 penalty points had been issued for each offence.

 

An addendum report had been issued which stated that on 1 July 2021 Surrey Police had advised that Mr I had transported a 12 year old lone female from 01:52 hours from Sheerwater to Kingfield Road without raising any concerns to the safeguarding of the minor.  The Police had confirmed that the child looked her age and it was unlikely that she could have been misconstrued as an adult.  Mr I was stated to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Adjournment

Minutes:

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 9.15pm and reconvened the meeting at 9.20pm.

6.

Report by Officers

Reporting Person – Matthew Cobb

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee received a report which requested that a decision be made as to whether Mr A should continue to be permitted to hold a Hackney Carriage Licence, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, following the accrual of in excess of 12 Penalty Points under the Council’s Penalty Points Scheme.  Mr A attended the meeting together with, by video conferencing, his Solicitor Mr Schiller. 

 

All parties present had a copy of the Licensing Committee’s agreed procedure to be followed at Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee hearings.  The Chairman introduced the Sub-Committee to those present and explained the procedure and order of speaking that would be followed during the hearing.

 

The Licensing Authority’s representative outlined the report before the Sub-Committee.  Mr A had held a Driver’s Badge since at least 2001 (the earliest date for which records are held).  It was stated that his record during that time had not been incident free with a number of issues highlighted which had taken place between 2009 and 2018. 

 

However, the incidents before the Sub-Committee were related to Mr A requesting to change the numberplate on his licenced vehicle on 8 May 2021, to which the Licensing Authority had requested the required supporting documents and reminded him that the vehicle could not be driven until it was correctly licenced.  There had been CCTV footage of Mr A’s vehicle seemingly being operated as a Hackney Carriage vehicle in the Town Centre with the replacement numberplate on 7 May 2021.  When Mr A was contacted, he had stated that he was picking up a neighbour, which did not correlate with the four times the CCTV footage had shown him arriving and leaving over a two hour period.  A total of 12 penalty points had been awarded for each incident – using an unlicensed vehicle for hire/reward work and using a vehicle without valid or adequate insurance.  With the number of points awarded totalling 24, the decision had been made refer the matter to the Sub-Committee.

 

Following questions by Mr Schiller, the technicality of a vehicle being licenced until the expiry of the licence or being unlicenced by the Council was noted.  This could be interpreted as the vehicle was licenced but with the incorrect licence plate on display.  The insurance on the underlying vehicle would also remain valid.

 

Following questions by Members of the Sub-Committee it was noted that the replacement numberplate was a cherished family plate and that no further changes were made to the vehicle.

 

The Chairman gave Mr A the opportunity to address the Sub-Committee. 

 

Mr Schiller stated that there was a question over whether the penalty points should have been issued in light of the underlying vehicle remaining licenced and the insurance being valid during the time of the change of the registration number.

 

No parties present had any questions for Mr A or his Solicitor.

 

The Chairman gave those parties present the opportunity to make closing statements.

 

Mr Cobb advised that the Sub-Committee that in light of the evidence provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.