Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Committee
Thursday, 4th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting via MS Teams

Contact: JIll Holyoake  Email: democratic.services@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from the following councillors:

 

·       Cllr B Dove, absent on local government business

·       Cllr G Farquhar, absent on local government business

·       Cllr D Flagg

20.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.

 

Minutes:

Cllr A Filer was substituting for Cllr B Dove for this meeting.

21.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest on agenda items considered at this meeting.

22.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 518 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 10 December 2020, and the Licensing Sub Committee meetings held on 11 November and 14 December 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 10 December 2020 and the Licensing Sub Committee meetings held on 11 November and 14 December 2020, be confirmed as an accurate record.

23.

Public Issues pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:

 

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

 

The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a public statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

 

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair reported that four public statements and two petitions had been submitted in relation to Agenda Item 6 on the Taxi and Private Hire Policies, as follows:

 

Public Statements:

Mr Chris Culleton – Director, United Taxis

Mr Kevin Diffey – Chairman, PRC Streamline Taxis

Mr David Lane – Poole Taxi Association

Mr Paul Sondheim – Treasurer, Bournemouth Station Taxi Association, on behalf of Bournemouth Hackney Trade

 

Petitions, submitted by:

Mr David Lane

Mr Paul Sondheim

 

The public statements and petitions had been circulated to the Committee in advance of the meeting and had been published on the Council’s website. Committee members confirmed that they had received these documents.

 

The Chair welcomed Mr Culleton, Mr Diffey, Mr Lane and Mr Sondheim to the meeting. The Chair had exercised her discretion to invite the four representatives to attend the meeting for this agenda item to enable them the opportunity of reading out their public statements in person. She explained that she would permit the representatives to overrun the five minutes allotted if required to allow them to finish making their points.

 

The main points raised in the statements and petitions included:

 

·       Supporting the use of dash cams in vehicles.

·       Council should be looking to regulate, not deregulate, all three zones.

·       Concerns at the proposed increase in Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, including cost, lack of demand especially hackney carriages, customer choice.

·       Impact of deregulation on congestion, emissions, quality of service, and examples where this has failed.

·       Not enough opportunity to consult/discuss proposals with the Trade.

·       Impact of Covid-19 situation on the Trade.

·       Unmet Needs Survey indicates no need to increase numbers.

·       Increased pressure on taxi ranks.

·       Age of vehicles should be revisited - inconsistencies in timescales for complying with different areas of vehicle policy, including livery and emissions.

·       Financial impact of proposals on the Trade.

·       Removal of zones seems a foregone conclusion.

·       Safety concerns around proposed white livery, advantages of yellow.

·       Cost of unmet needs survey.

·       Trade already under pressure even before Covid-19.

·       Chapter 16 of Vehicle Policy should be removed/deferred for further discussion.

 

A full copy of the public statements which were delivered at the meeting and the petitions are available on the Council’s website at:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=288&MId=4672&Ver=4

 

The Chair thanked Mr Culleton, Mr Diffey, Mr Lane and Mr Sondheim for raising their concerns publicly, and for their contributions to the consultation process. The Committee would take these into account when considering the Policies.

 

The Chair explained that the development of one set of Taxi and Private Hire Policies for BCP Council was a statutory requirement and had been undertaken thoroughly and diligently with a wide range of input, including from trade representatives, the Member/Officer working group, Chair/Vice Chair briefings, the full Committee, formal public consultation, and advice from officers and Counsel.

 

The four representatives then left the meeting but were invited to following the rest of the proceedings live on the public broadcast.

24.

Taxi and Private Hire Driver, Vehicle and Operator Policies pdf icon PDF 250 KB

These are the first Taxi and Private Hire Policy documents for BCP Council since the establishment, on the 1st April 2019 of a single local government area for the now dissolved boroughs of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

 

Following a 4-week consultation period, agreed by members of the Licensing Committee at their meeting on the 17 September 2020, the Licensing Committee must now consider the responses received in response to the consultation exercise in respect of the proposed Taxi and Private Hire Policies.

 

In total 69 responses were received, the majority of these related to the proposed Vehicle Policy regarding the age at first licence and the proposed upper age limit, emissions and livery of vehicles as well as Chapter 16 relating to the quantative restrictions on Hackney Carriage vehicle numbers.

 

The Licensing Committee must decide to either include or exclude the suggestions and responses received and make changes to the draft policies as appropriate and provide reasons for their decision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book. The Licensing Manager explained that these were the first Taxi and Private Hire Policy documents for BCP Council since the establishment, on the 1st April 2019 of a single local government area for the now dissolved boroughs of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Under the Local Government (Structural Changes) (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 the Council as Licensing Authority had 24 months from the date of reorganisation to prepare and publish policies for the new local government area.

 

The Council had undertaken a four-week consultation period in respect of the proposed Taxi and Private Hire Policies, agreed by members of the Licensing Committee at their meeting on the 17 September 2020. A link to the consultation had been sent to all licence holders. In total, 69 responses were received. The majority of responses related to the proposed Vehicle Policy, in particular the age at first licence and the proposed upper age limit, emissions and livery of vehicles, as well as Chapter 16 relating to the quantative restrictions on Hackney Carriage vehicle numbers. The Committee now had the opportunity to consider the responses and feedback received, amend the draft policies, and recommend the final version for adoption by full Council. Should the Committee agree to a single Private Hire relevant area, Members would need to recommend to full Council the adoption of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

 

The Chair outlined the main issues raised in the consultation responses. These were: the age of vehicles, emissions, wheelchair accessible vehicles, the number of licences and zones, livery, and taxi meters. The Members Working Group discussed these issues at its meeting on 14 January 2021 and made some suggested changes to the draft policy documents, to strike a balance between the needs of the trade and the needs of the travelling public, alongside the requirement to publish policies for the new Council area.

 

The Chair explained the process for the Committee to consider each policy in turn, focussing on, but not limited to, the suggested changes as set out in the report. In considering the policies the Committee had regard to all documents provided, including the consultation report and other consultation responses received which had been circulated as appendices to the report.

 

A summary of the amendments in the report, which were accepted by the Committee unless otherwise specified, and the main points raised in the discussion, and the further amendments agreed by the Committee, is set out below:

 

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Policy 2021 - 2025

 

Section 7.4: Amended to state that training can be undertaken by any approved provider of licensed driver training rather than specify which providers within the document, allowing flexibility to add and remove approved providers as necessary without full review of the policy. The instructions for driver applications, included previously  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To consider and update the Committee’s Forward Plan, as appropriate.

Minutes:

The Committee considered its Forward Plan for the forthcoming year and the following updates were provided:

 

·       The Chair confirmed that the Taxi and Private Hire Policies for 2021 – 2025 would remain on the Forward Plan for monitoring as agreed in the discussion on the previous agenda item.

·       The Licensing Manager reported that the new BCP Gambling Policy was intended to be finalised for adoption by April 2022, in line with national timescales.

 

The Chair encouraged members to contact the Democratic Services Officer or the Licensing Manager with suggested items for inclusion on the Forward Plan.