Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Licensing Committee (ceased to operate 10/04/2017) Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 21st July, 2015
Time:
10.00 am
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AJ
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Paul Kirton (Chair); Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Philip Dennis, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Stephen Parry, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill and Cllr Bill Woodhead.
Officers:
C Barnes, P Edwards (DNS); J Nertney, P K Bell (LD).
In Attendance:
Mohammed Akram Mirza for agenda item 4 - Application for Street Trading Consent; Driver Ref 120820, Mick Vaines (Representing Driver Ref 120820) for agenda item 8 - Application for a Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr David Wilburn and Cllr Norma Wilburn.
Item Description Decision
Public
L
13/15
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The evacuation procedure was noted.
L
14/15
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no interests declared.
L
15/15
APPLICATION FOR CONSENT STREET TRADING - J.M.
RESOLVED that the application for Street Trading Consent - Ice Cream to trade between the hours of 10:00 and Midnight on Sunday 2nd August 2015 to the side of the Shambles not facing the Castlegate Centre be approved.
L
16/15
REVIEW OF SEXUAL ENTERTAINMENT VENUES POLICY
RESOLVED that:-

1. The results of the consultation exercise carried out in respect of the proposed revisions to the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy be noted.

2. The review period be 5 yearly for the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy.
L
17/15
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Confidential
L
18/15
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER APPLICATION - REF 139969
  • Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969
RESOLVED that Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 be refused as he was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence under the Council's Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions pursuant to section 51(1)(a), of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
L
19/15
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE/HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVERS LICENCE - REF 120820
  • Application for a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820
RESOLVED that a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicle be granted subject to a condition that Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 must submit to and undertake random and unannounced drug screening tests at his own expense, on four occasions these would be carried out by officers during the first year of his licence and then random intelligence led testing would be carried out in accordance with the Councils policy..
10.00 am 12.30 pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
L
15/15
Consideration was given to a report on an application for the grant of a Street Trading Consent in respect of a trader who wanted to sell ice cream in Stockton High Street for one day during the Riverside Festival and to which an objection had been received.

An application had been received from Mr Mohammed Akram Mirza for the grant of a Street Trading Consent to permit the sale of ice cream from a purpose built vehicle in Stockton High Street. A copy of the application was attached to the report.

The applicant wanted to trade between the hours of 10:00 and Midnight on Sunday 2nd August 2015, and had identified a preferred trading location as south side of the Shambles, High Street, Stockton on Tees or as directed by the event organiser.

Rachel Willis of Stockton Borough Council Events Team had confirmed that the only available location was to the side of the Shambles not facing the Castlegate Centre. This was due to the performances taking place on the High Street and the ongoing development work.

The Enforcement Surveillance Co-ordinator, the Environmental Health Manager, the Traffic and Road Safety Officer, the Town Centre Manager, the Trading Standards and Licensing Manager and Cleveland Police had no objections to the application.

Ward Councillors and local businesses had been consulted on the application and one objection had been received from a local business, a copy of the objection was attached to the report.

Members were advised that Mr Mirza had held licences to cover this event for a number of years and no complaints had been received.

A copy of the adopted guidelines in respect of Street Trading Consents was attached to the report for Members information.

The applicant and objector had been invited to attend the meeting but only the applicant was in attendance.

The applicant was given the opportunity to outline his application.

Members then discussed the application and the application was approved.
L
16/15
Consideration was given to a report on the results of the consultation exercise carried out in respect of the proposed revisions to the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy and to advise Members on the next steps prior to implementation.

This was an updated report, to the earlier report considered by Members on 4 November 2014 regarding the proposed minor revisions to the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy.

Since the adoption of the original policy in April 2011, no applications for a Sexual Establishment Licence had been received by the Authority and no issues or concerns had been raised. As a result it was proposed that the policy remained relatively unchanged.

The adoption of a policy for Sex Establishments allowed the Council to outline its views for applicants about issues such as suitability of applicants, the number of establishments and where they could be located. In determining applications Members and Officers would have due regard to the Policy whilst considering each application on its merits. It was proposed that review period should be 5 yearly for this Policy.

A consultation exercise was carried out with interested parties by way of publicity on the Authority's website and in the Evening Gazette, inviting comments and views. In addition Responsible Authorities under the Licensing Act, namely Cleveland Police, the Local Safeguarding Children Board, Environmental Health, Cleveland Fire Service and Planning were asked for comments and views on the content of the Policy. No objections to the amendments were received.

It was proposed that the revised Policy would be considered by Cabinet on the 4 September 2015 and then Council on the 19 October 2015, with a final implementation date likely to be 1 November 2015.

The Policy would then be due for a further review by the end of 2020.
L
18/15
Consideration was given to a report on Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969.

The item was previously due to be heard on 23 June 2015, Members resolved to adjourn the item as the applicant had failed to attend the meeting without prior notification.

The purpose of the report was for Members to determine a new application for a private hire drivers licence from an applicant who previously been convicted of an IN10. (Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks).

Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 applied to the authority on 22 January 2015 for a private hire drivers licence. A copy of his application including DVLA licence was attached to the report.

Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 was interviewed on 29 April 2015 regarding the DVLA conviction and he confirmed he had just passed his driving test and knowingly got in to his own car which was not insured to drive to the shop. He travelled around 300 meters and was stopped for no insurance by a marked Police Car.

He admitted fault and was issued a 100 fine and a 7 day ban. He advised the reason they were so lenient was because he was going into the Army as a driver.

Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 disclosed his IN10 on his application and it showed on his DVLA licence counterpart. The offence occurred in September 2011 and he was convicted in January 2012.

Members were respectfully reminded that under the provisions of section 51(1)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1976, District Councils were instructed not to grant a licence to drive private hire vehicles, unless they were satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.

A copy of the policy guidelines relating to the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings and Complaints and Character was available at the meeting for Member's information.

However, for Members information for Major Traffic Offences, such
as ‘using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks', the guidelines stated: an applicant would be referred to the Licensing Committee and will normally be refused until at least four years after the most recent conviction, caution, reprimand, final warning or if the person was disqualified, after the restoration of their driving licence.

Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 had been invited to attend the meeting but was not in attendance.

Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 had previously been invited to attend the meeting on Tuesday 23 June 2015 but did not attend. A letter was subsequently sent to his home address requesting his attendance and advising that if he did not attend the next meeting then the matter would be heard in his absence. A further report was hand delivered to his address on 13 July 2015.

The reason the application was put before the Committee was due to the conviction in January 2012 for ‘Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks'. The offence occurred in September 2011.

Members considered the application on the basis of the documentary evidence before them. Members then considered the Council's Policy on the Relevance of Convictions specifically related to major traffic offences. The Policy suggested that an applicant would normally be expected to show a period of four years free from conviction before being deemed suitable to hold a licence. Members were also concerned that Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 had failed to attend two meetings of the Licensing Committee despite being requested to do so. Members were of the view that in order to determine an applicant's fitness it was essential for them to appear before the Committee. In the view of Members as there were concerns over the applicants fitness it was very important for the applicant to appear before the Committee. The Committee were of the view that in this case it wold not be appropriate for them to grant a licence to the applicant in their absence.

After considering all of the evidence Members were not persuaded to depart from the Council's Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions and refused the application pursuant to section 51(1)(a), of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. Members found that Private Hire Driver Application - Ref 139969 was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
L
19/15
Consideration was given to a report on an application for a combined
hackney carriage and private hire driver's licence from an applicant who had previously been revoked by the Licensing Committee following a positive screen test for cannabis.

Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 had applied to become a licensed combined hackney carriage and private hire driver with the Authority, a copy of his application including his DVLA driving licence was attached to the report.

An important part of the vetting process was to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This check was undertaken and produced to the Authority on 17 April 2015, with no convictions or cautions revealed.

Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 was previously licensed as a private hire driver with the Authority until March 2012, when his licence was revoked by the Committee. A copy of the meeting minute L61/11 and decision letter which referred was attached to the report.

Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 voluntarily attended the office at short notice to undertake another drug screening test on 24 June 2015. All substances tested for were found to be negative, a copy of the test result was attached to the report.

The Council's policy on the Relevance of Convictions etc. stated ‘An applicant with a conviction, caution, reprimand or final warning for a drug related (non driving) should be required to show a period of at least five years free of a conviction, caution, reprimand or final warning before an application was considered.

Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 was given a copy of the Council's guidelines on Relevance of Convictions at the time of his application and a copy of the document was available at the meeting.

Members were reminded that under the provisions of Sections 51 and 59 of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976, District Councils should not grant a driver's licence unless they were satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.

Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 was in attendance at the meeting.

Members had due regard to the report and the submissions made by Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 representative Mr Vaines. Members then asked all parties to leave whilst they considered the application.

After due deliberation Members asked all parties to return to the chamber so they could be informed of their decision. Members had regard to their guidelines on the relevance of convictions and character. In relation to offences concerning the possession of drugs it was normally be expected to show a period of five years free from conviction. Members noted that Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820's employer had a policy of random drugs testing. It was also noted that since Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 licence had been revoked the Police had a system for carrying out roadside drug testing. Members took into consideration the character references that had been provided and the assurance that since the revocation of his licence he had not used any illegal drug.

After considering all of the evidence Members agreed to grant a licence to drive hackney carriage and private hire vehicles subject to a condition that Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 must submit to and undertake random and unannounced drug screening tests at his own expense, on four occasions these would be carried out by officers during the first year of his licence and then random intelligence led testing would be carried out in accordance with the Councils policy.

Members also made it very clear that if Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 failed to attend a test without reasonable excuse or if he did test positive for any illegal substance in his system then his licence could be suspended with immediate effect. If Private Hire / Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence - Ref 120820 were found to have used any illegal drug then it was likely that his licence would be revoked with immediate effect.

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