Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Other Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018
Time:
10:00 am
Place:
Council Chamber, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AJ
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Elsi Hampton, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney (DHR&LC), Simon Mills, Margaret Waggott, Sarah Whaley (DCE)
In Attendance:
Applicant - Ref 066119 and his representative Mr Mick Vaines, Applicant - Ref 066042 and his legal represenative Antony Schiller, Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Paul Kirton, Cllr Norma Wilburn,
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
53/17
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
54/17
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
55/17
MINUTES FROM THE OTHER LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETINGS WHICH WERE HELD ON THE 22ND AND 28TH NOVEMBER 2017
RESOLVED that the draft minutes of the Other Licensing Committee meetings which were held on the 22nd and 28th November 2017 be approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.
OLC
56/17
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
OLC
57/17
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER APPLICATION - 066119
  • Private Hire Driver Application - 066119
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 066119's application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence be refused for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
58/17
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER APPLICATION - 142550
  • Private Hire Driver Application - 142550
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 142550's application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence be refused for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
59/17
PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER APPLICATION - 066042
  • Private Hire Driver Application - 066042
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 066042's application for a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver Licence be granted for 1 year with a warning as to his future conduct for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
60/17
PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE - 143504
  • Private Hire Vehicle - 143504
RESOLVED that the Committee were not satisfied that there was sufficient exceptional circumstances to depart from this Council's Current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
53/17
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
54/17
There were no declarations of interest.
OLC
55/17
Consideration was given to the draft minutes from the Other Licensing Committee meetings which were held on the 22nd and 28th November 2017 for approval and signature.
OLC
57/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence from Applicant - Ref 066119 who had previously had his licence revoked by this Committee.

The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant - Ref 066119 was a fit and proper person' to hold a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence with this Authority, based on his current application, previous history and DBS disclosure.

Applicant - Ref 066119 and his representative Mr Mick Vaines attended the meeting and were given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

A copy of Applicant - Ref 066119's application and DVLA driving Licence.

Copies of various correspondence to Applicant - Ref 066119.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2007 relating to Applicant - Ref 066119 where the committee resolved to issue a final written warning.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2008 relating to Applicant - Ref 066119 where the committee resolved to issue Applicant - Ref 066119 with an advisory letter as to his future conduct.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2009 relating to Applicant - Ref 066119 where the committee resolved to revoke Applicant - Ref 066119's Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2010 relating to Applicant - Ref 066119 where the committee resolved to grant Applicant - Ref 066119's Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2013 relating to Applicant - Ref 066119 where the committee resolved to revoke Applicant - Ref 066119's Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence.

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Applicant - Ref 066119 and his representative Mr Vaines during the meeting. The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant - Ref 066119 was considered a fit and proper person to hold a combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers licence with this Authority.

The Committee noted Applicant -Ref 066119's history of complaints from when he was previously licensed with this Authority and due to this history Members deliberated long and hard when considering the application. The Committee must have regard to all the information before them and consider the protection of the public, specifically the protection of the public in this Borough.

Pursuant to section 51(1)(a) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the Committee must be satisfied that Applicant - Ref 066119 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence. The issuing and holding of a licence was a privilege and not a right and the overriding consideration was the safety of the public.

In order to help make fair and consistent decisions when considering applications, the Council had adopted Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character. The Committee carefully considered the information in the Report, which referred to Applicant - Ref 066119's history of complainants when previously licensed. The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 066119 had a lengthy history of losing his temper and that he had attended previous anger management therapies.

The Committee were concerned that Applicant - Ref 066119 did not provide any references from his previous employer despite stating that he had worked for them for some time.

Applicant - Ref 066119 did not provide any evidence from Harbour detailing the support he was given.

The Committee were very concerned at the response Applicant - Ref 066119 gave when asked what strategies he would use if facing a stressful situation. Applicant - Ref 066119's answer was vague and this did not give the Committee confidence that he would be able to deal with situations in an appropriate manner.

Members determined that Applicant - Ref 066119 was not deemed to be a fit and proper person, at this time, and his application was therefore refused.
OLC
58/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence from Applicant - Ref 142550 who had additional information disclosed on the Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (DBS) by Cleveland Police. The information related to when the Applicant - Ref 142550 was arrested and charged to court, but not convicted for a sexual assault, no penetration on a female.

Applicant - Ref 142550 did not attend the meeting however he had contacted Licensing Officers to say he was happy for the committee to proceed with the hearing in his absence. Applicant - Ref 142550 had been provided with papers with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

A copy of Applicant - Ref 142550's application and DVLA driving Licence.

A copy of a summary of a tape recorded interview with Applicant - Ref 142550.

The Committee had regard to the additional information which had been provided by Cleveland Police. The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 142550 was charged with sexual assault of a female. The Solicitor who represented Applicant - Ref 142550 at that time confirmed to the licensing officer that Applicant - Ref 142550 had denied being the person on CCTV footage which was presented in evidence by the prosecution. Applicant - ref 142550's defence had been one of mistaken identity. Following a trial Applicant - ref 142550 was found not guilty of the alleged offence.

The role of the Committee was to determine whether Applicant - Ref 142550 was a fit and proper person to hold a private hire drivers licence. The legislation stated that a Council shall not grant a drivers licence unless they were satisfied that Applicant - Ref 142550 was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 142550 had indicated he would not be attending the meeting and that he was happy for his application to be determined in his absence. In order to determine Applicant - Ref 142550's fitness it was very important that an applicant appeared before the Committee.

The Committee members had a number of questions which they wished to ask Applicant - Ref 142550 and were unable to do so as Applicant - Ref 142550 had indicated he would not be attending.

The Committee found that Applicant - ref 142550 was not and fit and proper person to hold a private hire drivers licence and his application is refused.
OLC
59/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence from Applicant - Ref 066042 who had previously had his licence revoked by this and also had several subsequent applications refused.

The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant - Ref 066042 was a fit and proper person' to hold a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence with this Authority, based on his current application, previous history and DBS disclosure.

Applicant - Ref 066042 and his Solicitor Mr Antony Schiller attended the meeting and were given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

A copy of Applicant - Ref 066119's application and DVLA driving Licence.

A summary of Applicant - Ref 066042 history.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2007 relating to Applicant - Ref 0066042 where the committee resolved to refuse his renewal application.

A copy of various correspondence to Applicant - Ref 066042.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2010 relating to Applicant - Ref 066042 where the committee resolved to revoke Applicant - Ref 066042's Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence.

A copy of a set of Licensing Committee minutes from 2015 relating to Applicant - Ref 066042 where the committee resolved to refuse Applicant - Ref 066042's Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence.

A copy of a police witness statement.

Copies of photographic evidence.

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Applicant - Ref 066042's Solicitor during the meeting. The role of the Committee was to determine if Applicant - Ref 066042 was considered a fit and proper person to hold a combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers licence with this Authority.

The Committee noted Applicant - Ref 066042's history of complaints from when he was previously licensed with this Authority and due to this history Members deliberated long and hard when considering Applicant - Ref 066042's application. The Committee must have regard to all the information before them and consider the protection of the public, specifically the protection of the public in this Borough.

The decision of whether or not to grant Applicant - Ref 066042 his licence was a difficult one and was finely balanced. The Committee noted that there was a lengthy history with Applicant - 066042 and that he had his licence revoked and subsequently refused when he re-applied. The consideration of Applicant - Ref 066042's fitness had also been considered by the Magistrates and the Crown Court most recently in January 2016, when Applicant - Ref 066042 had been held not to be a fit and proper person. However, the Committee noted that since that time Applicant - Ref 066042 had applied for a licence with Middlesbrough Council which had been granted on appeal to the Magistrates Court. The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 066042 also held a PSV drivers licence and Operators licence issued by the Traffic Commissioners. It was also noted that Applicant - Ref 066042 was authorised by Durham County Council to undertake school contract work. The Committee were informed that Applicant - Ref 066042 had driven his PSV vehicle for several years without complaint. It was submitted by Applicant - Ref 066042's Solicitor that the historic issues which he had while licensed by the Council were now of such a date that little weight should be attached to them. It was submitted that the weight of evidence presented on Applicant - Ref 066042's behalf showed that he was now a fit and proper person to hold a licence with this Authority.

The Committee determined to grant Applicant - Ref 066042 his licence for only one year and not the three years that Applicant - Ref 066042 originally sought. After the one year Applicant - Ref 066042 must make a renewal application and if he remained fit and proper then Applicant - Ref 066042's licence would be renewed.

Given Applicant - Ref 066042's previous history when licensed by the Council the Committee resolved that Applicant - Ref 066042's licence be granted with a warning as to his future conduct.

The letter was to remind Applicant - Ref 066042 that he was expected to continuously demonstrate high standards and to remind Applicant - Ref 066042 that if any complaints were received, concerning his conduct, he would be brought back before the Committee.
OLC
60/17
Members were asked to consider a report from a Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504 with this Authority who had requested permission to modify a currently licensed 8 seater private hire minibus, to be adapted to carry wheelchairs.

The Council's Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy did not permit vehicles to be licensed as Private Hire or Hackney Carriage Vehicles unless they were purpose built and met the M1 whole vehicle type approval for the carriage of wheelchair passengers.

This item was previously heard by this Committee in July 2017, however, Members requested further information in order to make a determination on whether to depart from Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy (Policy).

Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504 attended the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The Committee considered the report, appendices and oral evidence given by Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504 during the meeting.

The role of this Committee was to determine if they were satisfied by the information provided that there was sufficient exceptional circumstances to depart from the current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy.

The Committee noted all the information provided by Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504 and the extra enquires carried out by Officers, since the last meeting. The Committee had regard to all the information before them and considered the protection of the public with regard to the safety of licensed vehicles.

The Committee were not satisfied that there were sufficient exceptional circumstances to depart from this Council's Current Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Policy. As this was a request to depart from Policy there was no statutory right of appeal against the Licensing Committee's decision.

The Committee did note that on the basis of Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504's submissions to them Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504's felt that the Council Policy should be changed in order to allow the licensing of vehicles adapted in the way which was proposed. It was explained that Private Hire Operator - Ref 143504 may wish to make representations on this issue when the Council next reviews its Taxi and Private Hire Policy.

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