Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley

Contact: Nina Neisser  Email: nina.neisser@chorley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

16.LPS.48

Minutes of meeting Wednesday, 21 September 2016 of Licensing and Public Safety Committee pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Licensing and Public Safety Committee held on 21 September be confirmed as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

16.LPS.49

Declarations of Any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.

 

If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.

Minutes:

No declarations of any interests were received for any of the items on the agenda.

16.LPS.50

Public Questions

Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask a question(s) on an item on the agenda will be asked to put their question(s) to the Committee. Each member of the public will be allowed to ask one supplementary question within his/her allocated 3 minutes.

16.LPS.51

Taxi Licensing - Implementation of Vehicle Emissions and NCAP Safety Rating Conditions pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Report of the Director of Early Intervention and Support (enclosed)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Early Intervention and Support submitted a report for the Licensing and Public Safety Committee to agree the second consultation and proposed amended phased implementation of vehicle emissions standards and the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) safety rating standards for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle licences.

In February 2016 the Licensing and Public Safety Committee agreed in principle to the introduction of a minimum of Euro 5 emissions standards for licensed vehicles to preserve and protect air quality and to a minimum standards of 4* NCAP safety rating of vehicles to protect public safety as part of the review of the vehicle conditions.

The Regulatory Services Manager informed Members that the Licensing Liaison Panel meeting following this had been productive and the options in the report were considered and proposed.

At the Licensing and Public Safety Committee meeting in July 2016 Members requested further information in relation to the lifespan of vehicles used as Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles. Members were advised that determining the lifespan of vehicles proved difficult due to dependence on age, mileage and maintenance of the vehicle and the business model of the proprietor. Members were also reminded that when considering this, the mileages these vehicles were subject to was in excess of those made by a domestic vehicle, with the average licensed vehicle travelling 1000-2000 miles per week, with an average annual mileage of between 50,000 – 100,000 miles.

Members were informed that 28 MOT tests had been assessed at random which made up around 15 per cent of the whole fleet within Chorley. Findings illustrated that only three of these vehicles had travelled less than 100,000 miles, with very few being longer mileage vehicles. Three vehicles provided clear evidence of good preventative maintenance; two vehicles had six failures, five had four failures and there were six with three failures which consisted predominantly of illegal tyres, worn brakes and failed suspension.

Following this, evidence demonstrated that although the failures were being amended the advisories were not being addressed and numerous vehicles were not being maintained between MOT tests. Ultimately this raised concerns amongst the committee and they noted the information presented. Numerous local authorities do not tolerate MOT results including advisories which indicated the severity of this issue and presented a matter which needed addressing by the committee as consistent failures cannot be accepted.

At the Licensing Liaison Panel officers disregarded a blanket age restriction as this left the council open to challenge if it was to be implemented. Following this, Members discussed the potential options, including the timescales recommended at the Licensing and Public Safety Committee in July 2016.

All the options considered at the Licensing Liaison Panel and those included in the report were considered. After careful consideration it was proposed by Adrian Lowe, seconded by Hasina Khan and subsequently RESOLVED unanimously to;

a)    require all vehicles subject to a grant of a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire Vehicle Licence to meet Condition 21 (Emission standards of Euro  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.LPS.51

16.LPS.52

Review of the Council's Policy which Limits the Number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licenses Issued to 36 pdf icon PDF 321 KB

Report of the Director of Early Intervention and Support (enclosed)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Early Intervention and Support submitted a report advising Members of the Licensing and Public Safety Committee to review the quantity control policy that currently limits the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle licences the Council issues.

The Council currently has a Policy limiting the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle licences it issues to 36; this includes provision for 9 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV). The Council is not obliged to maintain a limited number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle licences. The Council may determine that the maintenance of the limit is not in the public interest in serving the transport needs of the borough and does not provide an adequate level of service for residents and visitors to the area.

Members were advised that where a limit exists and the Council wish to maintain that limit, the Council must be satisfied that there is no significant unmet demand.

CTS Traffic and Transportation Consultants were appointed for the purpose of undertaking a survey to determine whether or not there was any significant unmet demand for the services of Hackney Carriage Vehicles within the Borough of Chorley and to assess the Public interest in the provision of Hackney Carriage Vehicles within the Borough. In the interest of efficiency a cohesive approach was taken between the Council and CTS which extended to assimilating the questionnaires of the unmet demand survey and of the public interest survey; this enabled a more concise approach to the interpretation of the results that have been evaluated impartially by CTS.

It was noted to Members that the majority of existing WAV Hackney Carriage Licenses were first granted in approximately 2007, following the recommendation of a significant unmet demand report considered at that time, which recommended the issue of 7 WAV HC licenses. Since statistics were available, nine WAV have been added to the fleet. In a similar time period 20 per cent extra hackney carriages have been added to by 90 per cent more private hire vehicles. Market forces have not added further WAV to either fleet, and in fact have recently seen the general accessibility of the WAV in the fleet reduce. The estimated 2015 weekly usage of hackney carriages in Chorley was 3,122 passengers, an increase of 12 per cent since the last survey.

The council survey found a third of people said they had used an out of town vehicle in Chorley. It was clear that hackney carriages were clearly visible and known to people, just not used; part of this was potentially due to the perceived cost. The impact and influx of such vehicles was reportedly having a detrimental effect on the trading capabilities of the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Trade in Chorley; this was placing further burdens on officers in relation to enforcement. However, there is no legislative power available to prevent this activity taking place.

The Licensing Enforcement Officer highlighted the challenges of cross-border risks and the ‘Uber effect’ which had the potential to influence customer decisions to use out of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.LPS.52

16.LPS.53

Taxi Licence Fees and Charges - Review of Cost Apportionment pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Report of the Director of Early Intervention and Support (enclosed)

Minutes:

The Director of Early Intervention and Support submitted a report for the Licensing and Public Safety Committee to approve the advertisement of revised Fees and Charges for Taxi Licensing based on cost apportionment.

 

The current fees and charges were agreed by the Licensing and Public Safety Committee in July 2014 and following a consultation period came into force on 1 October 2014. The local authority is required to review these fees and charges on a regular basis.

 

Over the last two years there have been a number of changes to the way the Council processes applications and therefore, in order for the fees and charges to reflect the costs of service, it is important to review them in a timely manner to ensure they accurately reflect those costs. The council must ensure that they meet legislative requirements with regard to the structure of the fees and that the fees are not used to raise revenue and any surplus or deficit is carried forward on a 3 year cycle. Revised fees must be subject to an advertising period of a minimum of 28 days within the local press and consideration of any objections by members.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager requested that Members of the committee approve the advertisement before bringing back to a future committee. It was anticipated that the finalised figures would be available imminently and would be circulated to members.

 

After careful consideration it was proposed by Adrian Lowe, seconded by Anthony Gee, and subsequently RESOLVED;

 

1.      to approve in principle the advertisement of revised Fees and Charges for Taxi Licensing based on the principle of cost apportionment.

2.      that the Regulatory Services Manager reports back to the next appropriate Licensing and Public Safety Committee the outcome of the advertisement, consider any objections and agree the implementation of the new Fees and Charges at that meeting, so that the new fees and charges can be effective from 1 April 2017.

 

16.LPS.54

Safeguarding training for Taxi Trade

The Regulatory Services Manager will give a verbal update.

Minutes:

The Regulatory Services Manager provided a verbal update which reminded Members of the Safeguarding Training for the Taxi Trade that had been taking place following the decision at the Licensing and Public Safety Committee held in July 2016.

Members were made aware that 230 members of the taxi trade had attended the free training sessions. 30 remained who had not undertaken the training.

The Regulatory Services Manager had contacted these remaining members of the taxi Trade via letter to remind them that this was the final opportunity to undertake the training free of charge. They were advised that if they did not accept the free training they would have to finance their own training.

Members were informed that future online training as suggested at the previous Licensing and Public Safety meeting was being looked into and the options were being assessed.

It was AGREED that the report be noted.

 

 

16.LPS.55

New DBS Arrangements for Taxi Trade

The Regulatory Services Manager will give a verbal update.

Minutes:

Members were reminded of the letter the council received in the summer of 2016 regarding the decision that the Council would lose its umbrella status meaning we would be unable to provide DBS checks.

The Licensing Enforcement Officer provided Members with a verbal update on their work to find an alternative method to delivering the DBS Service. An E-bulk alternative had been found via a service level agreement with Personnel Checks that would be reviewed in 6 months’ time to track progress. However it was reported that the early stages had provided positive feedback.

It was AGREED that the report be noted.

 

16.LPS.56

Alternative DVSA Arrangements

The Regulatory Services Manager will give a verbal update.

Minutes:

The Licensing Enforcement Officer presented Members with a verbal update regarding a letter previously received from DVSA on 2 September which informed that the tests required by the Council were going to be withdrawn. Due to no available bookings, this meant that licence holders were unable to take the test from mid-October onwards.

Following research, findings suggested three alternative companies to be used within the local authority which met the standards required. The council concluded to take on all three to provide the taxi trade with the choice. These were now in place to be operated.

It was AGREED that the report be noted.

 

16.LPS.57

New Immigration and Identification Checks for Licensing

The Regulatory Services Manager will give a verbal update.

Minutes:

The Licensing Enforcement Officer verbally informed members of a Home Office meeting they attended regarding immigration of the taxi trade.

In order to apply for a licence the council must conduct face-to-face interviews and the applicant must provide all relevant documentation. The Council must take a coloured copy of these documents (this can be a colour scan, rather than a hard copy.

Members were informed that this exercise would not be implemented retrospectively but would be adopted at renewal. Where a licence automatically lapses, the licence holder has a duty to surrender it with the council.

It was AGREED that the report be noted.

 

16.LPS.58

Consultation on the Part Time Relocation of the High Street Taxi Rank pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Report of the Director of Early Intervention and Support (enclosed)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Early Intervention and Support submitted a report to update the Licensing and Public Safety Committee on the planned changes as part of the Market Walk Extension and wider town centre improvements; to set out the reasons for seeking to relocate the High Street taxi rank on Market days (Tuesday) and to set out a consultation plan for approval.

In September 2016, the Council as landowner gave approval to proceed with the development of a seven unit extension to Market Walk. Public consultation on the relocation of the markets has been held over the last month, from 4 October to 6 November with over 200 online responses as well as feedback which has been collected during a number of face to face consultation sessions and briefings. The current proposals from this would see market stalls located throughout the town centre and the introduction of market stalls onto High Street on Market day (Tuesday) would necessitate the temporary relocation of the taxi rank from High Street.

It was proposed to committee that instead taxis could operate from around the corner on Cleveland Street where there is an existing evening rank, and extend this to between 6am and 6pm on Market Days (Tuesdays). The proposal was considered due to its location close to the existing market site and taxi rank and would ensure that all existing permanent stall holders could have a position, as well as accommodating the current levels of casual traders. Following discussion regarding the precise hours at which the High Street rank would cease to operate on Market Day it was agreed that this would be a matter to be considered subsequent to the consultation.

Members of the committee were informed that in addition to the proposed changes to the hackney carriage rank location, there were a number of other changes to TRO’s which would be required. These changes were a Highways Authority function under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. It was advised that following consultation the Members of the Licensing and Public Safety Committee could seek to influence the Lancashire County Council on this.

Members were informed that subject to approval, it was proposed to commence the public consultation from 24 November for a period of eight weeks, up until the 22 January 2017. During this period, face to face consultation would take place with Members of the Licensing Liaison Panel (LLP).

The Lead Licensing Enforcement Officer indicated that following this consultation period the findings, together with any updated plans for regarding the taxis ranks, would be brought back to the Licensing and Public Safety Committee for final approval. The aim would be to have approval in place in advance of the Markets relocation in Easter 2017.

After careful consideration it was proposed by Adrian Lowe, seconded by Gordon France, and subsequently RESOLVED unanimously to;

  1. note the update on the town centre improvements;
  2. note the proposed changes requested by Chorley Council to the Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) regarding prohibition of vehicles and changes to loading  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.LPS.58

16.LPS.59

Any urgent business previously agreed with the Chair