Meeting Details

Licensing Committee
25 Jan 2021 - 18:30
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Visitors
  • Declarations of Interests

Documents

Agenda

Meeting Details
Meetingdetails
MeetingDetailsCOVID19

Members are invited to a Meeting of the Licensing Committee

to be held on Monday 25 January 2021 at 6:30pm

 

This Meeting will be conducted remotely, pursuant to the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

 

The Meeting will be facilitated using the Zoom video conferencing system and broadcast via the East Suffolk Council YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/o7YNOCjSoig

Part One - Open To The Public
1 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
1
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Trish Mortimer and Councillor Keith Patience.
2 Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Local Non-Pecuniary Interests that they may have in relation to items on the Agenda and are also reminded to make any declarations at any stage during the Meeting if it becomes apparent that this may be required when a particular item or issue is considered.

2
There were no Declarations of Interest.

To confirm as a correct record.

3

 

RESOLVED

That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 October 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

Report of the Legal and Licensing Services Manager 
4

 

The Legal and Licensing Services Manager summarised report ES/0649 which provided an overview of current Hackney Carriage fares in East Suffolk. The Committee was informed that there were currently two tariff tables operating within East Suffolk, one in the north of the district and one in the south (the former Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Council areas). The report sought the Committee's agreement to consult with the trade on whether to leave the existing arrangements in place or to adopt one tariff table for the whole district. 

 

Councillor Robinson asked when the last increase to the tariff in the north; the Legal and Licensing Manager said this had been in September 2012 and that the last increase in the south was in November 2020. 

 

Councillor Newton asked about the sequencing of the proposed consultation. The Legal and Licensing Manager replied that, if approved, an informal consultation, outside of the statutory framework, would have more discretion in the period of the consultation, but four to six weeks was reasonable. He stated that, if approved, all hackney carriage drivers and operators would be consulted and the resulting report would be submitted for consideration at the meeting of the Committee in April. The Chairman asked to be kept advised of the timescales and any variation to the timing of a report to Committee. 

 

The Chairman invited the Committee to debate. 

 

Councillor Goldson stated that tariffs in the north were lower priced but there was, he said, more deprivation in the north. He continued to state that the south of the district was more affluent. Councillor Goldson considered it was for the trade to approach the Council and not to impose. 

 

Councillor Robinson said it was a concern that, potentially, many taxi drivers were working at the same tariff rate despite increased costs and that, consequently, he considered the standard of vehicle used to be declining. He added that if one company raised its prices, it became uncompetitive as other companies remained at the original price. Councillor Robinson said that he welcomed a consultation on the sensible amalgamation and alignment of fees. 

 

Councillor Newton said he was pleased a consultation was proposed and was confident it would produce a good result. 

 

Councillor Wiles stated that he felt the industry was best placed to decide on tariffs and it had not requested a change. 

 

Councillor Mortimer said he welcomed the proposed consultation. Councillor Ashdown agreed and said it would be a valuable opportunity to hear the opinions of operators and drivers on this matter.  

 

Councillor Cloke asked how many responses to the last consultation had been received; the Senior Licensing Officer said a small number of replies had been received to a consultation on the drug testing policy. Councillor Coulam asked if an improved rate of response was anticipated for the proposed consultation. The Senior Licensing Manager said that the proposed consultation was on a matter with a potential direct effect on hackney carriage drivers and therefore it was reasonable to expect a healthy number of replies. In response to a question by Councillor Coulam, the Legal and Licensing Services Manager confirmed that consultees would be all hackney carriage drivers and companies but not private hire drivers; she also confirmed that consultees would be provided with all relevant information on the two tariff tables and the differences highlighted. 

 

Councillor Coulam said she was disappointed private hire drivers would not be consulted. The Legal and Licensing Services Manager said that this would necessitate a much broader scope of consultation and this could not be completed by April. 

 

There being no further questions or matters raised for debate, the Chairman moved to the recommendations. These having been proposed and seconded, by unanimous vote it was

 

RESOLVED

 

That a consultation be undertaken by Licensing Services with the hackney carriage trade be on the matters detailed below be approved:

 

1. whether to leave the existing two tariff table arrangement in place or to adopt one tariff table for the whole of the district in East Suffolk;

2. if one tariff table is to be adopted, whether the one tariff table should be the current tariff table in the North, the current tariff table in the South or a new tariff table with tariffs possibly set at the mid-point between the two tariff tables where there is a difference; and 

3. whether it should be left to the trade, which is the current custom and practice in East Suffolk, to trigger fare reviews when they consider that an increase is appropriate and that the market can sustain an increase without demand for taxis being adversely affected; or alternatively moving to a system whereby the licensing authority periodically reviews licensing fares and consults on revised fare tables with proposed fares increased in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Report of the Legal and Licensing Services Manager
5

 

The Senior Licensing Officer summarised report ES/0650 which advised the Committee of the Department of Transport's new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards and sought approval for a full review of current policy and procedure to determine the necessary amendments required by the new Standards. The Senior Licensing Officer stated that, if so approved, proposals would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee, in April, to seek approval to undertake a public consultation. 

 

The Chairman invited questions. 

 

Councillor Mortimer asked if there was a Council policy for the pandemic. The Senior Licensing Officer said that the Government had issued guidance but there was no policy. Councillor Mortimer asked how non-compliance with the guidance would be enforced. The Senior Licensing Officer said it was not the Council's responsibility to take enforcement or issue fines etc. for non-compliance with guidance. She explained that, under the guidance, it was mandatory for a passenger to wear a mask while riding in a taxi but it was not mandatory for the driver to do so. The driver was at liberty to accept a passenger or to refuse if, for example, they declined to wear a mask. 

 

Councillor Coulam asked about the Council's proposals for CCTV/video equipment within vehicles. The Legal and Licensing Services Manager said the views of the trade on this, including the balance between public safety and implications for individuals' privacy and cost, would be most welcome. 

 

It was proposed, seconded and by unanimous vote 

 

RESOLVED

 
That, having noted the report including the Department of Transport's  Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, at Appendix A, a full review of current policy and procedure to determine the necessary amendments required by the new Standards was approved

Report of the Legal and Licensing Services Manager
  1. pdf Issued Licenses in East Suffolk, an overview of the work of the Licensing Sub Committee, and Licensing enforcement matters (October to December 2020) (192Kb)
    1. Exempt - Appendix Ai - October 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    2. Exempt - Appendix Aii - November 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    3. Exempt - Appendix Aiii - November 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    4. Exempt - Appendix Aiv - November 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    5. Exempt - Appendix Av - December 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    6. Exempt - Appendix Avi - December 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
    7. Exempt - Appendix Avii - December 2020
      • Information relating to any individual.
      • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
6

The Legal and Licensing Services Manager summarised report ES/0651 which provided an overview of the current number and type of licences issued by East Suffolk Council. The report also summarised the applications received and the work of the Licensing Sub Committee from October to December 2020. 

 

There were no questions or matters raised for debate. The Chairman wished to record his thanks, on behalf of the Committee to the Officers for their excellent work. 

 

It was proposed, seconded and by unanimous vote

 

RESOLVED

 

That, having considered the report and its contents, it be noted

7 Exempt and Confidential Item

It is recommended that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.     

7

 

RESOLVED

That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the public be excluded from the Meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act

 

Part Two - Confidential
8 License Appeal Report: Mr K v East Suffolk Council, Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court (October 2020)
  • Information relating to any individual.
  • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
  1. Exempt - Licensing Appeal Report - Mr K v East Suffolk Council, Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court (October 2020)
    • Information relating to any individual.
    • Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Officers present: Katherine Abbott (Democratic Services Officer), Teresa Bailey (Senior Licensing Officer), Chris Bing (Legal and Licensing Services Manager), Matt Makin (Democratic Services Officer)