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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Phil Smith, David Fuller, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lee Mason, Hannah Hockaday and Aiden Gray. Standing deputy Councillor Ken Ellcome was in attendance for Councillor Lee Mason. Apologies for absence were also received from standing deputies, Councillors Rob Wood and Lee Hunt.
Declarations of Members' Interests
Councillor David Tompkins declared an interest in agenda item 4 - Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and Part III, Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 - Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Matters - Draft Statement of Licensing Policy - in that he owns a language school in Portsmouth and would therefore abstain from the discussions on that particular issue.
RECOMMENDED that the minutes of the Licensing Policy Committee held on 15 January 2016 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the chair.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Policy Committee held on 15 January 2016 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the chair.
To receive, recommend for approval and to adopt the draft statement of licensing policy for the control, supervision and enforcement of the respective hackney carriage and private hire trades within the City of Portsmouth. Further, to note and approve the summary of recommendations together with the scheme of working delegations to the Licensing Committee and appropriate head of service.
To note the prior consultation on the draft policy and to take into consideration any received comments from trade representatives, individual licence holders, members of the public and members alike and to incorporate such relevant amendment(s) to the policy as the committee consider appropriate.
To recommend to council the formal approval of the statement of licensing policy for a 3 year period commencing on 2 April 2016 and to seek approval for the Licensing Committee to retain future responsibility for the control and administration of the policy.
To the Licensing Committee
1) That the report and draft statement of licensing policy for the control, supervision and enforcement of the hackney carriage and private hire trades within the City of Portsmouth together with the scheme of delegations and relevant appendices be noted and approved (subject to any final amendments) by the Licensing Committee with effect from 1 April 2016.
2) That the policy be reviewed by the Licensing Committee every 3 years with the appropriate head of service authorised to make sure minor typographical and other corrective administrative amendments from time to time and as required.
To the Council
1) That the council notes and approves the recommendations and resolutions of the Licensing Committee and resolves to delegate the hackney carriage and private hire statement of licensing policy together with the scheme of delegations to the Licensing Committee and appropriate head of service.
2) That the council delegates approval to the Licensing Committee to retail overall responsibility for the policy, to include any future amendments, variations, substitutions or deletions as may be required and after appropriate consultation.
3) That the policy commence with effect from 1 April 2016.
The Licensing Manager introduced the report and explained that the Licensing Committee in 2014 had instructed that the head of service "undertake a thorough review of hackney carriage and private hire policy in respect of drivers, vehicles and private hire operators".
The draft policy has been subject to public consultation via "consultations" on the council website, with copies being distributed to all licensed private hire operators, recognised trade representatives and to all the 'big' fleet garages within the city and with copies being made available in the Licensing Service public reception area.
The principal licensing officer gave a presentation to the committee on the draft policy statement. Members were also shown CCTV footage, which had been taken from a forward facing camera installed in a hackney carriage vehicle involved in a car accident.
Deputations were heard from Viv Young (Taxi Trade rep), Carolyn Holmes (Hackney Carriage Proprietor), Bruce Hall (General Manager, Aquacars), Perry McMillan (Unite Union Southern Area Taxi Trade) and Chris Dixon (Hackney Carriage rep).
Viv Young included the following points in his representations:
· Have 40years experience in the taxi trade.
· Taxis are over-ranking. Request a survey is undertaken.
· Drivers sit on a rank for hours at a time.
· The minimum working wage is going up but taxi drivers earn less than that.
· Must retain quality and quantity in the trade.
· Fully support 3year licence for private hire drivers - good to have that option.
· Regarding the bulb kit, not practical. Police and bus drivers do not change their vehicle bulbs and are not expected to. Some drivers would just sell the kits.
· Regarding CCTV, not all drivers are technical. Would assume if the light is on the CCTV is working.
· Age of a driver should be decided on merit. I was 19years old when I joined the trade. Applicants should hold a driver licence for two years.
· Support driver standards.
· Geography standards, my eyes are always on the road not the sat nav. Good local knowledge is essential.
· Fully support disability/wheelchair training. Commend Aquacars who insist drivers are trained. Is there any funding available from Southern Tourist for this training?
· 120,000 motorway miles on a vehicle is better than 40,000 miles from driving around town for the vehicle.
· Vehicle age limit should remain at 8years. Should clamp down on persistent offenders not those drivers who look after their vehicles.
· Cost of installing CCTV for 31 days will be £700.
· Taxi ranks at the Kings, the new Tesco and Liquid and Envy need addressing, as does the temporary rank at The Hard.
· The council need to clamp down on illegal parking on taxi ranks.
· Rear loading wheelchair accessible vehicles are better for most Portsmouth streets. The vehicles are cheaper and smaller.
· The trade and council need to work together.
At this point in the proceedings the Licensing Manager clarified that the policy statement would be forwarded to neighbouring local authorities, the chair confirmed that she had agreed to write to the Licensing Committee chairs for the neighbouring local ... view the full minutes text for item 9.