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Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jose Hales, Nigel Cathcart, Ruth Betson and Anna Bradnam. Councillor Mark Howell was present as a substitute for Councillor Betson. Apologies for absence were also received from Councillor Henry Batchelor who had been nominated to attend the meeting as a substitute for Councillor Bradnam.
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Kevin Cuffley declared a non-pecuniary interest as the holder of a Private Hire Driver licence.
To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 27 October 2017.
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 October 2017 were agreed as a correct record. The committee was informed that the committee’s decision taken at the last meeting regarding the Grantchester street trading consent, had not been appealed.
The committee considered the proposed new Taxi Licensing Policy and amended conditions of licensing for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles, drivers and operators. This had been amended following public consultation and took into account the consultation feedback that had been received.
The Chairman thanked the Regulatory Enforcement Officer for his work on the policy and public consultation on it.
The committee considered each of the proposed amendments to the policy. The committee agreed that final trivial changes such as points of spelling and grammar, would be made by the Licensing Committee Chairman and Head of Service for Environmental Health and Licensing.
The committee agreed the proposed amendments apart from the exceptions listed below. In relation to some of the agreed amendments, the points below were also made:
The Head of Service for Environmental Health and Licensing explained that the proposed amendments to 1.26 of the policy, reflected the legislation regarding taxi meters. The committee agreed this amendment.
Regarding 2.6 of the policy, the committee was informed that the amendment reflected case law, which was included in case of future challenge. In response to a query, the Head of Service clarified that this also applied to executive vehicles and that each of these vehicles carried a discreet identification disc. Following some debate regarding marks of identification on executive vehicles, the committee agreed to the proposed amendment.
Regarding 2.19, the committee agreed that the wording should be amended to “display external door signage”.
Regarding 2.25 of the policy:
· The Head of Service explained the reason for proposing to remove having a fire extinguisher as a condition, with officers considering this requirement to be outdated. The Head of Service knew of only one occasion in 22 years when a fire extinguisher had been used. The committee agreed the amendment to remove this condition.
· A member queried the standard of first aid kit required, which officers agreed to look into further.
· The wording “clearly marked with the council issued licence plate number” would be added back in.
· In response to a query regarding making it a requirement to have a torch in the vehicle, members were informed that these could potentially be used as a weapon and it was pointed out that most drivers would have a torch on their phone, so there was no need to make a torch a requirement.
· A member queried the need for basic first aid training for drivers. The Head of Service advised that this was not being looked at but that he would mark this as an issue for potential future consideration.
Regarding 2.29, the committee was informed that the use of CCTV was strictly controlled by the Information Commissioner. The committee agreed the amendment.
Regarding 2.30, the committee was informed that the amendment strongly reflected consultation responses, with Executive vehicle companies and Private Hire vehicles considering CCTV to be unnecessary. This was due to the records these companies kept, which made it easy to trace drivers if complaints were made against them. They were also ... view the full minutes text for item 4.