RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL
Approve and adopt the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions, subject to the inclusion of the amendments agreed by the Committee.
(Note: The Licensing Committee’s amendments have been incorporated in the updated Policy attached)
AGREED That the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions, as recommended by the Licensing Committee, be approved and adopted with effect from 1 April 2018.
Councillor Alex Riley, the Chairman of the Licensing Committee, proposed the recommendation from the meeting of the Committee held on 24 January 2018, which invited the Council to approve and adopt the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions. Councillor Riley noted that development of the policy had been the result of a significant amount of officer work, most notably by John Goodwin. The Licensing Committee had initially met in November 2017 to consider the draft policy, which had then been subject to public consultation. The Committee had met again to review the policy in the light of the results of the consultation. Councillor Riley was pleased to recommend the policy to the Council.
The proposition was seconded by Councillor Deborah Roberts, who concurred with Councillor Riley that the policy had been subject to thorough consideration by the Licensing Committee.
· Councillor Bridget Smith indicated that she was grateful to the Committee for taking account of comments she had made in relation to executive travel. She additionally noted that all Members of the Council had received an email from a hackney carriage driver expressing concerns about some of the proposals in the new policy, most notably with regard to the potential cost implications involved. In that context, she indicated that she was concerned at the indication in the email about the burden of the additional costs on drivers.
· Councillor Mark Howell, referring to the earlier comments about additional costs, noted that, unfortunately, this was the nature of being self employed. It might be necessary to consider whether there were too many taxis in South Cambridgeshire.
· Councillor Graham Cone noted that the Licensing Committee had spent a considerable time debating the safety of both drivers and passengers. He commented that residents he had spoken to were supportive of the proposal to have CCTV in taxis to protect them and the drivers. Those Members sitting on Licensing Committee had seen cases where having CCTV would have been hugely beneficial. He felt that it was not unreasonable to expect drivers to have CCTV in their vehicles by 2020, given they had two years to prepare for this one off cost.
· With reference to paragraph 2.29 on page 43, Councillor Tumi Hawkins observed that CCTV footage would be kept for not less than 28 days but wanted clarification on what would happen to it thereafter, as 28 days seemed a relatively short period of time.
· Councillor Hazel Smith noted that paragraph 2.29 stated that the footage may only be accessed by the Police or an authorised officer of the Council and not a proprietor or driver, and queried how the CCTV could be tested.
· Responding to the points made thus far in the debate, Councillor Riley, Chairman of the Licensing Committee:-
o Confirmed that the appropriate changes had been incorporated in the draft policy to take account of the comments from Councillor Bridget Smith concerning executive vehicles.
o With regard to the comments in paragraph 2.29, noted that professional companies would install the CCTV and it was to be assumed that they would be able to conduct testing. He anticipated that there would be a rolling period with regard to the retention of the data and did not believe that the 28 day retention period would present a problem.
o Advised that he would arrange for a response to be provided to the hackney carriage driver but noted the following in response to the points raised:
§ There were 58 hackney carriage drivers and 1261 private hire drivers licensed in the District.
§ It was assumed that the driver must have been aware that the only place for hackney carriage drivers to wait was Cambridge North Station.
§ The colour of existing hackney carriages would not have to change. This provision would only apply to brand new vehicles.
§ There did not appear to have been a response from the driver to the consultation.
§ The suggestion that responses from City Council drivers had slanted the consultation was refuted on the basis that 19 respondents were licensed with this Council; 3 were not licensed with the Council and 1 respondent was anonymous.
· The Head of Environmental Health and Licensing provided further clarification on the requirements for the colour of hackney carriage vehicles, noting that any new vehicle would be required to be white with a crest from 1 April 2018. No change would be required to the colour of existing vehicles until they were naturally replaced, which typically was a period of 4 – 6 years.
· Councillor Anna Bradnam noted that the purpose of CCTV was to protect passengers and drivers, and asked whether, should a complaint be received within 28 days, there was a procedure to ensure that the footage was not deleted. In response, Councillor Riley indicated that it was implicit in the policy that this scenario was covered.
On being put to the vote, votes were cast as follows:
In favour (44):
Councillors David Bard, Henry Batchelor, Ruth Betson, Anna Bradnam, Brian Burling, Tom Bygott, Nigel Cathcart, Grenville Chamberlain, Graham Cone, Pippa Corney, Christopher Cross, Simon Edwards, Sue Ellington, Andrew Fraser, Roger Hall, Lynda Harford, Philippa Hart, Tumi Hawkins, Mark Howell, Caroline Hunt, Peter Johnson, Sebastian Kindersley, Janet Lockwood, Ray Manning, David McCraith, Cicely Murfitt, Charles Nightingale, Des O’Brien, Tony Orgee, Alex Riley, Deborah Roberts, Tim Scott, Ben Shelton, Bridget Smith, Hazel Smith, Edd Stonham, Peter Topping, Ingrid Tregoing, Richard Turner, Robert Turner, Bunty Waters, Aidan Van de Weyer, Tim Wotherspoon and Nick Wright.
After the vote, following a question from Councillor Lockwood, Council agreed to request Councillor Riley to arrange for a response to be sent to the hackney carriage driver.
(Note: Councillor Kevin Cuffley, having declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in the above item, withdrew from the meeting during discussion and voting thereon.)
That the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions, as
recommended by the Licensing Committee, be approved and adopted with effect
from 1 April 2018.