Agenda and minutes
Contact: Alan Garside / Ian Smith Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Pattinson.
Disclosure of interests
There were no disclosures of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2019 to be submitted and signed.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 17 July 2019 were submitted and signed.
Report of Business Compliance Officer.
The report asks the committee to consider the content and options contained therein with a view to adopting the Policy and agreeing a date for commencement and review.
Following a brief introduction by the Chair, the Business Compliance Officer (BCO) introduced the report and explained its aim. He outlined the background leading to the development of the revised vehicle licensing policy for hackney carriage and private hire vehicles and also the relationship of the local and more global aspects of the report. He emphasised that the report mostly contained the changes likely to have the greatest impact on the trade or those which drew most comment through consultation. These proposed policy clauses were contained in Section 8 of the report. Many clauses remained unchanged from current policy or, where changes had been made, drew little or no adverse comment and were strongly supported in consultation.
The officer then explained the methodology for the consultation survey and the committee considered each point contained in Section 8 of the report.
Limitations on numbers
There followed a discussion on advertising on the vehicles, including the exact nature of the advertising livery. A question was asked about how the vehicles demonstrated a link with Watford if they were covered in advertising. The BCO explained that it was possible to include a requirement for a door sign to display the Watford crest or approved marking.
There followed a related discussion around livery. It was stressed that any requirement for livery only applied to additional licences above the number already issued to existing hackney carriage proprietors.
The discussion moved on to the exact wording of the proposed amendments and that it might be rather vague. Concerns were also raised that the increase in numbers might lead to oversupply. Since a supply survey had not been undertaken since 2012, it was asked whether there should be a further survey. The BCO pointed out the cost of such a survey, which would have to be borne by the trade. The Head of Community Protection continued that from talking to people around the town, there seemed no evidence that there had been any real shift in supply versus demand. She added that it was her belief that the drivers had paid indirectly for the last survey, by way of increased licence fees.
The BCO added that it was required that regular surveys were undertaken in order to justify a limit on licence numbers and a recent ruling at the Crown Court had highlighted the risk if this was not done. If the council were to fully restrict licence numbers, it would require a new unmet survey demand. It was for this reason that the proposal had been worded as in the report.
It was asked if the council knew whether there was a demand for additional licences. The BCO replied that currently there was no waiting list for licences and drivers were returning licences to the council. The Environmental Health Manager pointed out that there had been just one new licence application in the past three years.
The committee agreed that the proposed wording was acceptable, save for changing the word “desire” to “need” in paragraph 5. ... view the full minutes text for item 8.