Council and democracy > Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Penallta House, Tredomen, Ystrad Mynach. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Barrett 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M. Davies, Ms J. Gale, Mrs D. Price and J. Ridgewell.

 

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received at the commencement or during the course of the meeting.

 

3.

REVISION OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE STANDARD / CONDITIONS OF LICENCE pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented the report, which proposed that the specification and conditions applicable to vehicle seating configuration, window tinting and the entry age for wheel chair accessible vehicles in relation to hackney carriages and private hire vehicles be reviewed following a stakeholder consultation exercise.

 

It was explained that the Authority’s current requirements in respect of seating capacity and vehicle window tints has resulted in large numbers of applications being rejected by Officers as not complying with current requirements, and being referred to the Taxi and General Sub Committee to determine vehicle suitability.  The most common referrals are those where Members are asked to make a determination on seating capacity (primarily whether vehicles should be licensed for 4 or 6 passengers), or whether a vehicle may be licensed in cases where rear window light transmission is less than 70% (as required by existing conditions).

 

The report therefore proposed a number of changes in respect of the specifications and conditions for licensable vehicles (at first plating).  Officers summarised each proposal in turn, including the reasons for proposing these changes, the benefits of such changes, comparisons with the situation across other Welsh local authorities, and the responses received from the trade following a consultation exercise in September 2017.

 

Passenger Accessibility - Members were referred to the current specification in respect of passenger accessibility as outlined in the report, and were advised of the increase in vehicles with two additional seats which are accessed by moving or folding a seat.  As the current vehicle specification only requires ‘reasonable access’, this results in many vehicles of this type being referred to the Taxi and General Sub Committee for determination.  On first licensing, many proprietors will apply to carry 4 passengers but lodge an appeal to the Sub Committee to increase the capacity to 6 or more.  In total, there were 45 referrals to the Sub Committee between October 2015 and February 2018, and following inspection, all vehicles had their seating capacity increased. 

 

The report therefore proposed an alternative method for determining seating capacity, by way of the number of seats as set out on the DVSA V5C document (the vehicle log book).  It was explained that this would provide clarity for applicants and Members, reduce the demands on Officer and Member time, reduce the costs and waiting times for proprietors, and should significantly reduce the number of vehicles referred to the Sub Committee. 

 

Members were asked to note that the Authority has never received any complaints from fare paying passengers concerning access/egress for vehicles.  The situation across other Welsh local authorities varies, but Powys and Denbighshire have both recently removed requirements relevant to seating, moving to either the number shown on the vehicle log book or type approved seating.  Members were advised that of the 70 responses to the CCBC consultation, 62% were in agreement with the proposal and 37% wanted to retain the current arrangements.

 

Discussion took place regarding this proposal and in response to a Member’s query concerning the impact of this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

APPROVAL OF SECULAR VENUES FOR THE SOLEMNISATION OF MARRIAGE AND REGISTRATION OF CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report, which asked Members to review the approval process for new applications for premises to be licensed for the solemnisation of Marriage and Registration of Civil Partnerships, and to note that the associated fees will be the subject of a future report should the approval process be standardised. 

 

Members were reminded that for existing secular premises, Officers from Licensing and Registrars carry out joint inspections and Licensing officers process renewal applications under delegated powers. Where objections are received from statutory consultees applications are referred to the Taxi and General Sub Committee with a right of appeal to the Full Committee (minus the Members who sat on the Sub Committee hearing).  New premises are however subject to inspection/approval by the full Taxi and General Licensing Committee.  Premises must meet both standard and local conditions for approved secular premises (appended to the report). 

 

Several Members of the Committee have recently requested a review of the approval process for new applications.  The report therefore proposed that the same inspection and approval process is implemented for both new and renewal applications. This would result in a more streamlined and responsive process for new venues and bring the authority into line with other local authorities in Wales.

 

Members were reminded that fees are charged on a cost recovery basis (with the application fee for a new premises currently £1089 and a renewal application currently £769).  It was explained that if the two application processes are standardised then the fees will also need to be standardised, and that this can be addressed in the annual fee review report to be considered by the Taxi and General Committee (and thereafter Council).

 

Members welcomed the proposal to standardise the inspection and approval process for both new and renewal applications, and having considered the report fully, it was moved and seconded that the following recommendations be approved.  By a show of hands this was unanimously agreed.

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

(i)         Officers from Licensing and Registrars carry out joint inspections and Licensing Officers process the applications under delegated powers.  Where objections are received from a statutory consultee, then applications be referred to the Taxi and General Sub Committee, with a right of appeal to the full Taxi and General Committee (minus the Members who sat on the Sub Committee Hearing)

 

(ii)        it be noted that the proposed fees for new and renewal applications will be included in the annual fee review report to be presented at a future meeting of the Taxi and General Committee, prior to consideration by Council.