Venue: Crompton Suite, Civic Centre, Oldham, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1NL. View directions
Apologies For Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Cosgrove, C. Gloster, Goodwin and Sheldon.
Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair
There were no items of urgent business received.
Declarations of Interest
To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest received.
Public Question Time
To receive Questions from the Public, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
There were no public questions received.
Minutes of Previous Meeting PDF 240 KB
The Minutes of the meeting held on 1st November 2022 are attached for approval.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1st November 2022 be approved as a correct record.
Licensing Update Report PDF 159 KB
The purpose of this report is to provide
Members with an update on Licensing matters.
Consideration was given to a report from the Principal Licensing Officer, which provided Members with an update on Licensing matters.
Members were advised of the two strategic objectives that related to Licensing which were:
· To work with businesses to ensure they were licensed and compliant.
· To ensure safe passenger journeys, in safe licensed vehicles with safe licensed drivers
It was noted that there had been one further application considered by the Licensing Premises Panel since the previous Committee meeting. Officers continued to work with the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage trade to ensure effective communication and consultation took place. Officers continued to hold trade forum meetings which included Members of the Licensing Committee and representatives of Moorhey Street Testing Station.
Members were provided with details of the number of existing licences currently in force. The Licensing Driver Panel continued to sit monthly to hear applications for taxi licences, renewal or reviews of existing licences where offences, misconduct or any other relevant matter arises. Since the last Committee Hearing, there had been a total of 10 determinations by the Panel which were broken down to members and set out in section 2.6 of the report. There had been no emergency delegated decisions taken by the Trading Standards and Licensing Manager since the last Committee.
Members had previously been updated on GM Minimum Licensing Standards and had approved changes to the Taxi Licensing Policy to encompass recommendations as a result of the consultation on those standards, which were originally intended to dovetail with the GM Clean Air Plan. The Clean Air Plan was currently paused. The plan for Greater Manchester was sent to the Government in July this year, with the suggestion for a non-charging zone with funding. The Government had now responded to request further evidence which will not be considered until July 2023.
Members had previously approved a temporary extension to licensed vehicles, whereby they could continue to be licensed beyond the maximum age limit so as to benefit from any funding released by the Government linked with the Clean Air Scheme. GM Authorities were still waiting for a decision on the proposed plan and any funding which may become available. However, the temporary extensions to vehicles were due to come to an end on 30th June 2023.
Members were asked to consider a further extension for vehicles in order that they continue to be licensed pending a final decision being made by the Government. It was the view of the Officers that no further extensions should be granted, as no assurances funds had been received for non-compliant vehicles would be released and there were concerns that older vehicles continued to breach emission standards and added to pollution levels.
There continued to be regular changes to legislation and guidance affecting licensing together with consultations the summaries of which were detailed below:
· Awaiting consultation on the Governments levelling up agenda to review to the number of taxi licensing authorities;
· Awaiting release of the Governments Taxi and Private Hire best practice ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Front Plates Report PDF 226 KB
The purpose of this report is to request
approval for revisions to existing standards in relation to vehicle
Consideration was given to a report from the Principal Licensing Officer, which requested approval for revisions to existing standards in relation to vehicle front plates.
The Committee noted that Members were provided information which related to anti-social behaviour and trade requests to remove front plates at the Committee meeting in November 2022. At that time, Members were asked to consider a proposal to reduce the size of the front plates that were currently in use, in order to mitigate some of the anti-social behaviour shown towards licensed vehicles which were easily identifiable.
The Licensing Authority had been working with the trade on issues surrounding anti-social behaviour and associated vehicle attacks. The trade were asked to report matters to Greater Manchester Police and then to feed that information into the online reporting tool to better inform policy decisions going forward, particularly in respect of the request to remove front plates.
It was noted that there was insufficient data to warrant a request for the removal of front plates and was therefore suggested that a smaller front plate be approved for use. A summery of anti-social behaviour reports submitted since the facility was put in place in March 2022 was included at point 2.4 of the report. The proposed templates for the revised front plates for both private hire and hackney carriage vehicles were attached at Appendix 10.1 to the report.
Members had previously raised concerns over the impact of reducing the size of the plates on visually impaired vehicle users. As a result of those concerns, an Initial Assessment was completed to ascertain whether an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) was required, with the assistance of the Corporate Policy Lead Officer which was attached at Appendix 10.2 of the report. The outcome of the assessment was that an EIA was not required as the proposal was unlikely to disproportionately affect any groups. In addition, the requirements would still meet the GM Minimum Licensing Standards which already had a GM wide Equality Impact Assessment in place.
1. The report be noted.
2. The proposed templates for the revised front plates for both private hire and hackney carriage vehicles attached at Appendix 10.1 of the report be approved.