Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS. View directions

Contact: Mary Richards  Email: democratic.services@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

17.

Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence for the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hames.

 

18.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2019.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Hackett and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 July be agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

(Vote: For 7, Abstentions 1)    

 

19.

Action List pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

The updated action list was noted.

20.

Declarations of Interests

Members with interests to declare should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is being considered.

Minutes:

Members were reminded that declarations of interest should be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.

 

21.

Agreement of Agenda Items Part I and II

Minutes:

There were no Part II items.

22.

Urgent Matters of Information to be Brought Forward with the Permission of the Chair and the Committee

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters.

 

23.

Demand Study pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To receive the report of the Lead Licensing Officer.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Licensing Officer advised that under Government legislation and guidance, the Authority was required to undertake a formal hackney carriage demand survey every 3 years.  The study had been conducted by LVSA and the results were detailed in the report.  An explanation was given regarding the methodology used in the survey.  The benchmark for measuring unmet demand was a score of 80 or below and TDC had scored 49, which, although very low, was in fact much higher than it has ever been.

 

The findings of the study highlighted a positive licensed vehicle trade and concluded that there was no unmet demand.  Consequently, there was no reason to change the current restriction of 49 plates. However, future consideration should be given to ways of encouraging more vehicles to service the weekend night demand.  It was also noted that where vehicles were supplementing income during lower demand periods by taking telephone bookings care should be taken to ensure the number of vehicles at the rank did not reduce to the extent that there was a gap in service.

 

During the ensuing debate, the following points were raised:

 

·         That some form of shelter be provided at the taxi rank to protect customers from inclement weather.  It was understood that Bideford Town Council was looking at this.

 

·         Provision of a shelter would also deliver an opportunity for operators to display business cards which would assist customers should there be no vehicles at the rank.

 

Both recommendations were welcomed by the representatives of the Taxi Liaison Committee.

 

·         Concern was expressed that the bay was very narrow and posed a risk to safety.  The Lead Licensing Officer told the Committee that this had been discussed with DCC who had confirmed that the area complied with legislation.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Clarke and –

 

Resolved:

 

That a report be submitted to the HATOC Committee about amending the taxi rank area.

 

Councillor Inch declared an interest - dual-hatted sits on Devon County Council – and abstained from the vote.

 

(Vote: For 7, Abstentions 1)

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Clarke and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the retention of the limit on hackney carriage licence plates be approved.

 

(Vote: For – unanimous)

 

 

24.

Climate Change - Taxi Policies pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To receive the report of the Lead Licensing Officer.

Minutes:

The Lead Licensing Officer reminded the Committee that Torridge District Council had made a declaration to be carbon neutral by 2030 and that a climate change working group had been set up.  A number of policies, including the taxi policy, will be reviewed.

 

Councillor McGeough joined the meeting.

 

It was noted that some authorities were proposing to introduce Euro 4 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel) on a phased basis over a period of 3 - 5 years.  Transport for London was looking to introduce electric and hybrid vehicles but the configuration of such vehicles did not work for the taxi trade due batteries taking up boot space and travelling range being reduced to 20 – 22 miles.  London and the larger cities will, over the next 3 – 5 years, be able to provide the infrastructure to implement such measures.

 

A discussion took place during which it was noted that Euro 6 (diesel) was indeed very clean and might be the way forward for TDC. The question was asked whether TDC could offer any incentives, such as interest free loans for the purchase of more environmentally friendly vehicles.  The Lead Licensing Officer agreed to raise the idea of incentives with the Finance Department and to consult with the trade.

 

The Chair recapped on the discussions so far for the benefit of Councillor McGeough who in turn apologised for being late.

 

The report was noted and a further report will be brought back to this Committee after further development of the Council’s Carbon Plan has taken place.

 

25.

Taxi Rank Issues pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Licensing Officer reported on the meeting of the Taxi Rank Working Group which had identified only one viable option for a feeder rank.  The proposed traffic flow, detailed on a map appended to the report, was explained.

 

The Environmental Health and Community Safety Manager had raised some serious reservations about the proposal and these were detailed in the report.

 

Finally, the Lead Licensing Officer informed the Committee that, if a recommendation to adopt the proposal were made by the Licensing Committee, the recommendation would have to be brought to Community & Resources and the Harbour Board would need to be consulted.

 

Members discussed the proposal.  The Lead Licensing Officer confirmed that Devon County Council had not yet been consulted but this would form part of the process going forward.

 

It was noted that some Members who sit on Community & Resources and/or Harbour Board would have to be mindful that, if the licensing Committee were to make a recommendation, they would have to declare a predetermined interest when this item was presented to Community & Resources or the Harbour Board.

 

Councillor Inch expressed grave concerns about the safety of the public.

 

Councillor Bushby also had concerns for public safety but pointed out that even with the existing arrangement, cyclists and pedestrians still had to cross the area.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the feeder rank position proposed by the task and finish group be referred to the Community & Resources Committee for decision.

 

(Vote: For - unanimous)

 

26.

Consideration of the Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Minutes:

The Lead Licensing Officer told the Committee that a meeting had been scheduled for the end of January with a number of parties, including the police and publicans, to consider the introduction of a pub watch scheme.

 

It was requested that figures relating to the number of incidents attended by the police throughout the Torridge district be brought to the meeting on 4 December.  The Lead Licensing Officer will ask.

 

Complaints about incidents in public houses were often received by Councillors and there did not appear to be any way to find out how these had been handled.  All incidents should always be reported to the Licensing Team and must be substantiated as the ultimate sanction, to remove a licence, would have to be evidenced before a court.  It was requested that a report be bought to the January meeting detailing the occurrence, regularity and severity of incidents in public houses.

 

Councillor Hackett told the Committee about the Extraordinary Joint Meeting of TDC’s External Overview & Scrutiny Committee and North Devon Council’s Crime & Disorder Sub-Committee to be held on 31 October at 10.00am in the Town Hall Bideford.  Superintendent Toby Davies will be delivering an update on the Community Safety Partnership and it will be a good forum to discuss policing.

 

Work will commence next week on the Pioneer Project relating to biodiversity and a verbal update will be provided at the December meeting.