Venue: First Floor Committee Room 1P09 - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions
Contact: Corrina Haskins
Welcome and Safety Information
The Chair drew attention to the safety information.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Richard Eddy.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum. The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda. Public Forum items should be emailed to email@example.com and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-
Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5 pm on 11 September.
Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on16 September.
Please note, your time allocated to speak may have to be strictly limited if there are a lot of submissions. This may be as short as one minute
There were no public forum statements.
To confirm as a correct record for signing by the Chair.
RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting of 9th July 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Suspension of Committee Procedure Rules CMR10 and CMR11 Relating to the Moving of Motions and Rules of Debate
Recommended – that having regard to the quasi-judicial nature of the business
on the Agenda, those Committee Procedure Rules relating to the moving of
motions and the rules of debate (CMR10 and 11) be suspended for the duration
of the meeting.
RESOLVED – that having regard to the quasi-judicial nature of the business on the Agenda, those Committee Procedure Rules relating to the moving of motions and the rules of debate (CMR10 and 11) be suspended for the duration of the meeting.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
Recommended – that under Section 11A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972
the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1of Schedule 12A to the Act, as amended.
RESOLVED that under Section 11A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, as amended.
Application for the Renewal of a Private Hire Driver Licence and Renewal of a Private Hire Vehicle Licence GA
The Applicant was in attendance with his Legal Representative and Interpreter.
The Witness was not present and it was noted that this was due to an administrative error on the part of the Council.
The Legal Representative addressed the committee as follows:
· He would like the matter to proceed even though the Witness was not in attendance;
· This was the third time that the item had come to committee after having been adjourned on two previous occasions;
· The Applicant would like the issue concluded today to have clarification on whether he could continue working as a taxi driver;
· The Applicant had not been able to work since 16 June 2019 and as the sole breadwinner living with wife and daughter, he was suffering financial hardship and finding it difficult to pay his rent and feed his family;
· The Applicant had no other skills to find alternative work;
· The Applicant had provided his account of what had happened on more than one occasion, including a statement to the police.
At this point in the meeting, the Applicant, Legal Representative and Interpreter withdrew from the meeting while the committee considered whether to determine the application in the absence of the Witness. They returned to hear the decision.
Cllr Hance apologised on behalf of the Council for the administrative error which meant that the Witness was not present at the meeting as it was understood that the Witness was still willing to attend and give evidence to the Committee. She informed the Applicant that, although she accepted his financial hardship, the Committee was responsible for public safety and protection and could not take financial issues into account in making a decision. She advised the Applicant that if he was concerned about the extra expense incurred by the adjournment, he could raise this with the Licensing Manager. It had also been noted that although this was the third time the matter had been before Committee, the two previous adjournments had been requested on behalf of the Applicant.
RESOLVED – that consideration of the application be adjourned to the Public Safety and Protection Sub-Committee of 24th September 2019 to allow the Witness an opportunity to attend the meeting, and as consideration of the application had been adjourned before, the application would be determined at the meeting of 24th September irrespective of whether the Witness was in attendance.
To seek consideration of whether the driver is 'fit and proper' following on from an investigation by the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team JM
The Licence Holder was in attendance with his Legal Representative and three supporters.
The Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET) Officer outlined the background to the investigation as follows:
· The investigation had followed a complaint by a member of the public that the Licence Holder had failed to safely and securely transport a wheelchair using passenger during a journey from Bristol Temple Meads to Bristol Royal Marriot Hotel and as a result of this, the wheelchair had fallen over and the passenger bumped his head and had to attend the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at the hospital for a CT scan;
· The Licence Holder’s current licence was due to expire in 2020;
· On 7 July 2019 the complaint had been received via Council’s website;
· The Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer had spoken to the complainant and due to the fact that she did not live locally, the Complainant had offered to take witness statements and forward them to the NET Team via email;
· She had studied the CCTV footage from Bristol Temple Meads and had documented what she saw, a copy of which had been circulated to all parties;
· The Licence Holder had attended an interview with NET officers accompanied by his Legal Representative where a prepared statement was read out and the Licence Holder exercised his right to not answer any of the questions other than to confirm that he did know how to secure a wheelchair and he had attended the Gold Standard Course. The Licence Holder had also denied the alleged conversation with the Complainant and her husband outside the Royal Marriot Hotel and confirmed that he had not reported the incident to the police. The interview was paused twice at the request of the Legal Representative and after the second time, the Licence Holder exercised his right to withdraw from the interview;
· The Licence Holder had been asked to bring his vehicle to the interview, but it was being repaired at the time in a garage and he brought it to the Licensing Office at a later date and successfully demonstrated how to secure a wheelchair;
· The safety of the public was the overall concern of the Council and officers recommended that the Licence Holder should have his Driver’s Licence revoked as he could not be considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence due to his neglect of duty and causing an avoidable trauma to vulnerable passenger.
In response to questioning the NET Officer confirmed that the CCTV was not available for the Committee to view as the Council did not have the appropriate software but she had viewed it at Bristol Temple Meads and, as an authorised officer, had documented the film.
The Witness gave the following account:
· Her family were getting together in Bristol for the wedding of her son;
· Her father was of delicate health, having undergone brain surgery in 2018, and he was currently in intensive care;
· Her father had been looking forward to traveling to Bristol from his ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
Application for the Renewal of a Private Hire Driver Licence MC
The Applicant was in attendance with two representatives.
The Licensing Officer outlined the background to the application as follows:
· The application was for the renewal of a Licence which had expired on 12 August;
· On renewal the Applicant had declared driving convictions and on carrying out a search on his Driver’s Licence he was found to have 9 penalty points;
· In relation to the CU80 offence, the applicant was convicted in November 2017 at Bristol Magistrates’ Court where he received six penalty points and a fine;
· The Applicant had entered a plea of exceptional hardship which was accepted by the court and meant that he was not disqualified from driving;
· The Applicant had not notified the Council at the time of the offence which he should have done so in accordance with the conditions of his licence;
· The Applicant had previously renewed two licences online without declaring his motoring offences;
· The Council was unable to consider exceptional hardship as different criteria applied for the granting of PHD Licences.
· He commended that the Committee be guided by Council policy in determining the application.
The Applicant’s Representative presented his case as follows:
· He asked the Committee to consider reinstating the Applicant’s licence;
· He confirmed that there was no dispute over what had happened and the Applicant had pleaded guilty to the first 2 offences of speeding and driving through a red traffic light;
· In relation to the third offence of answering a mobile phone while driving, the Applicant was awaiting a telephone call from a consultant regarding the result of hospital tests;
· He accepted that he had taken a call while driving and this was a serious offence, but there were mitigating circumstances;
· In relation to the non-declaration of these offences, the Applicant had not deliberately withheld this information. He did not have the literacy skills in English to complete the form and so he had attended the Licencing Office where he was helped to do so using the online form. He had no recollection of being asked about his offences at these times. In applying for his current licence he was asked to declare his offences and this was the first time he recollected being asked to do so;
The Applicant confirmed that his failure to declare his convictions was a genuine mistake and that he had been driving for 20 years without any complaints. The Licensing Officer confirmed that there were no complaints in relation to the Applicant.
The Applicant’s Representative:
· asked the Committee to consider the mitigating circumstances and consider his personal circumstances;
· confirmed that the Applicant was not a threat to public safety and that it had been nearly 2 years since the last conviction;
· asked the impact on the Applicant and his family would be disproportionate.
At this point in the meeting the Applicant and his representatives and Licensing Officer withdrew from the meeting while the Committee considered the application. They returned to the meeting to hear the decision.
RESOLVED – that the application for a Private ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
Application for the Grant of a Private Hire Driver Licence SA
The Applicant was in attendance with his wife.
· This was an application for private hire driver’s licence, the Applicant’s previous licence had expired in 2016 but no application had been made to renew it until June 2017 when it was refused by this Committee;
· In his application, the Applicant had not made a full disclosure of his previous convictions;
· The Applicant had a number of previous convictions, 10 in total, and the most relevant for the Committee were convictions listed in the report as 8-10 as these had not been considered before;
· These convictions related to a road rage incident and breaches of community orders associated with the initial offence;
· The Council’s Policy advised a period of 5 – 10 years free of conviction before granting a licence in the case of a violent offences and 5-8 years for damage to property;
· Officers were recommending that the application be refused in accordance with Council Policy.
The Applicant outlined his case as follows:
· He regretted the Road Rage incident and confirmed that it was out of character to act in that way and he was not a violent person;
· He was going through a bad period at the time of the incident as he lost both his parents in a short space of time and his wife was suffering from depression;
· He was a father to 5 children and his wife and children had suffered as a result of his actions;
· In relation to the community orders, he was not able to undertake the work due to illness but his sick note had not arrived in time;
· In relation to the Road Rage incident, he had taken his children out early to buy sandwiches for a school trip and while approaching a roundabout, a car cut in front of him which nearly resulted in him losing control of the vehicle. He was angry with the car driver for driving dangerously, especially as his children were passengers in his car and when both vehicles stopped at a set of traffic lights an argument escalated with both him and the other driver being abusive to each other.
The Applicant’s wife spoke in support of her husband:
· They had been married for 22 years;
· He was a good father and husband;
· The incident was out of character;
· He was a well-respected member of the community and often approached by his neighbours for help;
· He had learnt from his mistakes.
At this point in the meeting the Applicant, his wife and the Licensing Officer withdrew from the meeting while the Committee considered the application. They returned to the meeting to hear the decision.
RESOLVED – that the application for a Private Hire Driver’s Licence be REFUSED in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 Section 51(1)(a) as the Applicant could not be considered a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Driver’s Licence for the following reasons:
Under the Council’s ... view the full minutes text for item 28.