Agenda and minutes

Licensing Committee
Monday, 7th January, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: Sophie Butcher, Committee Officer. 01483 444056  Email: sophie.butcher@guildford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

L54

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tony Rooth and David Wright.

L55

Local Code of Conduct - Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must notparticipate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must also withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.

 

If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.

 

Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

 

 

Minutes:

No disclosure of interests were declared.

L56

Minutes pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 28 November 2018.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 28 November 2018 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

L57

Taxi and Private Hire Fees and and Charges 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

The Licensing Committee is asked to approve the variation to the methodology for calculating the Private Hire Operator Licence Fee for the production of the operator fee for 2019-20 and;

 

To approve the Taxi and Private Hire Fees and Charges for 2019-20 for public consultation to take effect from 1 April 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report regarding the proposed Taxi and Private Hire Fees and Charges for 2019-20.  The Committee approved the methodology for calculating taxi fees and charges in September 2016.  The methodology specified that all fees and charges were reconciled in a three-year rolling programme to ensure full cost recovery for the Council.  The Council were currently in the second year where reconciliation of accounts would recover any surplus or deficit.  

 

An increase in the fees and charges for licensed drivers, vehicles and operators was proposed for 2019-20.  The increase in fees and charges was fuelled by a reduction in the number of licensed drivers, vehicles and operators.  The reduction in Operator’s applications was due to the switch in 2016 from a 1 year to a 5-year licence.  The reduction in drivers and vehicles was due to a number of factors including some drivers pursuing licences with less stringent authorities that did not include livery and BTEC policies.  In addition, the proliferation of Uber had resulted in customers not using Guildford licenced drivers/vehicles.  Uber required drivers to be licenced by Transport for London (TfL).  As a result of the increased competition, some drivers had left the trade and not renewed reducing the number of applications.

 

Despite a reduced number of applications being received, officer time spent on processing had not reduced owing to using a different database and having a number of temporary staff in the Business Support Team.  The fee for Driver and Vehicle licences had been produced by removing some temporary staff time so the time was more reflective of the time spent when calculating the current fee.  This was due to officers concerns that the trade would be charged for the increased time spent on the Licensing function. 

 

The Committee discussed the report and considered whether there had been a steady decline in the number of applications received from drivers.  It was explained by the Licensing Team Leader that there was no cap in Guildford on the number of Hackney Carriages and that legislation did not allow a cap for private hire vehicles.  The Committee noted that there had been a reduction in the number of drivers applying and taking the Knowledge Test in Guildford.  There had also been a marked increase in the use of Uber in Guildford, which the trade had confirmed they were in fierce competition with.  Guildford licensed drivers would be able to start using card payment devices in their vehicles as of April 2019.

 

The Committee agreed that Guildford’s taxi licensed trade were at a disadvantage given that Uber’s decision to use drivers licensed by TFL had reduced the number of licensed drivers in Guildford.  Licensing Officers were therefore trying to engage with Uber over whether or not changes could be made in this respect.  Ultimately, primary legislation would need to be changed so that authorities across Britain had more control over who was licensed to drive taxis within their respective boroughs.  Guildford Borough Council set high standards for its drivers  ...  view the full minutes text for item L57

L58

Licensing Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted its work programme and that it would receive an updated work programme for 2019-20 at its next meeting in March 2019.