The Director of Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on proposed amendments to Taxi Licensing Policy and also in relation to a review of Taxi Licensing Conditions.
Members were advised that the Authority currently had a policy whereby no taxis would be dual plated. The Interim Licensing Manager advised that Officers now considered it appropriate to make the dual plating of vehicles available but only as a grandfather right.
The Committee was advised that the new DVLA two part driving licences meant that the photo card licence must be valid and in date before a taxi drivers’ licence could be granted or renewed, otherwise insurance policies might be invalid.
The Interim Licensing Manager advised that Members should consider whether to scrap the age limit on licensed vehicles and instead consider whether to licence or relicense a vehicle based on its current mileage. Members were requested to consider the level at which a vehicle should not be relicensed.
Councillor A Burlton stated that the figure of 350,000 miles as a limit for not relicensing a vehicle was too high and should be 250,000 miles at the most. He commented that limits of 100,000 miles for a first licence and 140,000 miles for purpose built taxis were largely irrelevant and should be removed from the proposed policy amendment. This was agreed by Members.
Councillor R Beeching stressed that both parts of the DVLA driving licence had to be presented in court. The Interim Licensing Manager advised that Officers could already request to see both parts of a taxi driver’s DVLA licence.
In response to a query from Councillor Mrs R Cheswright, the Interim Licensing Manger provided a definition of the grandfather rights of taxi drivers under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.
Councillor B Wrangles raised an issue relating to Herford Taxi Drivers parking on the pedestrian footway adjacent to Bircherley Green Multi-storey Car Park. She commented on whether the Police or Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) could take any action to prevent taxis parking in this location, as pedestrians, particularly disabled people, were having to move out into the road to get past.
The Interim Licensing Manager advised that CEOs had to observe an illegally parked vehicle for 5 minutes before a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) could be issued. He believed that this was unlikely to be a high priority issue for Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Members were advised that Officers could issue penalty points to address a particular pattern of illegal parking, but an accumulation of 12 points would result in a Licensing Sub-Committee hearing. Members were advised that on receipt of a third warning letter, a Taxi Driver would attend a hearing and Members would have to consider whether it was appropriate to revoke the licence.
The Interim Licensing Manager commented that Members could consider whether to extend the period for penalty points remaining live on a Taxi Driver’s Licence. Members would need to consider whether it was appropriate to jeopardise a Taxi Driver’s livelihood for parking in a pedestrian area.
The Committee received the report.
RESOLVED – that (A) amendments to the Taxi Licensing Policy, as now amended, be approved;
(B) amendments to the code of conduct and penalty points scheme be approved; and
(C) the Committee Chairman write to the Executive Member for Planning Policy and Economic Development in respect of options to address the issue of Hertford Taxi Drivers parking on the pedestrian footway adjacent to Bircherley Green Multi-storey Car Park.