Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda item

Application for renewal of a Hackney Carriage Driver's licence

Minutes:

Officer introduction

The Licensing Team Leader introduced the application as set out in the report, for renewal of a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence, due to expire 25th July.  The applicant did not inform the Council or declare penalty points on his renewal form. 

 

Details of the offences are outlined in the background papers, including the interview outlining the licence holder’s reasons why he did not report them to Council.

 

Members’ questions to officer

None.

 

Applicant’s address

Mr Layton felt sure he had informed the Council of the penalty points (for speeding), though couldn’t recall if this was verbally or by phone.  He said he is not very good at filling out forms, and that subsequent to the interview with Council officers, he has details of where and when the speeding offences took place.

 

Members’ questions to applicant

In response to questions from Members, Mr Layton stated that:

-            He wasn’t eligible to go on a speed awareness course as he had done one just under three years previously, and drivers are only to undertake one course every three years;

-            He couldn’t remember whether he came to the Municipal Offices or telephoned to declare his penalty points.  He was informed that if he had come into the office, he would have been given a form to fill in;

-            He now understands the process, and the need to inform the Council of any penalty points in writing, witnessed by an officer.

 

Member debate

A member felt that a written warning should make it clear that the breach of policy – not letting the Council know – is the main issue here.  In response to a question from another member, the Licensing Team Leader confirmed that the enhanced driving test is similar to a standard practical driving test, but with a higher pass threshold, and at a cost of £40-50, undertaken through the Council’s supplier.

 

A member felt that the question is whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to drive the people of Cheltenham.  He found it difficult to give credence to the applicant’s story, said that taxi drivers should be reliable, and questioned whether the licence should be renewed.

 

Another member agreed  that failing to report the offences was the main issue, and felt that a written warning would be the best option – it is not a soft option, will stay on record, and be taken into account if the applicant ever comes back to Committee.  The Committee is not here to punish the applicant; if he continues to incur penalty points, he will be banned from driving.

 

Two members were concerned about the applicant’s vagueness concerning the speed at which he was travelling. Another member asked the applicant if he had had any other speeding tickets in the 18 years he has been a taxi driver; the applicant confirmed that he had, and had been on a speed awareness course on one occasion.  He also confirmed, in response to a question from a member, that he has been looking into getting cruise control fitted to his car, and will definitely have it in his next vehicle.

 

Applicant’s response

   Mr Layton agreed with all that had been said.  He stated again that it was the first time he had   filled out the form, and that the omission of the penalty points was a genuine mistake which he wants to rectify.

 

Vote:

To revoke Mr Layton’s Hackney Carriage driver’s licence:  1 in support, 4 in objection

To issue a written warning:  3 in support, 2 in objection

To require Mr Layton to complete and pass a driving assessment:  2 in support, 3 in objection

 

The Chair confirmed that the Committee won’t revoke Mr Layton’s licence, but issue a written warning which will stay on record.  The Committee will expect Mr Layton to declare any future points, and advise his colleagues to do the same.  He confirmed that Mr Layton can carry on driving, and that Officers will be in touch.

 

 

Supporting documents: