This report gives officers the opportunity to update members of the committee on work of note, progress on any projects, changes in legislation and look ahead to any significant events that lie ahead.
During the discussion, the following points were made:-
· Councillors queried what licensing information was held on the council’s website.
The Licensing Specialist advised that there was a lot of information held on the website to help assist licence holders with their responsibilities and to guide them on the different processes to follow. Complaints made against licence holders were not held as part of that information.
· Concern was raised on the properties at West Bay Residential Park.
The Licensing Specialist advised that since the report had been published, a compliance notice had been served. The geo-technical report suggested that stabilisation works could be done on the proviso that the cliff works were carried out. The notice had now changed to ask that the impacted homes were moved.
· Councillors queried whether the Licensing Department were involved with the work that was carried out by the Covid Marshalls.
The Licensing Specialist advised that Licensing were involved and that the marshals reported to a Covid Compliant Manager who met with the other responsible parties to discuss any complaints that had been received and who then decided on any necessary action to be taken.
· Councillors suggested that a GPS system should be installed in all taxi vehicles to help reduce the amount of accidents or prevent cases of assault.
The Licensing Specialist advised that there was no requirement but he was happy to investigate further.
· Councillors requested clarification on the extension available for pavement licences mentioned in the update report.
The Licensing Specialist gave clarification.
· Councillors queried whether there had been any increase in taxi driver applications from operators outside the council area since 2019.
The Licensing Specialist advised that the council had adopted a policy to ensure that any drivers applying from outside the area had to prove they would be predominantly working within the council area, which had dealt with that issue.
· Councillors asked for a progress update on the amalgamation of the old West Somerset and Taunton Deane licensing policies.
The Licensing Specialist advised that work had been carried out on the old policies but had not yet been completed.
· Councillors queried whether the proportion of private hire licences compared to hackney carriage licences was reasonable.
The Licensing Specialist advised that the department had previously carried out an unmet demand review, which highlighted that a limit of taxi licences would go against good practice and was not required within the area.
· Councillors queried whether taxi safety checks were still being carried out.
The Licensing Specialist advised that the multi-agency checks were still being carried out but could not disclose the dates they would be done.
· Councillors queried why there was only fifteen saloon licences as they would like to see more inclusion of other types of vehicles.
The Licensing Specialist agreed and advised that it would be looked at as part of some work to ensure more types of vehicles were included. He also highlighted that officers would also calculate the amount of vehicles that would be required to be wheelchair accessible, to ensure that the inclusion of different types of vehicles would not exclude different groups of customers.
· Concern was raised that not all types of disabilities were included in the requirements for taxi vehicles.
The Licensing Specialist advised he would look at examples of best practices for ideas of ways to include different types of requirements.
· Councillors requested clarification on street trading licences and whether individual traders had to apply for their own consent or whether they were covered under a ‘blanket’ consent.
The Licensing Specialist advised that if it was an event, then traders would be covered under a ‘blanket’ consent. However, it depended on how the event had been organised. If it was an individual street trader, they would need to apply for all the relevant consents themselves.
Resolved that the Committee noted the Licensing Update Report.