MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON 17 JANUARY 2006 COMMENCING AT 4.00 PM
Cllrs Arthur Taylor (Chairman), Henry Adams, William Burt, George Cameron, Mike Cunningham, John Fitzgerald-Bond, Barbara Foster, Susan Scoccia, Julian Whittaker, David Williams
Cllrs Charles Chapman, Muriel Miller, Brian Mosdell, David Whittaker
THAT subject to the addition of the words “ relating to taxi use” after the words “to the market” detailed in the third line at the top of page A-2, of Minute 2 (a), the second sentence of the second paragraph, the Minutes of the meeting of the Regulatory Committee held on 5 July 2005, be confirmed.
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Interests were declared in the following matters:
Mrs B Foster declared a personal interest in Minute 5 – Amalgamation of Existing Hackney Carriage Licensing Zones, as a taxi driver and previous IW Councillor, Mr T Coburn, was known to her.
5. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Mr D Pritchard with regard to benefits resulting from the removal of separate taxi zones (PQ 01/06).
Mr N McGrath with regard to the possibility of designating areas for the taxi trade to operate regardless of which zone or area in which a large event is to be held (PQ 02/06)
Mr S Goundry with regard to what had taxi de-zoning to do with grants that the Council could receive from the Government (PQ 03/06)
Mrs J H Rounsevell with regard to the perceived effect of “healthy competition” between taxis. (PQ 04/06)
Prior to any discussion on the following item of business Mr J R Adams declared a prejudicial interest in Minute 6, Amalgamation of Existing Hackney Carriage Licensing Zones, as Mr D Pritchard was a personal friend. Mr Adams withdrew from the Council Chamber.
6. REPORT OF THE HEAD OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
During the course of the debate Mr J Whittaker declared a personal interest in this item, as Mrs J Rounsevell was known to him and took no part in the discussion or voting thereon.
Mrs J Rounsevell, spokesperson for the hackney carriage proprietors and drivers in attendance, addressed the Committee by outlining the reasons for their objection to the Council’s intention to amalgamate all existing hackney carriage licensing zones into a single hackney carriage licensing zone and expressing dismay at the timing of the report. Mention was made of the MORI Poll that had been commissioned by the Council in 2000, regarding de-zoning. Mrs Rounsevell expressed the view that prior to any decision being taken more consultation with the taxi trade would be beneficial and called for a further public survey to be undertaken. Mrs Rounsevell indicated that the taxi trade would be content to abide with any decision arising from a new survey.
The report of the Head of Consumer Protection was referred to, which set out the background and reasons for a single licensing area for taxis comprising of the whole of the Isle of Wight and to apply Section 171(4) of the Public Health Act 1875. The Regulatory Committee, at its meeting on 5 July 2005, had supported that a formal submission to that effect be actioned but due to procedural irregularities the Secretary of State had refused approval. The Council had now addressed those procedural irregularities by giving the requisite notice needed to all Town and Parish Councils and by placing notices in the Isle of Wight County Press indicating their intention to pass a resolution. Members noted that once the Secretary of State had authorized dezoning on the island the decision could not be reversed. The awaited Best Practice Guide for Local Authorities about the taxi trade had also now been published and the Department of Transport welcomed the creation of a single hackney carriage zone for taxi licensing.
Written expressions of support had been received from Shanklin Town Council, Wootton Bridge Parish Council and Gurnard Parish Council. Nine letters had been received from hackney carriage proprietors in opposition to the amalgamation of the hackney carriage zones.
The Committee having heard from the licensing department, the spokesperson for the interested parties in attendance and having confirmed that they had previously read all of the papers set out in the report, were of the view that they maintained their intention to pass the resolution to amalgamate all existing hackney carriage zones to form one single zone on the Isle of Wight. The Committee were of the opinion that they had heard nothing sufficient to dissuade them from their intention and the benefits of creating a single taxi zone remained as compelling now as it had been at the meeting of the Committee on 5 July 2005.
The Committee were satisfied that the procedural requirement for the requisite notice to parish and community councils and the advertisement in a local newspaper had been met.
THAT Section 171(4) of the Public Health Act 1875 be applied in order to amalgamate all of the existing hackney carriage zones to create a single hackney carriage zone for hackney carriages licensing on the Isle of Wight and that a formal submission be made to the Secretary of State to that effect.