Appendix 1 Consultation Responses 1 Extract from Taxi

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					Appendix 1: Consultation Responses

      1. Extract from Taxi Consultation Forum Minutes 13th September 2006

 5.      HACKNEY DEMAND SURVEY

         5.1   DJB referred to the sequence of reports which has been presented to
               Environment Scrutiny and Licensing Committees and is due to be
               considered by the Executive on 26th September.
         5.2   He specifically referred to the letter submitted by the HCA dated 1st
               September seeking further consultation on the issue.
         5.3   All three Trade representatives indicated that they were opposed to the
               proposal to de-limit the issue of hackney carriage licenses. The following
               points were specifically raised:
               i.       Trade requested a full copy of the Consultant’s report – agreed.

               ii.        It was agreed that there was currently a shortage of ranks and that
                          this would have to be addressed.

               iii.       The Trade felt that extra ranks, that had been provided in the past,
                          had not been successful.
               iv.        The Trade felt that there was no scope for additional ranks and
                          cab numbers and that drivers would be unable to make a decent
                          living.

      2. Minute from Environment Scrutiny Committee 16th August 2006

       5.       Hackney Carriage Licences

  Matters       Sue Graham:
 Discussed
                      •    She reported on options regarding the determination of Hackney
                           Carriage Licences, including delimitation, and sought a
                           recommendation from the Committee to the Executive.

                Members discussed the three options available and made the following
                points;

                      •   Use of only one main rank had not provided a good service to date

                      •   Option three would increase free enterprise, increase the choice of
                          Hackney Carriages and reduce plying for hire by private hire
                          vehicles


  IT WAS        That Option three involving delimitation be recommended to the Executive,
 AGREED         as this would realise the customer benefits of increased choice, improve
                Public safety and remove the requirement for periodic demand of Surveys.
3. Minute from Licensing Committee 12th September 2006

 24.      Hackney Carriage Licences

          Mr. Abdul Shakoor and Mr. Alan Hosker exercised their Right To Speak on
          this item.

          Mr Abdul Shakoor represented the Hackney Carriage drivers. He indicated
          that the drivers felt the Council should maintain their limits and not issue
          additional licences.

          Mr Alan Hosker indicated that he was waiting for his application for a
          Hackney Carriage licence to be determined. He further indicated that he
          intended to challenge the Council and would take legal action if his
          application was refused.

          Karen Davies reported on the process of determining the level of Hackney
          Carriage Licences and seeking a recommendation from this Committee for
          Executive Decision.

          She indicated that Burnley had limited the number of Hackney Carriage
          Licences that it issues to 34 and currently all are in use, in October 2003 a
          survey of demand found there would be an unmet demand within the
          Borough and recommended an increase in the number of Licences
          available. As a consequence, in April 2004 the Executive decided to phase
          in, over four years, the issue of a further 18 Hackney Carriage Licences.

          She further indicated that in September 2005, following concerns submitted
          by the Hackney Carriage Trade, and the Executive agreed to commission a
          further demand survey and defer the issue of additional Licences until the
          results of the survey were known.

          She highlighted the outcome of demand survey was unpredictable. Reliant
          on service to justify limitation and number of Licences places the Council in
          a vulnerable position when considering the obligations, and places the
          Council at continuing risk of judicial review and claims of mal-
          administration.

          She further highlighted that there were three options to move forward, and
          the three options were available to the Council. She indicated that the
          report provided an Options Appraisal attached to Appendix 1 comparing the
          implications of each option across the range of legal, enforcement, trade
          and customer issues.

          She also highlighted that the Head of Legal & Personnel had indicated that
          delay beyond October 2006 should be avoided which meant securing an
          Executive Decision on the 26th September, by which time all necessary
          consultation would be required to have taken place.

          Members raised the following points:-


          There was concerned expressed the way taxi survey’s were being carried
          out in Burnley. He highlighted that Hackney Carriages do not pick
          passengers up from super markets or railway stations and that drivers do
          not respond to hailing from the street.

          It was said that the business should be more competitive and the Council
          needs to cut down on Private Hire Vehicles plying for hire illegally therefore
          she supported option three.
             Members asked how many Hackney Carriage Taxi Stands were in
             operation through out Burnley.

             Peter Henderson reported that altogether the Borough had 15 stands and 9
             were in use. He indicated that some stands were in use at night only and
             that the Highways Authority was looking at introducing taxi ranks to other
             sites.

             Sue Graham reported that under the new shopping centre development the
             developer had been asked to include rank provision within their proposals.

RESOLVED     That the Executive be recommended to agree Option 3 which would be to
             delimit the number of licences issued by the Council and open up the
             market to competition. This approach would be in line with the Office of Fair
             Trading’s recommendation. This deals with public safety issues arising from
             Private Hire Vehicles illegally plying-for-hire, removes the need to
             continuously review demand, and allows market forces to determine the
             success or failure of a business venture. In this situation all applications
             received which satisfy the conditions would be approved.

             This would realise the customer benefits of increased choice and improved
             Public safety, and remove the requirement for periodic demand surveys.


 5. Submission to Burnley Borough Council on the issue of delimitation of
    Taxi Licences from Aubrey Isaacson Solicitors on behalf of Burnley
    Hackney Carriage Association – dated 6th November 2006.


       1.The starting point is the fact that the Licensing Committee at Burnley Borough
       Council resolved on the 12th September 2006 to opt for delimitation of taxi
       licences. (Licensing Committee did not make that decision – it is a decision only
       the Executive can make)

       2. There was no adequate consultation prior to this decision being arrived at and
       the decision flew in the face of the conclusions of a TPI survey report
       commissioned by Burnley Borough Council which was only two months old that
       there was no unmet need for Hackney carriages within the Burnley area.
       Indeed, in that report there were various comments including one form the Police
       representative that no further taxis would be welcome because of the existing
       congestion and lack of taxi ranks.

       3. Following the Licensing Committee decision Councillor Bullas is quoted by the
       local press as saying that if Burnley did not grant extra licences they could be
       taken to Court by the applicants which could cost them a lot of money. Councillor
       Bullas’s fears of applicants taking this Council to the Crown Court if their
       applications for licenses are turned down and it costing this Council a lot of
       money are completely unfounded. The legal position is that as a result of the
       provisions of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and section 16 of the Transport
       Act 1985 ‘the Council has power to limit by number the Hackney Carriage
       Licences issued but only if it is satisfied that there is no significant demand for
       such services which is unmet’. Here the very recent survey showing that there is
       no unmet need would make the Council bullet proof against any such
       applications to the Crown Court should the Council refuse applications for
       licences. Such applications would be almost certain to fail. On the other hand if
       the Council were to opt for delimitation the likelihood of a six figure sum in costs
       being awarded against the Council in the Administrative Court on an application
by the Burnley Hackney Carriage Association is a considerable one. The
reference by Karen Davies in her report to the Executive of 26th September 2006
that the Council would be at risk because of applications received prior to the
September 2006 survey is wrong. The Court would look at the current position
and the Council would be full entitled to rely on the current not previous survey.
(The Council’s concern about legal challenge is on the non-determination of
licence applications and the delay caused by having to wait for a further survey,
rather than the risk caused by previous applications being turned down)

4. The decision of the Licensing Committee subsequently endorsed the Scrutiny
Committee decision of 16th August 2006. (Neither committee decided on the
level of HC licences, they merely made a recommendation to the Executive)

5. I was then instructed by Burnley Hackney Carriage Association and wrote to
the Council on 19th September 2006 with various submissions. I was then invited
to represent the BHCA at a consultation forum meeting which took place on
Friday 3rd November 2006. Present at that meeting on behalf of the Council were
Karen Davies and Peter Henderson from the Licensing Office, David Brown
Director of Environment and Councillors Birtwistle and Horrocks. Reference was
made at that meeting to the Office of Fair Trading Report November 2003 which
recommended delimitation. That report, however, was considered by the
Parliamentary Committee of Transport in November 2004 and was heavily
criticised as being seriously flawed. The Government considered that ultimately
Local Authorities remain best placed to determine local transport needs and
should be given the opportunity to assess their own needs in the light of the OFT
findings rather than the Government imposing a legislative solution.

6. The Government issued a Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Best
Practice Guidance which was also referred to at the consultation forum. That
Best Practice Guidance should be referred to in full as to the relevant sections
relating to limitation. At the forum the Council representatives stressed only that
the Government was in favour of delimitation. In any event the Best Practice
Guidance is only the advice from Government and is not in any way compulsory.
The Guidance moreover sets out in great detail the need for consultation and
the questions that should be asked in relation to consultation. It stresses
the need for a survey which has, of course, been carried out very recently.
The conclusions of that survey were that there is no unmet need have been
ignored by the Licensing Committee as have the Government’s recommendations
for extensive consultation.

7. A very similar situation arose in Watford very recently. A Mr Sardar took
Watford Borough Council to the Administrative Court and the case was heard on
the 30th June 2006. In that case a decision was arrived at to delimit without
adequate consultation on the 5th September 2005. A further Council meeting on
the 20th October 2005 following a degree of consultation endorsed the original
decision to delimit but the Judge decided that the consultation subsequent to the
decision to delimit had not taken place at a time when proposals were still at the
formative stage and the Judge overturned the decision. The Burnley situation is
even clearer than the situation in Mr Sardar’s case (where the Council took their
decision prior to carrying out a further three year survey following the one that
had been carried out in 2001). In this case in Burnley a further survey has been
carried out and the result was published just a few months or so ago which
showed no unmet need. To ignore that decision as has been done by the
Scrutiny Committee and then the Licensing Committee would be completely
contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Rv North and East Devon HA ex
parte Coghlan 2001 QB213 at para 108 where it was said “it is common ground,
that whether or not consultation of interested parties and the public is a legal
requirement, if it is embarked upon it must be carried out properly. To be proper,
consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at the formative stage; it
must include sufficient reasons for particular proposals to allow those consulted
to give intelligent consideration and intelligent response; adequate time must be
given for this purpose and the product of consultation must be conscientiously
taken into account when the ultimate decision is taken. Rv Brent London
Borough Council ex parte Gunning 1985, 84 LGR at page 168” Losing the
Sardar case cost Watford Borough Council £127,000 in legal costs. (The
decision to delimit was not taken by either Licensing or Scrutiny Committee, they
were consultees and were asked to make a recommendation on one of 3 options
as part of the consultation to this report)

8. Numerous Councils which have decided to opt for delimitation have gone back
to restriction because of the chaos which ensued. In the case of Burnley there
are 34 Hackney Carriage licence holders who because of the limited custom
available from the public are finding it difficult to make a reasonable living. To
flood the market with extra licences (it is understood that there are 66 applicants
waiting for a decision as in the Sardar case where there were 56) would serve in
detriment of the public interest by destroying the trade altogether and pushing out
of business the existing licence holders who have experience and lengthy service
in the trade. It is understood that many of the applicants for new licences are
private hire operators who would like to be able to ply for hire. There is no pot of
gold at the end of the taxi rank rainbow notwithstanding what some people may
think. Ms Davies assertion that “current plate values in Burnley can exceed
£20,000” is utter fiction. If delimitation took place and numerous new licences
were granted there would clearly not be enough custom to go around or ranks to
accommodate the taxis. Chaos would ensue and the public would suffer. ( the
market is unlikely to be ‘flooded’ – new entrants would need to purchase a black
cab and meet all the stringent conditions attached to the licence before they can
enter the market – a 10 to 30% increase is most likely)

9. If, for example, there were a factory operating efficiently and having 34
workers working full time but with 66 people waiting outside wanting to apply for
jobs no rational person would say that the 34 existing workers should go onto job
sharing in order to give the 66 outside an opportunity.

10. The law is clear in that you do not have to take into consideration the
livelihoods of the existing licence holders and your sole consideration should be
the benefit of the public. There is however not one shred of evidence that the
public would be any better if delimitation was put into effect and indeed the
likelihood is that the public would suffer considerably and the service would
deteriorate rather than improve. At the moment there is only one rank where it is
worthwhile the taxis waiting for custom, which is outside the bus station. At the
other ranks the taxi drivers can wait there all day and not get more than perhaps
one fare. Even driving round the town waiting for someone to hail the cab
provides very little custom.

11. The survey in fact reveals the situation that there are in fact too many taxis at
present in Burnley with inadequate ranks. It is not a situation of queues of people
waiting for taxis. Instead there are queues of taxis waiting for people. There is
not one shred of evidence before the Licensing Committee or before this
Council to show that there is a need for more taxis. The question therefore
arises as to why the Licensing Committee arrived at the decision to delimit. On
the face of it that decision is irrational, illogical and not one to which any
reasonable public body properly directing itself should have arrived at. (The
Licensing Committee did not take the decision to delimit).

12. There is one final point which this Council should seriously take into account.
At the moment 100% of Hackney Carriage drivers in Burnley are Muslim/Asian
ethnic origins. Hackney Carriage drivers have had to put up with a considerable
amount of racial abuse with people throwing eggs and stones at their taxis.
Bearing in mind the survey report that there is no unmet need a decision to
delimit in these circumstances could be interpreted as the Council wanting to
        push ethnic Asians out of the trade in order to get more white drivers in. I am not
        suggesting for one moment that that consideration would play a part in any
        decision by this Council but there is a considerable risk that that is how a decision
        to delimit would be interpreted. This is particularly so bearing in mind the
        considerable press coverage which was given to the election to this Council of
        members of the British National Party.

        13. The last thing that the Burnley Hackney Carriage Association would wish to
        have to happen is for them to have to take this Council to the Administrative
        Court. Their livelihoods are, however, at stake and if a decision to delimit were
        approved by this Council they would be left with no alternative. In the light of the
        decision in the Sardar case in my view they would be highly likely to succeed.

        14. There is an old saying that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it’. In this case the
        need of the citizens of Burnley for Hackney Carriages is more than adequately
        met and ‘it ain’t broke!’.



6. Burnley and Pendle Bus Company –17th November 2006


Have concerns about additional Hackney Carriages blocking bus routes/access to the
bus station. Have concerns about competition from additional Hackney Carriages on
marginal bus routes in evenings and at weekends.



7. Bus Station Management –16th November 2006

The Hackney Carriages using the rank at the bus station often cause problems for buses
getting in and out. The Taxis should use the other ranks that are provided, as well as
Croft Street. He is generally in favour of delimitation because he feels that it would
improve transport services to the public and be complimentary to bus services. He
considers that the taxis currently provide a poor service to the public at present.



8. Burnley Disabled People’s Network – extracts from minutes of
   meetings held in August and September

Say that the quality of the vehicles is poor and that the drivers need training in how to
provide a better service to the disabled. Gave numerous examples of inappropriate
treatment to disabled customers, including refusal to take disabled people.



9. Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee – emailed on 13th
   November 2006

They have concerns about the training of taxi drivers, and would support any action that
increased the number of modern and more accessible vehicles operating in the area.
10. Police – Note of meeting between Sue Graham, Inspector Damian
   Darcy and Inspector Dave Croll, 21st November 2006.


   The Police do not consider delimitation to be a potential problem, they feel that after
   an initial period of uncertainty the market will find its balance, and there will be no
   great impact on the number of Hackney Carriage vehicles on the road.

   The Police consider the black cabs to be a safer vehicle for drivers. The drivers have
   better protection from verbal and physical assault in a black cab.

   An increase in the number of Hackney Carriage vehicles on the road at busy times
   would help in the dispersal of crowds from the town centre on busy nights, it would
   help reduce the bunching of customers on Hammerton Street and Lower St James’s
   Street, reduce the opportunity for disorder and therefore improve safety for the public.

   They would be prepared to advise and assist the Council in dealing with any
   withdrawal of service or other issue which might arise if the Council changes its policy
   on the number of Hackney Carriage vehicles to be licensed.

				
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Description: Appendix 1 Consultation Responses 1 Extract from Taxi