Venue: Committee Room C - Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@crawley.gov.uk
Disclosures of Interest
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, councillors are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
No disclosures of interest were made.
Councillors Ali, Ayling, Bounds, Burgess, Irvine, Jaggard, Jones, Khan, Morris, Mullins, Noyce and Peck confirmed that they had received some form of lobbying in respect of agenda item 4 – Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey 2022.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 7 November 2022.
The minutes of the meeting of the Licensing Committee held on 7 November 2022 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Public Question Time
To answer any questions asked by the public which relate to an item on this agenda and which are in line with the Council’s Constitution.
Public Question Time will be concluded by the Chair when all questions have been answered or on the expiry of a period of 15 minutes, whichever is the earlier.
No questions from the public were asked.
To consider report HCS/054 of the Head of Community Services.
The Committee considered a presentation from LVSA on the Unmet Demand Survey 2022 (attached as appendix A to these minutes), along with report HCS/054 of the Head of Community Services. The Health, Safety and Licensing Team Leader presented the report, which set out details of the latest Crawley hackney carriage unmet demand survey. The survey was due to be conducted in 2020/21 but was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so had instead been carried out throughout the latter half of 2022 and early part of 2023. The findings of the survey indicated that there was no significant level of unmet demand from members of the public for the services of hackney carriage vehicles in the area (although demand had increased slightly since the prior survey, conducted in 2017). The Committee was therefore recommended to consider whether to retain the existing policy of limiting the number of hackney carriage vehicle licenses (currently set at 123).
The Committee was further advised that the Council maintained a policy of retaining a mixed fleet of hackney carriage vehicles, including wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to cater for the varying needs of service users. Currently, WAV vehicles make up approximately 19% of the hackney carriage fleet. The Council was committed to meeting the needs of the travelling public in Crawley including those who have disabilities of any nature and/wider support needs. In addition to the mandatory disability awareness training all drivers were required to undertake, there was also mandatory wheelchair training, which all hackney carriage drivers would be expected to take, along with safeguarding training for all of the Trade by a prescribed date.
The Committee Chair invited the Chair of Crawley Hackney Carriage Association (Mr Bhatti) to speak on the item. Matters raised included the impact generally on the trade due to the challenges post Covid-19 pandemic and the changes in the night-time economy. It was noted that the Trade were of the view that business had declined since September last year, especially at the Crawley station rank and consequently retaining the existing policy of limiting the number of hackney carriage vehicle licenses was welcomed.
The Committee then discussed the presentation and report. The following matters and views were raised:
· The issues at the High Street and Station ranks were noted in terms of enforcement and provision and it was hoped these could be given future consideration.
· Concern raised over the potential impact on the trade and residents arising from the proposed changes to Three Bridges railway station. The outcome would be following consideration of the application by the Local Planning Authority.
· Signage and promotional material were currently being produced in order to increase awareness and profile of responsible drinking, safer socialising and the importance of planning safe and suitable transport home. Information relating to the current Hackney Carriage and Private Hire functions and enforcement would be scoped to raise the profile of both Trades as a means to educate the travelling public as to the differences and safe travelling practices. This would be ... view the full minutes text for item 4.