Questions are invited from members of the public present at the meeting on any matters for which this Panel is responsible.
Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for Public Question Time if required.
· Mr Shafqat Mahmood referred to a recent incident where a licensed driver had sold his vehicle to a private buyer and had been contacted shortly afterwards by a Licensing Officer who stated that he needed to show proof that the vehicle had been sold.
Mr Michael Bridge, the Licensing Unit Manager explained that as a named proprietor the licensed driver has a responsibility to inform the Licensing Unit that the vehicle has been sold to ensure that the vehicle is no longer registered to him. Mr Bridge explained that he had spoken with the driver being referred to and had seen the proof of sale.
The Chair advised that this question had previously been submitted in writing and a written response had been provided.
The Head of Legal Services advised that if legislation provides the Council with a duty or obligation, then it must comply with that, however if it provides the Council with a power or discretion, then it is a matter for the Council. This is the position whether stated in primary or secondary legislation.
· Mr Warraich, on behalf of private hire drivers explained that there had recently been a road traffic accident in Manchester which had resulted in the death of a private hire driver. There had also been a number of incidents of criminal damage to vehicles and incidents of racial abuse towards drivers. It was explained that Private Hire Vehicles had 12 separate identification markings on them. It was requested that the removal of the front plates be reconsidered.
Mr Michael Bridge, the Licensing Unit Manager explained that the issue of vehicle plates was being considered as an item on the agenda but this was to consider the size of plates and not the removal. Mr Bridge explained that he had been in touch with Oldham Council Licensing Department regarding their decision to reinstate front plates on their Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles and this had been confirmed.
· Mr Warriach referred to the request to introduce an online system where drivers could make payment without having to come to the Town Hall. This had been requested in June 2019 and nothing had been introduced as yet.
Michael Bridge, the Licensing Unit Manager explained that he had requested that IT support look at the possibility of developing a payment system.
· Mr Shafqat Mahmood explained that one of his colleagues had purchased a vehicle for a large sum of money but the vehicle had failed the MOT due to the tinting of the windows.
Michael Bridge, the Licensing Unit Manager explained that it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to make sure that their vehicle complies with all of the required regulations and that they ask the relevant questions at the time of purchase.
· Mr Charles Oakes on behalf of the Hackney Carriage Drivers Association referred to the MOT testing station at Bradley Fold. Mr Oakes stated that a number of dates had been reported for the reopening of the facility but it still remained closed.
Ms Angela Lomax, Head of Trading Standards and Licensing explained that she was in contact with the Operations department on a daily basis with regards to the opening of the Station. Operations had advised that they were waiting for the DVSA to approve the station. Ms Lomax explained that as soon as she had a definitive date she would contact the drivers associations to inform them.
· Mr Oakes referred to the MOT testing station and asked whether the Council would consider opening a second station.
Ms Lomax explained that the new Director of Operations had recently come into post at the Council. Ms Lomax would be meeting with her as soon as possible and the issue of testing stations would be discussed and a report considered.