To consider the report of the Environmental Health and Licensing Manager.
The Chair introduced the Licensing Sub-Committee and the Solicitor set out the procedure for the hearing advising of the requirements under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and Section 47 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report stating that the licensed taxi driver was seeking to replace their existing Peugeot Euro 5, side loading wheelchair accessible vehicle with a Toyota Prius ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV).
The Applicant had recently been granted a notice of exemption from undertaking mobility assistance to passengers in wheelchairs (Section 166 Equality Act 2010). The Applicant had ongoing problems with their wrist and hand due to a previous injury and had attended an appointment with the Occupational Health Department on 10th December 2018. A subsequent independent report had also confirmed that the Applicant should be exempt from undertaking wheelchair work on account of the reduced grip strength in his hand. The Applicant had submitted a copy of the Occupational Health letter to the Licensing Sub-Committee.
The Principal Licensing Officer commented that the current vehicle was first registered in December 2016, making the vehicle two years and three months old. A replacement vehicle had not been purchased, but required documentation would be presented to the Licensing Authority after purchase. The driver was the only driver of the vehicle.
The Principle Licensing Officer advised Members of the Council’s Practices and Procedures for the control of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles, Drivers and Operators and the Code of Conduct for Licensed Drivers (‘Taxi Policy’) and the condition requirements.
The Applicant was in attendance and spoke in support of the application. He explained that he had been advised by his Doctor to change his vehicle following the strain put on his wrist and hand. He confirmed that the damage was only to his left hand and that he would be able to use his right hand to carry a maximum of 10 kg of passenger luggage, if required. The Applicant confirmed that the injury had caused difficulties with customers expecting a service for wheelchairs which he is unable to provide.
He further stated that a change of vehicle would be good for both the environment and with Exeter City Councils policy to move to more environmentally friendly vehicles by 2020. He had a buyer for his current vehicle, who was confirmed to live outside of the city. He informed Members, that he was the sole vehicle driver, and used the vehicle to driver his family, which prevented other drivers from also using it. He stated the importance that he keep working to support his family and that he worked mainly during daytime hours with occasional Friday and Saturday evenings.
RESOLVED that the application for the vehicle replacement be approved in principle and delegation be made to the to the Principal Licensing Officer to grant the Vehicle Licence in compliance with the Council’s Practises and Procedures for the Control of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles Drivers and Operators upon receipt by the Licensing Authority of full vehicle details and a comprehensive mechanical inspection report.
The reasons for the decision were that the circumstances of the Applicant in this particular case were considered to be exceptional.