Venue: By Skype
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mary-Jean Devon, Audrey Forrest, Donald MacMillan and Sandy Taylor.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982: APPLICATION FOR GRANT OF A TAXI CAR LICENCE (M TYREMAN, HELENSBURGH)
Report by Head of Legal and Regulatory Support
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. In line with recent legislation for Civic Government Hearings, the parties (and any representatives) were given the options for participating in the meeting today. The options available were by Video Call, by Audio Call or by written submission. For this hearing the Applicant opted to proceed by way of Video call and he initially joined the meeting by Skype. Due to connection issues he then joined the meeting by telephone. Two of the Objectors, Mr McAuley and Mr Finlay, opted to proceed by way of Audio call and they both joined the meeting by telephone. A third objector, Mr Brabender, made a written submission which was contained within the Supplementary Agenda Pack issued to the Committee.
The Chair advised that an objection had been received from Mr Finlay outwith the time period allowed by the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for making objections or representations.
The Chair invited Mr Finlay to explain why his objection had been submitted late.
Mr Finlay advised that he had posted his letter on 3 December 2020 and that the closing date was 7 December 2020. He said that he was not aware that his letter was late until he received notification of the hearing originally scheduled for March. He advised that he did not send the letter by registered mail or recorded delivery. He said he did not know why it had not arrived until 24 December 2020.
The Chair sought the view of the Applicant as to whether or not this late objection should be taken into consideration.
Mr Tyreman confirmed that he had no issues with the Committee taking Mr Finlay’s objection into consideration.
The Chair sought the views of Members as to whether or not this late objection should be taken into consideration.
The Committee agreed to accept the late objection from Mr Finlay. A copy of his letter was shared on screen and the Committee Manager read out the contents of it.
The Chair then outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the Applicant to speak in support of his application.
Mr Tyreman said he was here today to apply for a Taxi Car Licence. He said he was looking to put a wheelchair accessible vehicle on the rank. He referred to it being said that there were 7 or 8 other wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Helensburgh and Lomond area, and advised that they were nowhere to be seen. He said the Council had not produced a list of these vehicles and that they could not identify how many there were. He referred to the LVSA survey document and pointed out that it stated that Argyll and Bute Council needed to make a list of those vehicles. He said his taxi would be a London cab style vehicle and that it would be completely accessible. He said he was not debating that there were no wheelchair accessible vehicles out there but commented that some were vans which were not acceptable. He said that due to having to put on the application which vehicle he would be using, he actually wanted to put a 100% electric vehicle on the licence rather than the vehicle applied for. He said that this vehicle would have zero emissions and was one step away from being ordered if his application was successful today. He advised that he was also looking to open a taxi office in Helensburgh. He said it was set to open from 1 May 2021 if his licence was granted. He said that he would be employing 4 staff and that there was the opportunity for 2 more drivers. He said that his vehicle would be a cleaner, greener car.
QUESTIONS FROM OBJECTORS
Mr McAuley asked Mr Tyreman to confirm which type of vehicle he was applying to licence. He asked if it was the London Taxi TX2 or an electric one. Mr Tyreman confirmed it would be the electric one. He said he was one step away from ordering the vehicle and that all the finances were in place. He said that as it would cost the best part of £55,000 he could not order the vehicle until he had a licence for it. He said it would be the first 100% electric taxi in Scotland.
Mr Finlay asked Mr Tyreman what volume of customers he predicted would require a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Mr Tyreman said that Helensburgh was an aging town and that a lot of customers had difficulty getting in and out of vehicles, especially vans. He said that this vehicle would have a level access and that there was certainly a need for it. He said that the LVSA report had stated that a quarter of the population was over 60.
Mr McAuley referred to Mr Tyreman commenting about the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles. He said that Mr Finlay had said in his letter of objection that there were now 7 or 8 wheelchair accessible taxis which was more than enough. He referred to the LVSA survey and pointed out that this was carried out in pre COVID times and had stated then that there were too many taxis already. He advised that since then everyone knew what COVID had done to the taxi business which had required government grants and handouts. He said the business was non-existent and that everyone knew that. He said that if the Council was to grant anymore licences this would make an already difficult situation worse.
Mr Finlay said that he was of the same view as Mr McAuley. He advised that the LVSA survey stated that there was no need for more taxis to be issued as there was no significant unmet demand. He advised that since the survey was carried out there were now 7 or 8 wheelchair accessible vehicles between taxis and private hires. He said it might be nice to have an electric car. He commented that it was quite ... view the full minutes text for item 3.