Venue: By Microsoft Teams
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Roderick McCuish and Donald MacMillan BEM.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982: APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL OF STREET TRADER LICENCE - 4861 (R SERAPIGLIA, LARBERT)
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, his Solicitor and Advocate opted to proceed by way of video call and joined the meeting by MS Teams.
Fiona Potter, Objector, opted to proceed by way of audio call and joined the meeting by telephone.
All the other Objectors present opted to proceed by way of video call and joined the meeting by MS Teams.
The Chair then outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the Applicant’s representative to speak in support of his application.
Robert Skinner confirmed that he would speak on behalf of Mr Serapiglia who had applied to renew his street trader’s licence to allow him to trade from his ice-cream van on the same terms as he presently enjoyed. He said that Mr Serapiglia came from a family that had provided a long service to the community. His father started the business in 1956 and Mr Serapiglia joined the family business when he was 17 and has continued to provide some 66 years of unbroken service to the community. He advised that Mr Serapiglia has held his street trader’s licence since the inception of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and there had been no issues with any licences since that time. He referred to Mr Serapiglia serving specialist Artisan ice-cream which was very popular and enjoyed by both the local community and tourists. He suggested that the popularity of this ice-cream was the true reason for the various trade objections as they did not want the competition. He said that objections to this application had only arisen from Luss. He advised that Mr Serapiglia had invested in the latest and greenest van, powered by battery and solar panels, meaning it had net zero carbon emissions. He added that it still had the appearance of a traditional ice-cream van. He referred to there being a long and torturous history in relation to the ice-cream van being at Luss and advised that formerly his licence had standard condition 17 attached which prevented Mr Serapiglia from trading within 100 metres of any shops selling similar produce. This was opposed in June 2017 as it amounted to unfair protection to other traders. He said there was strong support for the removal of this condition and he referred to the outcome of a Sheriff Court decision of McCluskey vs North Lanarkshire Council which concerned the restriction of burger vans operating near a school. He advised that a new condition 17 was drafted by Argyll and Bute Council to replace the old condition. This new condition had the effect that a van could not stay in a single location for more than 30 minutes and could not return to that position again within the same day. He advised that in December 2018 Mr Serapiglia sought to have his licence renewed with condition 17 removed and his argument was accepted at that time. Mr Skinner advised that the overriding purpose of licensing street traders under the 1982 Act was to preserve public order and prevent crime. He said that a condition should not be used to restrict trade and competition. He confirmed that the renewal of Mr Serapiglia’s licence was granted with condition 17 removed so there was no restriction to his trading in any location. In February 2019 he advised that Mr Serapiglia applied to amend his licence to include Pier Road in Luss. He confirmed that this was granted for an agreed spot on Pier Road.
Mr Skinner said that all that was being asked for today was renewal of Mr Serapiglia’s licence on the same terms as before.
Mr Skinner said that objections received were largely from local traders and any allegations they have made were disputed. He advised that Mr Serapiglia has always acted lawfully and has done all his life. He said that local objectors were making life as difficult as possible for a man that has worked all his life for long hours and not in the best of health. He said that this has involved parking to make it difficult for Mr Serapiglia to trade and coming out to the van and telling him he was not allowed to park there. He advised that Mr Serapiglia denies any breach of regulations or conditions of his licence. He said that none of the objections were tied any specific issues, time or place. He said that if Mr Serapiglia had acted illegally, one would have expected a conviction as a result. Mr Skinner advised that Mr Serapiglia has not been convicted, or charged, or spoken to by any authority. He pointed out that there has been no Police objection and that the most contentious issues raised related to a planning matter. Mr Skinner said that this was not a matter for this Committee today. He advised that the sole issue for this Committee was to determine if there were any grounds for refusal: whether Mr Serapiglia was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence; whether he was acting as a front for someone else that was not a fit and proper person; whether there were any problems with the character or condition of the vessel, the nature of the proposed activity, the kind of person that would be in the vessel; and the possibility of undue public nuisance, or public order or safety. He said that if none of these concerned the Committee then none of these grounds for refusal applied to this application.
As far as planning was concerned, he advised that this licence was granted under the provisions of the 1982 Act and this did not, in itself, convey the right to trade where other permissions were required eg in respect of food hygiene or a landlord’s consent. ... view the full minutes text for item 3.