Venue: By Microsoft Teams
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Amanda Hampsey, Daniel Hampsey, Paul Kennedy and Dougie Philand.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982: APPLICATION FOR GRANT OF A TAXI CAR LICENCE (M ROMILLY AND H ROMILLY, 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 Applicants opted to proceed by way of audio call and Morgan and Hayley Romilly joined the meeting by telephone.
Stephen McIntyre-Stewart, Objector, also opted to proceed by way of audio call and joined the meeting by telephone.
All of the other objectors (Mark Franks, Paul Dornan, Colin McNeill and Kimberley Clerk) were unable to attend today and had asked Mr McIntyre-Stewart to speak on their behalf.
The Chair then outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the Applicants to speak in support of their application.
Mrs Romilly read out the contents of an email which Mr Romilly had submitted to the Licensing Team prior to the start of this hearing. The email addressed their concerns about the objections that had been submitted in respect of this application.
Mr Romilly then spoke in support of their application. He advised that they had been operating successfully in the town for a number of years and it had come to the point that demand exceeded their capacity. He said they no longer had the spare capacity and that their regular customers sometimes had to wait for around 40 minutes for a taxi, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. He referred to issues in the past with the current vehicle needing repairs and that the dealer was in Edinburgh. He advised that an extra plate would also act as a safety net when the other vehicle was transporting customers to Glasgow and further afield. He advised that quite regularly after 2 am when the trains stopped there were no taxis available in town. He said that their vehicle was regularly the only taxi active around 2 am – 6 am. He said that they regularly took fares to Edinburgh and Glasgow which left Helensburgh without a taxi for up to an hour in the middle of the night. He said there was plenty trade during the night.
He advised that this vehicle was a fully electric Nissan Leaf. He said that they’d had great success with their current vehicle.
Mr Romilly referred to the LVSA survey and commented that it was a number of years out of date. He said that this was a busy town and he could justify the need for a second car. He said he was confused as to why Mr McIntyre-Stewart was objecting as he was just granted a plate himself. Referring to the number of plates in Helensburgh, he advised that these vehicles were not available 24 hours as a lot of the Operators had full time jobs and seen taxi work as a hobby.
QUESTIONS FROM OBJECTOR
Mr McIntyre-Stewart referred to claims made that he had taken photographs of Mrs Romilly and her vehicle. He asked Mr Romilly if he had a copy of the photograph he took. Mr Romilly advised there was CCTV footage. Mr McIntyre-Stewart asked if that footage had been submitted today. Mr Romilly advised that it could be submitted.
Mr McIntyre-Stewart referred to comments that he reversed into a petrol pump. He commented that Mrs Romilly was hanging onto his vehicle at that point and this could be seen from the CCTV footage. He asked Mr Romilly to confirm if this was the CCTV footage that he had seen. Mr Romilly replied that Mr McIntyre-Stewart would need to ask the Police and Tesco about that.
Mr McIntyre-Stewart questioned Mr Romilly about whether his current vehicle was an electric vehicle or a plug in hybrid, commenting that he advertised his vehicle as fully electric. Mr Romilly commented that he could not see why this was being brought up at this meeting.
Mr McIntyre-Stewart asked Mr Romilly to confirm if he had phoned Mr McNeil last night to ask him to withdraw his complaint. Mr Romilly advised that he had tried to contact him about covering a job.
Councillor Gordon Blair raised a point of order on the relevancy of the questions.
The Governance Manager, Mrs Barton, pointed out to Mr McIntyre-Stewart that his questions should relate to the submission from the Applicant and she encouraged Mr McIntyre-Stewart to remain focussed on the points that have been made by Mr Romilly.
The Council’s Solicitor, Ms Macdonald, referred to both parties alluding to previous complaints which did not form part of this hearing. She advised that complaints had been made against Mr Romilly to the Licensing Team and that these had been investigated and not upheld. She advised that Mr McIntyre-Stewart was bringing up some of those complaints again in this forum and reiterated that he should be focussing on the application and matters relevant to this hearing and the application.
The Chair supported the points made in the point of order. He advised that he was trying to give both parties a full opportunity to present their case and asked that they could both keep to points that were really relevant.
Mr McIntyre-Stewart asked Mr Romilly if he was aware of where these complaints came from.
Councillor Mark Irvine raised a point of order and said he was struggling to see the relevancy of these complaints and allegations. He said this appeared to be a civil matter between 2 parties and that he did not think it was relevant to this application and should be taken offline between the 2 parties.
The Chair advised that he was trying to give both parties the fullest opportunity to present their case. He said he had given the Applicant the opportunity to raise a number of points which he had and in the interests natural justice it was only right that the Objector should also be able to put reasonable questions to the Applicant in terms of their submission.
Councillor Irvine said he was ... view the full minutes text for item 3.