Venue: Council Chamber, Kilmory, Lochgilphead
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604406
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were intimated from Councillors Gordon Chalmers, Rory Colville, David Kinniburgh, Bruce Marshall, Neil Mackay, Donald MacMillan, Alister MacAlister, Roderick McCuish, Alex McNaughton and Al Reay.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In advance of the meeting Councillor Gordon Chalmers declared a non financial interest in respect of the business dealt with at item 3 of this Minute as he is a close personal friend of one of the Objectors and therefore he was not in attendance at the meeting.
CIVIC GOVERNMENT (SCOTLAND) ACT 1982: APPLICATION FOR TAXI LICENCE - A FORREST (DUNOON)
The Chair introduced himself and invited those present at the meeting to do likewise and then outlined the procedure that would be followed.
Mr Reppke advised that a late letter of objection had been received from Mr James Anderson. He explained that Mr Anderson had originally sent the letter in on time but without his home address which is a requirement of the Licensing Act. The letter was returned to Mr Anderson and he re-submitted this outwith the timescales. He advised that if the Committee wished to take Mr Anderson’s objection into consideration they should continue consideration of this application for a least 14 days to allow the Applicant to make comments on the objection. The Chair ruled, and the Committee agreed, that they would not consider Mr Anderson’s correspondence.
The Chair invited the Applicant to speak in support of his Application.
Mr Forrest apologised for arriving late to the previous meeting and explained his reason for this. He advised that he was having to apply for 2 more taxi licences as his business was getting busier and he had been approached by more drivers interested in working for him. At the moment he had 5 drivers, which included himself and his wife, and only 2 cars. At the very least he advised that he would need 1 more car. He advised that he was trying to provide a better service for his customers and that he has never had to advertise his business it has all been through word of mouth. He advised that his drivers seemed happy and they always had plenty of work. He had never experienced his drivers complaining that they were not earning enough money. He advised that he would like to provide a variety of cars and ideally have a 6 seater car also which was the subject of the application discussed at the 2.00 pm meeting today. He referred to the Objectors’ comments in their letters of representation regarding there being too many taxi licence holders in Dunoon. He advised that he had contacted Argyll and Bute Council and had been advised that there were currently 44 taxi licences for the Cowal and Bute area. He advised that there can not be 44 taxi cars in Dunoon at anytime in a single day and that a lot of these would be part time drivers. He also referred to there being 22 taxi rank spaces in Dunoon and that this was enough for all the cars. He advised that on a Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday he had travelled round Dunoon at different times of the day on each of those days and there was always spaces at the taxi ranks. He advised that there was very rarely taxis sitting at the ferry terminal. He advised that he had not influenced drivers coming from other companies to work for him. He referred to the The Demand for Taxis in Argyll and Bute survey carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute for Argyll and Bute Council and said that this was now too long in the tooth to be relevant. He advised that a lot of the survey results had come from posted or phone surveys and felt that it would have made more sense to ask the people who use the taxis, for example, by handing out survey forms at the taxi ranks. He referred to the Taxi Driver Association and advised that after being in the business for 3 years he was not aware of this company. He advised that he did not agree with Mr MacIntyre’s comment in his letter of objection that the increase in fares of 20p and been a problem for business. It was his experience that people just accepted an increase in prices and that the 20p increase was a maximum charge which did not need to be implemented in full. He also advised that on the previous Sunday one of his drivers had earned £240.
Questions to Applicant
The Chair invited the Objectors to ask the Applicant questions.
Mr Gemmell asked what percentage of work Mr Forrest got off the street. Mr Forrest advised that it was quite high and that he didn’t advertise.
The Chair invited the Objectors to speak in support of their objections.
Mr Darroch advised that he thought the survey carried out in 2003 was still relevant and so the results of this still stand and asked that the Council cap the number of operator licences for 2 years then review this and referred to what has been done by Perth and Kinross Council. He referred to the number of cars which sat at the taxi ranks and confirmed that very few sat at the cenotaph. He advised that it was difficult for individual taxis and small businesses at Morrisons as Morrisons refused to open the side door of their building next to the taxi rank. He confirmed that the previous day he had sat for an hour with other taxi drivers outside Morrisons and that no one had moved in that time. He advised that he was one of 3 drivers that visited the ferry terminal regularly and that discussions had been held with Roads regarding getting a proper taxi rank painted out there. He advised that since Argyll Ferries took over he had seen a 50% drop in business as buses were timetabled to pick up passengers. He referred again to the empty taxi rank spaces and advised that the spaces that were empty were where people were not looking for taxis.
Mr Gemmell advised that most of the work was through people phoning and that was why cars were not at the taxi ranks.
Questions to Objectors
The Chair invited Mr Forrest to ask the Objectors questions.
Mr Forrest asked Mr Darroch if he had a booking office and licensed premises. Mr Darroch advised that he did not and that he worked with individual operators.
Mr Forrest asked Mr Darroch if he advertised his mobile number ... view the full minutes text for item 3.