Agenda and minutes

Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee - Wednesday, 20 February 2013 2:30 pm

Venue: Council Chambers, Kilmory, Lochgilphead. View directions

Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604392 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were intimated from Councillors Gordon Blair, Rory Colville, Robin Currie, Mary-Jean Devon, George Freeman and Fred Hall.




None declared.




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.  Thereafter he outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the Applicant’s representative to speak in support of the Application.




Mrs MacLeod apologised for Mr Laird’s absence at this hearing and explained the reason for this.  She advised that Mr Laird was born in Dunoon in 1963 and moved to Bonnybridge during his school years.  She advised that he moved to Rothesay in 1984 where he worked as mechanic in a garage owned by an ex Provost of Argyll and Bute District Council.  She advised that he worked as a mechanic during the week and in the evenings and at weekends worked as a taxi driver for the garage.  She advised that Mr Laird settled down and married in Rothesay and had three children who have since left school.  She advised that Mr Laird moved to Inverness when his marriage broke down and that he returned to Rothesay in 2008 and was able to get his job back with the garage.  She advised that he returned to this job just before Christmas and on a work night out he foolishly had a drink and then drove his car resulting in him being banned from driving for 18 months and losing his job with the garage.  She advised that Mr Laird received two endorsements on his licence and not three as stated by the Police.  Mrs MacLeod advised that Mr Laird had no previous convictions and has had none since this incident over 4 years ago and that he was a law abiding citizen.  She advised that he has been self employed since then doing car repairs and cutting grass and had the lease for the putting green.  She advised that Mr Laird was anxious to return to taxi driving and that he was well known and well respected in Rothesay and referred to 30 letters of support for this taxi application.  She advised that she was aware of a taxi petition against this operator’s licence which has come from other taxi operators on Bute which was understandable as no one wants competition.  She advised that all of the letters of support were from all over Bute which suggested there were not enough operators or drivers at the moment on the island.  She advised that in terms of provision across Argyll and Bute the Oban area was best served with 177 people per taxi and that Mid Argyll was at the bottom with 500 people per taxi.  She advised that Bute was somewhere in the middle with 344 people per taxi which suggested there was neither an under or over provision of taxis on Bute.  She advised that the provision of a taxi service on an island like Bute, Mull or Tiree was even more important as quite often visitors to the islands arrive on foot and make use of local taxi services and that it was essential that services were available to promote the economic and tourist activity in an area.  She advised that Mount Stuart on Bute was one of the best tourist attractions in Scotland.  She advised that it was important to have a good and efficient transport service which included a good and efficient taxi service.  She advised that Mr Laird had hopefully proved he is suitable to hold an operator’s licence and taxi driver’s licence and that he is very sorry for this one incident which he deeply regrets.  She advised that for 4 years he has been conviction free and now wished to move on with his life and start up a new business at a time when this was a difficult thing to do.  She commended the Committee to grant Mr Laird his Taxi Operator’s Licence.


As Inspector Watson had no questions the Chair invited him to speak in support of the Police objection.




Inspector Watson advised that he and Ms Murray were representing the Area Inspector for Rothesay and that they were not recommending that this application be endorsed for a number of reasons.  He advised that as a public service the Police demand a high standard of integrity from a taxi driver and that there were two issues that required to be addressed.  The first was in relation to endorsements.  He advised that the Applicant had only listed two endorsements on his application form and that he was in fact charged with three separate offences, one for drink driving, one for careless driving and one for failing to stop and report a road accident.  The second issue was that the Applicant had still to apply for insurance which the Applicant will find will be high as a result of the drink driving offence.  Inspector Watson advised that for the reasons stated above the Police were not recommending that the Applicant be granted a Taxi Operator’s Licence.


As Mrs MacLeod had no questions the Chair invited questions from Members.


Members’ Questions


Councillor Kinniburgh referred to three judgements being handed out at the Sheriff Court but the Applicant’s Agent advising there were only two and sought clarification on this.


Mrs MacLeod advised that she did not think it was Mr Laird’s intention to deceive and that this was down to a lay person filling out the application form.


Inspector Watson confirmed that there were three endorsements and that he was not sure why only two were on the Applicant’s driving licence.


Councillor McNaughton sought clarification on where Mr Laird would be operating his business and Mrs MacLeod advised that it was his intention to operate throughout Bute.


The Chair reminded Members of the need to consider the issue of over provision and that there had been no evidence presented to show that there was unmet demand.


The Chair invited Inspector Watson and Mrs MacLeod to sum up.


Summing Up




Inspector Watson advised that the Police were not recommending that this application be granted.




Mrs MacLeod advised that Mr Laird deeply regretted what had happened and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.