Agenda and minutes

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No. Item




Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors Gordon Blair, Mary-Jean Devon, Audrey Forrest, George Freeman, Graham Archibald Hardie and Roderick McCuish.




There were no declarations of interest intimated. 



Report by Head of Legal and Regulatory Support


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.  He then outlined the procedure that would be followed and invited the applicant to speak in support of his application.





Mr McNeill spoke to the terms of his application on behalf of Glasgow Coach Drivers and advised that in his experience a number of people request an 8 seater vehicle when making taxi bookings and that he had noted a distinct lack of vehicles of this size available for hire within the area, hence his application. 




Mr Finlay asked Mr McNeill to explain why he currently uses a 5 seater Skoda Estate car, when he claims the demand is for an 8 seater.  Mr McNeill confirmed that he is collecting private hire fares using the Skoda Estate car, and that his other 8 seater vehicle is currently off the road. 


Mr Finlay enquired as to the status of his other vehicles given that he has more than one licensed vehicle.  Mr McNeill confirmed that he has a Skoda Estate and a Ford 8 seater.  He confirmed that the Ford 8 seater was in the garage and had been for a prolonged period, due to issues, which were being addressed under the manufacturer’s warranty. 


Mrs McCandlish enquired as to who was driving the Skoda Estate car when it is on hire.  Mr McNeill advised that it was either Mark Franks or Steven Muir, depending on who is available. 




Mr Finlay spoke to the terms of his objection and advised that he was also aware that Mr McNeill had been disqualified from driving on his bus licence for a period of 25 years by the Traffic Commission and he believed that he had been illegally operating as a Private Hire operator prior to obtaining his licences.  He also spoke of legal issues Mr McNeill had encountered due to failing to change his home address and how the use of a booking system had diverted potential customers to his own businesses, under a variety of names, including Trident Taxis, which was similar to another well-established business within the area, to the detriment of individual operators within the Helensburgh and Lomond area. 


Mrs McCandlish advised that she believed Mr McNeill had lied to the Committee at a previous meeting, by advising that he had been granted 2 licences in 2018, one being from Argyll and Bute Council, however this was not the case as the one from Argyll and Bute Council had not been granted until March 2019. 




Mr McNeill confirmed he had no questions. 





Councillor Colville enquired as to whether there were any police objections to the application.  The Council’s Solicitor, Mr MacMillan advised that there had been no police objections. 


Councillor Colville asked Mr McNeill to advise whether he had had an opportunity to read the results of the recent LSVA survey and how he felt they impacted on his application.  Mr McNeill confirmed that his view was the same as the conclusion of the survey in that there was no overprovision for Private Hire licences. 


The Council’s Solicitor, Mr MacMillan confirmed the outcome of the survey in the Helensburgh and Lomond area in relation to the assessment of taxi numbers.  He advised that it had shown that there was no unmet demand.  He also confirmed that the survey found that there was no overprovision of private hire licences over Argyll and Bute as a whole. 


Councillor Trail enquired as to the 8 seater vehicle that currently has a licence.  Mr McNeill confirmed that the vehicle had been off the road for over 4 months.  He advised that he had had the problem sorted and had it back for a fortnight, only for it to break down again due to an issue with the adblue system and it was currently back with Ford to be repaired under warranty. 


Councillor Moffat enquired as to whether there had been any report done, specifically in relation to the provision of vehicles of a certain size.  Mr MacMillan confirmed that there is no policy within Argyll and Bute Council that relates to the size of the vehicle, but that there was one in relation to wheelchair adaptability. 


Councillor Douglas asked Mr McNeill whether the application was simply to cover for other vehicle breakdowns.  Mr McNeill confirmed that he had three vehicles and he wished to operate three vehicles. 


Councillor Douglas sought clarity from the Council’s Solicitor in relation to the complaints raised by the objectors as she felt that some were out of the remit of the committee.  Mr MacMillan confirmed that it was open to the objectors to raise concerns that could ultimately prove that the applicant is not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence. 


Councillor Douglas then asked the objectors to clarify the reason for raising a complaint on the operation of a business.  Mr Finlay explained that if a person uses another business name, such as Trident Taxis on a website, then if  a potential customer selects this on the belief  that a Trident Taxi will turn up, however this would  be diverted to one of Mr McNeill’s other businesses, away from individual operators and this pretence would  suggest that he is not a fit and proper person.  He also suggested that the 25 year disqualification from the Traffic Commission further proved that he is not a fit and proper person.  He highlighted that the exact reason for the disqualification was unknown. 


Councillor Douglas sought clarification on the disqualification from the Council’s Solicitor.  Mr MacMillan advised that having consulted Police Scotland in relation to the application, there were no concerns raised with Mr McNeill’s licence.


Councillor Trail expressed concern that Mr McNeill was deliberately subverting the business of both Trident Taxis and Neptune Cars.  Mr McNeill advised that the phone number of Trident Taxis is registered and operated by a booking system.  He advised that depending on how a taxi is booked, the driver will get  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.