Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Licensing Committee

Date: Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minute of the meeting of the Highland Licensing Committee held in the Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Tuesday 18 February 2020 at 10.00 am.


Mr J Bruce, Mr G Cruickshank, Mr A Jarvie (Chair), Mrs L MacDonald, Mr W Mackay (by video conference), Mr D Macpherson, Mr K Rosie, Mr A Sinclair and Mr C Smith.

In attendance:

Miss C McArthur, Principal Solicitor (Regulatory Services)
Mr I Meredith, Solicitor, Regulatory Services
Mr M Elsey, Senior Licensing Officer
Mrs A MacArthur, Administrative Assistant

Also attending:

Sergeant K Duncan, Police Scotland
Mr J Williamson, Police Scotland

Item 6: Mr R Munro and Ms A Paul, Sneckie Taxis; Mr R King, Northern Accident Management; and Mr C McEwan, Inverness Taxis.
Item 9.1: Mr G Devlin, applicant
Item 10.1: Ms L Miller, licence holder

The Chair confirmed that the meeting would be webcast and gave a short briefing on the Council’s webcasting procedure and protocol.


1.  Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mrs E Knox and Mr B Thompson.

2.  Declarations of interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

Item 7: Mr W Mackay (non-financial).

3.  Confirmation of minutes
Dearbhadh a’ Gheàrr-chunntais

There had been submitted for confirmation as a correct record the minute of meeting of the Committee held on 14 January 2020 which was APPROVED.

4.  Licences granted under delegated powers                              
Ceadachdan a bhuilicheadh fo ùghdarras air a thiomnadh

There had been circulated Report No HLC/012/20 by the Principal Solicitor which detailed all licences which had been granted under delegated powers under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 in the period from 19 December 2019 to 5 February 2020.

The Committee NOTED the report.

5.  Pending applications – 3 monthly considerations                      
Iarrtasan ri thighinn – beachdachaidhean 3 mìosach

There had been circulated Report No HLC/013/20 by the Principal Solicitor relating to applications which were currently pending for the grant or renewal of licences under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

The Committee AGREED to defer the determination of the applications, either to:

(a) allow them to be approved under delegated powers in the event that no objections/representations are received and all outstanding documentation has been received from the applicants; or

(b) a future meeting of the Committee when the applications will be determined in terms of the Hearings Procedure.

6.  Review of taxi tariff 2019/2020
Ath-bhreithneachadh air Taraif Tagsaidh 2019/20

There had been circulated Report No HLC/014/20 by the Principal Solicitor advising of the responses received following public advertisement of the proposed revised scale of the maximum fares that can be charged by taxis and private hire cars fitted with taxi meters.

The Committee were invited to consider the representations received following advertisement of the proposed tariff, all other information contained in the report and any further submissions made to the Committee by taxi operators attending the meeting and then to agree a final tariff.

Mr R Munro from Sneckie Taxis raised a number of issues including the following points:-

  • the increase being sought on the running mile in Highland was still less than the rest of Scotland, those taxi driver’s objecting to an increase didn’t have to charge an increase;
  • running costs in Highland were the same as in other areas and Sneckie Taxis was only seeking parity with the fares required for the trade to survive and be viable in other areas;
  • his company was the only company in Highland who employed drivers and had costs and obligations which independent operators and drivers did not have; and
  • he wanted to invest in greener vehicles and become a living wage employer.

Thereafter Mr C McEwen raised the following point:-

  • if drivers are all charging different prices it causes confusion to the public.

A letter had been received from Mr R Munro which attached a letter of support in relation to an increase in fares from the National Private Hire and Taxi Association and was circulated to Members who were given time to read the letter. In discussion, Members raised the following issues:

  • there was no rationale behind an increase in fares, there had been a decrease in the cost of the price of used cars and the cost of fuel

The Committee AGREED a final tariff which will take effect from 30 April 2020, subject to any appeal being lodged.

The final tariff includes no changes to the existing tariffs and one change to the additional charges as follows:

The soiling charge be increased from a maximum of £100 to a maximum of £120.

7.  Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Taxi and Private Hire Car Licensing
Achd Riaghaltais Chatharra (Alba) 1982
Ceadachdan Tagsaidh is Chàraichean Prìobhaideach air Mhàl

Declaration of interest: Mr W Mackay declared a non-financial interest on the grounds that he had had prior discussions with the member of the public seeking to make a licence application in respect of a tuk tuk.

There had been circulated Report No HLC/015/20 by the Principal Solicitor on a request from a member of the public querying whether he may make a taxi or private hire car licence application in respect of a tuk tuk.

During discussion, Members raised the following issues:

  • although the enterprise was appreciated, a tuk tuk was not thought to be a suitable vehicle to be licensed for use as a taxi or private hire car;
  • on a question as to how three wheeled bicycles and rikshaws were licensed in Scotland, the clerk responded that they were licensed under a street trader’s licence, whereas motorised vehicles were required to be licensed under taxi and private hire car licences; and
  • as this vehicle did not meet the minimum specification and safety standards it was inappropriate to consider it for a licence.

The Committee AGREED that, in principle, a tuk tuk is not suitable in type, size and design for use as a taxi or private hire car and is not safe for that use. Members agreed with the reasons set out in Police Scotland’s letter of objection on the suitability of a tuk tuk as a taxi or private hire vehicle which raised concerns about the vehicle’s stability, lack of protection for occupants and a lack of safety features.

8.  The Committee RESOLVED that, under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of the following Items on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.

9.  Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Applications for private hire car driver’s / operator’s licences
Achd Riaghaltais Chatharra (Alba) 1982
Iarrtasan airson ceadachdan do dhràibhearan / oibrichean chàraichean airson fastadh prìobhaideach

9.1  Application for private hire car driver’s licence – Gary Devlin

There had been circulated to members only Report No HLC/016/20 by the Principal Solicitor relating to an application which has been received from Gary Devlin for the grant of a private hire car driver’s licence (Inverness Millburn Ward).  A letter of representation had been received from Police Scotland.  The applicant had yet to undergo a right to work check.

The Committee heard from the applicant, Mr M Ross and Police Scotland in relation to the application.

The Committee AGREED to GRANT the application subject to the applicant undertaking and passing a right to work check

10.  Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982   
Second hand vehicle dealer’s licences

Achd Riaghaltais Chatharra (Alba) 1982
Iarrtas airson caochladh air ceadachdan luchd-malairt ath-làimhe

10.1  Second hand vehicle dealer’s licence – Lauren Miller

There had been circulated to members only Report No HLC/017/20 by the Principal Solicitor relating to Lauren Miller the holder of a second hand vehicle dealer’s licence in respect of Unit 12c, Beechwood Road, Evanton (Ward 6 - Cromarty Firth).   A letter had been received from Police Scotland.

A letter was received from Ms Miller’s solicitor and this was circulated and Members were given time to read it.   

The applicant attended.

The Committee, having read the representation, AGREED to DEFER the hearing until the next meeting of the Highland Licensing Committee on 31 March 2020.

The meeting closed at 11.05 am.