Venue: Chamber - Kilworthy Park
Contact: Kathy Hoare Senior Case Manager - Democratic Services
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllr D Moyse with Cllr P Crozier substituting and Cllr J Spettigue with Cllr R Cheadle substituting.
Declarations of Interest
In accordance with the Code of Conduct, Members are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Other Registerable Interests and Non-Registerable Interests including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;
Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of this meeting.
Items Requiring Urgent Attention
To consider those items which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered by the Meeting as matters of urgency (if any).
There was no urgent business brought forward to this meeting.
Meeting held on 13 December 2022
The minutes from the meeting held on 13 December 2022 were approved as a true and correct record.
The Committee proceeded to consider the report that had been prepared by the Licensing Specialist. He stated that the West Devon Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy came into operation in April 2018. Included within this is the requirement that all currently licensed vehicles must meet a Euro NCAP Safety Rating of 4 or 5 stars by 1st January 2023. However with the global issues around covid and the impact of the cost of living crisis the number of taxi drivers nationally had reduced and the trade had been hit hard. With current factors in play the ability for drivers to update their vehicles has become a concern of Officers. It was felt appropriate to consider a delay in the implementation of changeover of existing vehicles. The policy would stay the same for anyone bringing a new vehicles onto the circuit.
The Specialist Officer confirmed that the team had spoken on numerous occasions to those in the trade about the concerns. There would be significant changeover of vehicles at a time when many were facing financial difficulty. He stated it would be regularly reviewed should the Committee choose to defer to a later date for a review to the extension. He reassured Members that all vehicles on the circuit regardless of age undergo stringent safety tests so are safe. There would be no implications should a vehicle be involved in an accident. Safety features in cars have progressed over time in modern vehicles. The vehicles would be roadworthy they just wouldn’t have as much of the more modern safety features as a car with a five star NCAP safety rating. The Committee agreed that;
1. Section 17.3 of the Policy be amended to delay the implementation of the requirement for currently licensed vehicles to hold a Euro NCAP Safety rating of 4 or 5 stars (out of 5), from 1st January 2023 until 1st January 2024.Officers will ensure that those drivers who do not have 4 or 5 star vehicles by 31 October 2023 are fully aware that these vehicles will not be renewed after 1st January 2024.
2. Recommended to Council that the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy, as amended, is adopted at the meeting on 21st February 2023. Further information on the number of vehicles that need to be replaced to be provide to the Chair of DM&L prior to the Council meeting.
The Head of Development Management took Members through the Appeals Update. Since the agenda was published three appeal decisions had come in.
The first was on Higher Narracott for change of use from barns to dwellings. This was a prior approval application and the Planning Officer at the time did not believe the buildings could be converted due to their structure plus they were too close to agricultural buildings in use and so it was refused. The Inspector allowed the appeal and felt that the structural surveys gave enough evidence to be able to convert. Also two other barns within the vicinity had already been given prior approval. T
he second appeal was on Thorndon Cottage for a new agricultural barn, which was refused by the Planning Officer as it was in a prominent and isolated area of the countryside. The Inspector had agreed with the Planning Officer and the appeal was dismissed.
The third appeal was at Crossroads Farm, Lewdown for 22 dwellings which was refused for inadequate design, impact on the character of the landscape and being in an unsustainable location. It was dismissed by the Inspector although he did not agree with the unsustainable location.
Members were given the progress on undetermined major applications. A Member asked on the progress on the Hazeldon Preparatory School application in Tavistock. The Head of Development Management stated a meeting had taken place with the architect looking at the design and housing need. If the applicant was to present a plan showing a design where the properties were set down further and closer together it could be revisited. Sport England would be given a deadline to attend a meeting in regard to this application.