Posted by: John Brace | 1st June 2012

Licensing, General Purposes and Health & Safety Committee 23/5/2012

The Chair started by thanking the last committee, who had a meeting not finish until 10.45pm one night. He asked councillors to identify themselves and pointed out that Cllr George Davies was a deputy.

No interests were declared and the minutes of the meeting on the 19th March 2012 were agreed.

Cllr Steve Niblock was proposed as Vice-Chair. This was the only nomination and agreed.

Ken Abraham introduced the report and said that the monthly licensing panel dealt mainly with hackney taxi licences involving conduct, criminal records and that this year the ratio would be 4:2:1.

The Chair pointed out that it was important to realise it was a day meeting, therefore unsuitable for those with a full-time job or family commitments. He asked people to submit their names to the committee clerk before the end of the week. He asked about training for the panel?

Margaret said she had some booklets.

Cllr George Davies asked if they were still going to Tranmere Rovers to check on safety? He said the reason he raised it was because of last year’s disruption involving the roof. However there had been no visit for the last three years.

Ken Abraham said that in the past a decision had been reached that technical services would attend and the report went to a virtual committee, but he didn’t think this had happened for a number of years.

Cllr George Davies pointed out that in Liverpool, their committee made visits to their football grounds. Ken Abraham said he would speak to Paul Grey.

Cllr Davies said that when [Tranmere Rovers] was built the capacity was 16,000, but now it was restricted it can’t be more than 10,000 as people can’t go in the main stand. He asked if there was a disaster where do they stand?

Cllr Fraser asked what would happen after an inspection?

Ken Abraham said checks were made by the fire service, police, building control and others.

The Chair requested a report for the next meeting, but that they report back before the football season starts. He suggested a special meeting and visit and said he wanted a briefing.

Margaret said her expertise was limited to licensing training, however the remit of the committee was much wider.

Cllr George Davies asked for an annual report [on Tranmere Rovers].

The Chair said if there was an urgent issue they could arrange a special meeting, but if they needed training they could use Jo March.

Margaret O’Donnell introduced the next report on taxi driver training and its appendix.

Cllr Fraser asked if the required qualifications were a legal requirement or just Wirral policy?

Margaret O’Donnell answered yes after the decision in March, all drivers had obtained the qualifications apart from two, who were not driving. However there were issues about funding of courses.

Cllr Fraser asked how much the courses were and whether those on them had to pay.

The answer given was between £1000 and £1800, the driver was asked to contribute £150, however some categories such as the unemployed were guaranteed funding.

Cllr Fraser asked how taxi drivers were consulted? The Chair said that the union reps usually turned up to meetings, but information was sent to all taxi drivers.

Margaret O’Donnell said that as it was a national consultation, they had emailed a link to the consultation website.

The Chair said they had wanted to outlaw bogus drivers and that the trade had realised there were too many drivers and not enough work. The Vice-Chair said there had been a conscious decision to ensure public safety and that thanks to officers they had come a long way.

The Chair asked for deputies to take part in training too and that the panel would meet the second Friday of every month.