Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by councillors:

 

(a)      Petitions: to receive any petitions submitted to the full Council or at the meeting itself;

(b)      Written Questions: to consider any written questions;

(c)      Letters: to consider any letters. Letter submitted by Councillor Mac Cafferty (copy attached);

(d)      Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Council or submitted directly to the Committee. Notice of Motion referred from Council on 6 April 2017 (copy attached)

Minutes:

5a        Petitions

 

5.1       There were none.

 

5b       Written Questions

 

5.2       There were none.

 

5c        Letters

 

5.3       A letter had been submitted by Councillor Mac Cafferty in the following terms and as set out in the agenda:

 

           I write to express my concern at the council’s current policy position with regard to on-street trading. I have been in regular contact with residents of Selborne Road in my ward since early January about a particular street trader.

 

My discussion with my residents echoes the frustration expressed by other Councillors at licensing committee in March. I welcomed the moves at that committee to begin the necessary discussion about a fresh look at street licensing including the new approach outlined viz: “2.3 That the committee requests officers to explore options for a review of the street trading policy with a view to changing the designation of streets in zones A and B and consider options to prevent or restrict traders from trading on yellow lines or otherwise (potentially) contravening any road traffic regulations, and bring a report to the next committee for consideration.”

 

I have been in regular contact with residents and raised queries with the city’s parking highway, enforcement, environmental health and licensing teams, however nothing has changed sadly. Please find attached Appendix A my email to council officers from 9th March which outlines some of the overarching concerns we continue to have. The same trader has been parked in a pay and display parking zone now for over half a year.

 

Residents are exasperated by what they see as a faulty policy framework with little or no effective enforcement mechanisms. The trader in question is trading at all times of the day and night; is causing nuisance in parking for weeks at an end- without the trading receptacle being removed from the trading site at the end of each trading day; and further has taken no effort to provide for collection of rubbish. They have been able to do this because of the lack of clarity over zoning including the attitude of enforcing officers to the edge of the zone.

 

I have a number of outstanding questions around the policy:

·         What evidence is currently required by council officers to demonstrate compliance with policy?

·         What monitoring is undertaken about street traders complying with policy in Zone A?

·         Under the existing policy is there a provision for rejection of street traders if they continue to cause problems for residents as outlined in the street trading policy?

 

In the circumstances I would argue the licensing authority should now consider much more robust policy which will be fairer for all- residents as much as street traders. At the very least it should include:

·         Consideration of Zone A expansion;

·         Or, at the very least, clearer policy for the edge of Zone A;

·         Tougher rules and much clearer enforcement mechanisms for traders unprepared to follow policy, including transparent warning signals.

·         Changing the designation of streets in zones A and B;

·         Consideration of options to prevent or restrict traders from trading on yellow lines and contravening any road traffic regulations.”

 

5.3       The Chair, Councillor O’Quinn invited Councillor Mac Cafferty to speak to his letter. Councillor Mac Cafferty reiterated his concerns and having listened to all that had been said the Chair, responded in the following terms dealing with each of the concerns raised by Councillor Mac Cafferty in the order in which they had been put:

 

Following a compliant the above procedure would be followed. The matter would be monitored by officers and the complainant may also be asked to keep a record, not only to be used in evidence but also to inform officers of the best time to monitor (also see answer above).

 

            If an existing street trader was found to be breaching the Policy then the enforcement policy would be followed as outlined above. If a breach is witnessed then usually a warning notice is issued and any subsequent breach could lead to revocation or prosecution. If the breach is an appropriately serious case the licensing authority would look at straight revocation without the need to serve a warning notice

 

The Licensing Committee will consider a report to review the Street Trading Policy Item 6 on this afternoon’s agenda. Members will be asked to note the contents of the report and decide which of the following options (if any) to ask officers to initiate consultation on in order to change the Street Trading Policy.

 

            (1) Consult on amending conditions so thattrading cannot take place on yellow lines and/or otherwise contravene TROs (Traffic Regulation Orders) including parking restrictions. Legislation allows for the Council to vary the conditions of a street trading consent as they consider reasonably necessary. Conditions may specify trading time limits on yellow lines or parking restrictions, e.g. 30 minutes; and

 

            (2) Consider re-designating some of the streets in Zones A & B. This would require a wholesale review of the policy with statutory provision to consult. A firm proposal with rational and identification of proposed consent streets to become prohibitive streets would be needed to go out to consultation. Therefore, resolve to set up an officer and member working group to consider this.

 

Selbourne Road Street Trader

 

This trader in question currently holds a valid Zone B street trading permit and as such can trade within Zone B providing they are not causing a nuisance, obstruction or danger to the public, as well as complying with the conditions of the permit. Since receiving complaints relating to this trader, relevant council departments have investigated issues of nuisance, obstruction, parking and licensing breaches.

 

Licensing officers have monitored several times and a warning letter has been issued regarding not moving the vehicle from the trading site at the end of the trading day. Since that time officers have continued to monitor and no further breaches have been observed.

 

As well as holding a Zone B street trading permit the vehicle owner holds a trader’s parking permit and residents parking permit allowing him to park in the residents’ bay.

 

Our records show that since April 2017 no new concerns have been raised with this office regarding this trader, however any further complaints received will be investigated.”

           

5.4       RESOLVED – That the contents of the letter received from Councillor Mac Cafferty and the response given to it be noted. It is also noted that a report entitled “Street Trading Policy Review” Item 6 on the agenda is to be considered and recommendations in respect of that matter agreed.

 

5d       Deputations

 

5.5       The Committee were requested to consider the Notice of Motion prepared by the Green Group and referred from the meeting of Council on 6 April 2017 details of which were set out on the agenda and below:

 

           This council notes the damaging effects of diesel engine emissions to people's health and to the environment and would welcome accelerating initiatives that will reduce this harm and lead to cleaner air. This council resolves to:

 

            (1a) Request the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee to call for a report taking into consideration;

(1b) Whether it would be possible to follow the example of Westminster City Council and introduce visitor parking differentials to incentivise diesel vehicle drivers not to enter the highest polluted areas of the city;

 

(1c) Options to enforce the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 in relation to vehicle idling offences;

 

(2) Request the Licensing Committee to consider calling for a report detailing the options to ensure that all new taxi licences issued under the council's policy of managed growth are for low emission vehicles only, and that all replacement taxis are low emission vehicles;

 

(3) To facilitate (2) above, this council requests the Chief Executive to write to Business Secretary, Greg Clark, requesting that financial assistance be made available to taxi drivers switching to more environmentally friendly vehicles, as announced at the recent opening of the new London Taxi Company factory in Coventry.”

 

5.6       The Chair, Councillor O’Quinn, invited Councillor Deane to speak in support of the Deputation Having heard all that had been said, Councillor O’Quinn responded as set out below:

 

            “We have the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan which details a number of initiatives for improving air quality. We do not have a current taxi licensing emissions policy. However, we are looking at different initiatives including electric taxis, and some of the taxi fleet have had exhaust adaptations to reduce oxides of nitrogen emissions and this was facilitated using Department of transport funding. We also have an age policy for new and replacement vehicles.

An unmet demand survey is due to take place next year, as is a review of the Blue Book, so any changes regarding emissions could be incorporated at that stage. Any policy change would to go to licensing committee for approval and we anticipate that air quality issues in relation to taxi fleet will be discussed at a future Licensing Committee.”

 

5.7       The Chair, Councillor O’Quinn, then opened the matter for Member discussion. Councillor Wares noted the Chair’s response and further proposed that a report responding to the issues raised and providing a further update be provided to the next scheduled meeting of the Committee. This was seconded by Councillor Page and the Committee concurred with the proposal.

 

5.8       RESOLVED – (1) That the contents of the Deputation and the response given be noted; and

 

            (2) That a report responding to the points set out in the Deputation be provided for consideration at the next scheduled meeting of the Committee.

Supporting documents:

 


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