At a meeting of Basildon Licensing Committee on 18 September, members requested an update in relation to the issue of ‘out of area’ private hire vehicles working within the Borough of Basildon, particularly those working under the Uber banner.
The request was made in a bid to seek information about what the Council may be able to do to support the local licensed trade and tackle ‘out of area’ private hire vehicles working in Basildon.
Concerns were also raised at the undermining of local standards which have been implemented to promote public safety within the Borough.
A report provided an overview of the current situation, legal position and suggests actions for consideration by members.
The report asserted that the Committee noted its contents and the steps already being taken by officers, and that a letter be sent on behalf of the Chair of Licensing Committee to the relevant Minister of State to express concern regarding the current licensing legislative framework and the need for the urgent implementation of a legislation review, particularly in relation to the challenges arising from ‘out of town’ private hire.
It also said that a further letter should be sent on behalf of the Chair of Licensing Committee to Transport for London setting out the concerns of Basildon Council with the current licensing arrangements, highlighting disparities in the standards applied across the authorities, the impact that their licensing approach is having on the Basildon licensing function and to request the urgent review of their licence conditions to bring them closer into line with those adopted by Basildon Council.
The report went on to say that both letters should be shared with the Local Government Association, with a view to supporting ongoing lobbying of the Government in relation to updating legislation.
It also stated that a letter be sent to Uber asking them to withdraw from Basildon or apply for an Operator’s Licence with Basildon Borough Council, and seeking clarification of the reasons for their failure to apply for a licence from Basildon, and to continue to liaise with other local authorities around the steps they are proposing in relation to “out of town” operators.
The report finally said that should Uber or another app based operator apply for an operator’s licence in Basildon, the Council would have to determine whether they were “fit and proper” to hold a licence, and consider the case on its own merits.
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