Taxi firm loses its final crown court appeal
A taxi firm has stopped trading after a court decided one of the owners was '˜not a fit and proper person' to hold an operator's or driver's licence.
In a final bid to continue operating, the joint owners of Wendy’s Wheels, Wendy Jackson and Andrea Noble appealed to the crown court in a bid to overturn the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s licensing committee made in March 2017 to revoke their operator’s licence as well as Jackson’s driver’s licence.
The committee made the decision on the basis they showed a lack of compliance, poor standards and conduct as well as a lack of responsibility for promoting the aims of the licensing policy.
Jackson and Noble appealed the revocation but in November 2017 magistrates agreed the committee had made the right decision and dismissed the appeal.
They took their final appeal to Hull Crown Court and after hearing the evidence, Recorder Angus Withington, sitting alongside two magistrates, also agreed with the decision of the committee and magistrates and dismissed their claim.
Giving the judgement, Recorder Withington said the evidence that he had heard related to Jackson and there was no criticism of Noble.
He added that, despite a final written warning, Jackson had “consistently failed to comply” with requests from the council’s licensing officers and that after going through an amber traffic light three weeks after the appeal hearing at the magistrates’ court, ‘pushed the matter of legality to the absolute limit’ and he was satisfied she did not meet the criteria of being a ‘fit and proper person’.
Recorder Withington said: “We are perfectly satisfied there has not been the consistent and engrained compliance and approach towards all requirements placed on a driver and private hire operator.”
“We are quite unable to say the decision of the licensing committee was wrong. It is our judgement and finding that the respective appeals made by Ms Jackson both in relation to the private hire operator’s licence and the drivers licence are dismissed.
“We therefore uphold the decision of the licensing committee in relation to both her and Ms Noble.”
Jackson and Noble must also pay council costs of £12,000.
Paul Abbott, interim head of service for housing, transport and public protection at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This is the first time that the council has had a case which has gone through two appeal processes but we are pleased, after hearing the evidence, the courts agreed with the decision of the licensing committee and dismissed the appeal.
“The council’s licensing team have been working closely with the drivers who were working under Wendy’s Wheels to ensure they have alterative work and this decision does not affect the number of drivers or vehicles available in the Bridlington area as bookings can be made with other licensed operators or Hackney carriages.
“The council takes the conduct of its operators and drivers and the impact on the welfare and safety of the public very seriously.
“We work very closely with private hire firms to ensure they have policies and procedures in place in order to protect their customers and we will take appropriate action where those standards fall short or an individual is no longer fit and proper to continue to hold a licence.
“The council will deal with any breach of law, licensing policy or risks to safeguarding or public safety from licensed operators or drivers in a robust manner.”