A district council has revoked the licence of a private hire operator, as well as hackney carriage licences for five of his vehicles, after he was found to be running his taxi business outside of the district.
Ismail Emin, a Chelmsford resident, had been granted the licences by Uttlesford District Council for his business, West End Cars, in October 2015.
Emin listed the business address as a unit in Ongar Road, Great Dunmow, and he provided a letter from the landlord confirming he was a tenant at the address.
However, the council said it had received complaints that West End Cars vehicles were driving around Chelmsford with a Chelmsford telephone number on the side of their vehicles.
A member of Uttlesford’s enforcement team carried out two visits to the Dunmow address to check the record of bookings, but found no signage or any indication of the firm’s presence.
Neighbours also had no knowledge of a taxi business operating from that address.
At a meeting of Uttlesford’s Licensing and Environmental Health Committee last month (23 May), Emin failed to provide any supporting evidence that the business or the taxis were based in Uttlesford.
Cllr Robert Chambers, chairman of the Licensing and Environmental Health Committee, said: “The reason why someone from outside the area would seek a license in Uttlesford is quite clear – Uttlesford has one of the lowest fee structures in the country, and almost certainly in Essex.
“It is the policy of the council not to licence any hackney carriage which will not be predominantly used within Uttlesford. To reinforce this it is the practice of the Council to seek a declaration from the applicant that the vehicle will be predominantly used within the district. In this instance, Mr Emin’s declaration was false. There was no evidence to show that he has run his business within the district, or that any of the hackney carriage vehicles are working here.”
The council said its policy was based on a 2009 High Court case in which the judge said that, when considering applications for licences, councils must have regard to whether the vehicles will be used to ply for hire in the council’s district or whether they will be used predominantly outside of the district. In the latter event the council should refuse to grant a licence.
Cllr Chambers said: “I hope this case sends a strong message to those who fail to meet the licensing conditions that this will not be tolerated and that the council will not hesitate to take the appropriate action.”