Council awarded costs following withdrawn appeal

 

Cheltenham Borough Council has been awarded £838 in costs following the last-minute withdrawal of an appeal against its licensing committee’s decision.

In January 2017 the licensing committee revoked the private hire driver’s licence of Mr Keith Lewis after he accrued 12 penalty points for driving at excess speed on four separate occasions. Mr Lewis did not declare any of the penalty points to the council as required under the terms of his licence and the committee felt that the facts showed he was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence. His licence was revoked with immediate effect in the interests of public safety.

Mr Lewis subsequently lodged an appeal with Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court which the council contested, but Mr Lewis withdrew his appeal on the morning of the hearing. The council pursued costs to cover the legal and other fees expended in contesting the appeal. On Monday 8January the court decided that Mr Lewis should pay to the council the full costs of the appeal, amounting to £838.

The chairman of the licensing committee, Councillor David Willingham, said: “In carrying out its licensing functions the council’s primary concern is the safety of the public. By repeatedly driving at excess speed and failing to declare penalty points to the council on four separate occasions, Mr Lewis demonstrated that he is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence and the committee therefore stands by its decision to revoke his licence. Now that Mr Lewis has chosen not to continue with the appeal, it is right that the public should not become liable to pay the costs, so I am gratified that the court has awarded full costs to the council.”

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, Cheltenham Borough Council’s cabinet member for development and safety, said: “This case demonstrates the council’s commitment to ensuring that the highest standards are maintained in Cheltenham’s taxi and private hire fleet, and that this sort of flagrant disregard for the law will not be tolerated.”

 

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