New Forest District Council agrees increases to licensing fees, which includes taxi operators, caravan sites and piercing salons
TAXI licences in the New Forest are to be hiked for the first time in seven years.
They are among a raft of fees, including animal welfare, caravan sites and pleasure boats, which New Forest District Council has agreed to increase.
As reported in the A&T, fees for a number of services licensed by the council are reviewed annually, with legislation stating the fees must be “reasonable” and relate to the costs of performing the function.
The proposed increases, which will come into force on 1st April, were approved at a meeting of the council’s cabinet.
This includes increasing a private hire operator licence from £509 to £526, while a licence for a private hire vehicle will go from £142 to £167. These fees have not changed since April 2017.
A report to the council stated the amendments to the taxi and private hire fees followed a “comprehensive review of the service”, which included processing time and the increased cost of items such as vehicle plates, brackets and driver badges.
Fees for animal welfare, caravan sites and skin piercing premises can be charged to recover the cost of providing the service only.
The meeting heard the new charges had been set following a full review of the costs of providing the services, as well as benchmarking of fees charged by other local authorities.
The cost of a dog or cat boarding licence will go up from £332 to £360, and pet shop licences will rise to £338 from £301.
A one-year pleasure boat licence will cost £115, up from £100, and a boatman’s licence will go up slightly, from £104 to £116.
Caravan parks applying for a new multiple licensed site will pay £800, up from £715, and applications for new betting premises will cost £1,750, up from £1,500.
Members also agreed to carry out a public consultation on changes to its taxi licensing policy.
This sets out details of the licensing of drivers, vehicles and operators, as well as promoting public safety.
A report to councillors explained legislation governing taxi and private hire licensing was “outdated”.
Proposals in the draft policy include the need for diesel and petrol vehicles being licensed by NFDC for the first time to be less than five years old, and hybrid vehicles less than seven years old.
“The new fleet standards will reduce the impact of emissions from our vehicles on the air quality, in both the New Forest and other areas where our licensed vehicles work”, the report explained.
It continued: “In addition, the review has taken into account [Department for Transport updates] which requires licensing authorities to perform additional checks to promote public safety and best practice.”
“These enhanced procedures require additional staff resource and have increased processing costs.”