Magistrates have dismissed appeals by two drivers, whose licence applications to be private hire drivers had both been turned down by Thanet Council.
The application by Lee Clarke (40) of St. Anthony’s Way in Margate was heard by the Council’s Licensing Board on 23 May and was refused, after Councillors heard that he was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court in September 2002 of possession of drugs with intent to supply, when he was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment. Magistrates dismissed his appeal and awarded the Council £50 in costs.
Kevin Howard (46) of Selbourne Road, Margate had his application refused by the Licensing Board on 20 June; after Members were told that he was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court of conspiracy to import class B drugs and was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Again, his appeal was dismissed by the Magistrates and he was ordered to pay the Council £100 in costs.
Both applications had been refused by Thanet Council, as they contravened local guidelines, which state that people with drugs convictions cannot be licensed to work as private hire drivers.
Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: “We’re delighted that, in these two cases, the Magistrates backed the Council’s original decisions. This highlights how seriously Thanet Council takes its role of licensing private hire drivers. Anyone who gets into a private hire vehicle needs to know that they will be safe and that’s why the Council put in place certain guidelines, so that our residents and visitors can use these vehicles and have confidence in the drivers.”