December 8 2013 Latest news:
By joe wilkes
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Great Yarmouth Borough Council have defied legal advice and granted landau driver Fred England’s licence, despite knowing it was against the law.
At a tense meeting of full council yesterday – called specially to deal with this issue – councillors voted to approve the licensing committee’s initial decision to allow Mr England to continue to operate on Yarmouth seafront, by a single vote.
As reported, Mr England has operated his horse drawn carriage for 25 years, but was told the council had discovered they had been breaking the law by letting him operate without holding a DVLA licence, required by law.
Following this were petitions, a decision approving the licence and a lengthy legal report by the council’s legal advisor Chris Skinner stating that that decision was unlawful.
Fast forward to yesterday and it looked unlikely, in the face of clear legal advice around the legality of such a decision, that Mr England would get the result he craved.
"We have little chance to make a decision based purely on common sense and logic. Tonight we have that chance."
Prior to the meeting, Trevor Wainwright, leader of the council, had said “the law is the law,” with Magdalen Ward councillor Brian Walker stating “we can’t cherry pick what parts of the law we apply.”
But at the meeting a number of councillors spoke up for Mr England.
Michael Castle, who represents Central and Northgate, said: “We have little chance to make a decision based purely on common sense and logic. Tonight we have that chance.”
After the meeting Mr England said: “I feel brilliant.
“To be honest I did not think I would get it. I will be back driving at Easter.”
John Holmes, chairman of the licensing committee, said the risk should not be on the council following this decision, but on Mr England, as he needed to show his insurance was “watertight public liability insurance.” Mr England said he was confident his policy would cover him.