Should B Licences be Restricted ?
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THE decision of the West Midland Deputy Licensing Authority not to attach conditions to the B licence granted to Mr. James Breeze, of Stokeon-Trent, resulted in an appeal by the L.M.S. Railway Co.
In 1935, Mr. Breeze was granted a B licence without any statutory restriction upon radius of operation, on the understanding that he kept to a radius oi 50 miles, except on special occasions. He was warned that, if he were to do long-distance work regularly, he would have to apply• for a variation. The licence was renewed this year.
Evidence showed that the applicant had been working principally locally, with occasional long-distance furniture removals. During the appeal hearing, Mr. Breeze declared that he wanted to he in a position, so far as long-distance work was concerned, to carry out furniture removals and to transport certain, goods for a Stoke-on-Trent concern.
The Deputy Licensing Authority reached his decision on the length Of time which Mr. Breeze had been in business (70 years), and on the fact that most of his long-distance work was the transport of furniture, which was spasmodic. At the Same time, Mr. Breeze was directed to make a record of every journey carried out for persons . other than Staffs. County Council.
The Deputy Authority pointed out, in his statement to the Tribunal, that no road operators objected, but the Tribunal declares that it was his duty, nevertheless, to exercise his discretion.
The Tribunal agrees that, when an applicant asks for an unrestricted licence only as a safeguard against the possible loss of existing custom, the proper way for a Licensing Authority to exercise his discretion under Section 8 is to attach reasonable conditions, in accordance with the evidence, leaving it to the licensee to apply for variations. Regard should be had to the applicant's past activity.
The appeal is allowed, and the case is to go back to the Licensing
Authority for reconsideration: The• Tribunal adds that the House of Lords decision in the Hill and Long case does not affect the questions raised.