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routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017

NEWS/court report STANLEY GATH TRAVEL LICENCE REVOKED o In his decision the TC stated that the purchase of Stanley Gath Travel was merely a way to enter the industry while avoiding TC scrutiny The licence held by Stanley Gath Travel, which was acquired by the daughter of the directors of M Travel so that that business could continue, has been revoked by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney. In April, the TC revoked M Travel’s 26-vehicle international licence and disqualified the company and its directors Darren Mayes and Margaret Brown from holding a PSV O-Licence. Its Transport Manager (TM) Anthony Dee was also disqualified from acting as a TM until he had retaken a TM’s CPC qualification course routeone/Court Report/10 May. The TC refused to stay his decision after the company appealed because he considered it a danger to the public. Sole Director of Stanley Gath Hannah Mayes told the TC that she had been an employee of M Travel, which was owned by her mother and father. Initially a new company, M Travel 2017, was formed to continue the business but it would not have been able to obtain interim authority to commence operation. However, an opportunity arose to buy Stanley Gath so that the business could continue without a break. She had effectively bought a shell company to continue the business. No assets, liabilities or customers were included in the sale. The vehicles were former M Travel vehicles and they were being operated from the same premises routeone/ Court Report/26 July. In his decision the TC said that his refusal to grant a stay was upheld by the Upper Tribunal on 26 April routeone/ Court Report 24 May. The transaction to buy Stanley Gath Travel took effect on 27 April 2017, the following day. Hannah Mayes paid £20,000 for Stanley Gath Travel whose sole assets were, in her words, “eight licences”. That was £2,500 for each PSV O-Licence disc. Given that Stanley Gath had never even had a disc issued prior to 27 April 2017, the date on which the sale took effect, let alone traded, the only thing that Ms Mayes actually bought was the licence authority. If he allowed the sole shareholder and director Hannah Mayes to enter the PSV industry by buying a dormant ‘shell company’ that happened to hold a licence but had no other transferable characteristics, would not other operators in a similar set of circumstances seek to do the same? Would he not risk creating a new industry and market whereby CPC holders with time on their hands set up limited companies to apply for licences merely for the purpose of selling them on? At £209 for an application against a sale price of £20,000, the mark-up was considerable. He considered that the purchase by Hannah Mayes of Stanley Gath Travel was a device both to enter the industry while avoiding the gatekeeper scrutiny of a Traffic Commissioner and to continue, at least in part, the operation of the revoked licence of M Travel. The material changes were total. He found it entirely appropriate that the licence, abused as it had been, was brought to an end. The characteristics of Stanley Gath Travel that allowed it to establish its good repute were no longer present and the new sole director and shareholder had failed yet to establish her good repute. // If he allowed her to enter the PSV industry by buying a dormant ‘shell company’, would not other operators in a similar set of circumstances seek to do the same? // Mike Jewell / Legal Journalist 18 / ROUTE…ONE.NET 9 AUGUST 2017


routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017
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