Bearwood Coaches ruling quashed

Appeal has launched reconsideration after TC revoked O-Licence and disqualified TM

The revocation of the 60-vehicle O-Licence held by Smethwick-based William Burnett, trading as Bearwood Coaches, by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton and his disqualification of Mr Burnett from acting as a Transport Manager (TM) indefinitely, has been quashed by the Upper Tribunal on appeal.

The Tribunal has directed that the matter be reconsidered by a different TC.

At a previous Public Inquiry (PI) in 2018 the O-Licence was curtailed to 40 vehicles because of maintenance issues. The O-Licence was subsequently restored to 60 vehicles after a satisfactory audit.

Making the revocation and disqualification orders, the TC said that Mr Burnett was clearly convinced that he ran the best operation in the business despite two unsatisfactory maintenance investigations and two PIs.

His mind appeared entirely closed to the requirement to keep proper records and manage a business to modern compliance standards. He continued to reject well-meant advice from a variety of sources.

Mr Burnett needed to show financial standing of £270,550 for the 60 vehicles authorised. Because the two bank accounts showed average balances over different periods, not overlapping at all, and neither balance was sufficient to demonstrate financial standing, he had failed to do that.

That was entirely in keeping with his disorganised approach to any form of paperwork. Record-keeping was chaotic to non-existent. Vehicles were missing their eight-weekly checks which were inadequately documented when they did take place.

He had failed to carry out most of the specific assurances given in July 2018. Mr Burnett was entirely dismissive of the views of others and utterly incapable of delegating to anyone else.

The TC did not believe Mr Burnett was capable of change or of acting according to the standards required of a modern-day TM [routeone/Court Report/9 October and 6 November 2019].

The Upper Tribunal said that it had expedited the hearing of the appeal because of the start of the new school year. It would issue the reasons for its decision in writing at a later date.