TC denies O-licence over fronting concerns

Ashleigh Wight
November 8, 2016


Traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken (pictured) has denied a North Lanarkshire-based business an O-licence because of concerns that it could be a front for its director’s domestic partner.

The TC was concerned that ARC (Shotts) director Claire Murphy was a front for Derek Conner. Conner had previously been called to a public inquiry (PI) to consider an application for another company, RCL Transport (Shotts), but had withdrawn its bid for an O-licence before the hearing.

The TC said that publicly available newspaper cuttings referred to Conner’s drug use and other behaviour that could affect his repute. He was also linked to revoked operator Tom Waste Solutions.

A PI in Edinburgh was told that ARC (Shotts) did not have the required financial standing or professional competence following the resignation of its proposed transport manager.

Murphy told the PI that she applied for an O-licence as her family had been in the haulage industry for 20 years and she wanted to carry on the business of her father, James McCready, who was thinking of retiring. She denied that the business would be a front for RCL Transport (Shotts), and claimed that they would be separate businesses should they both be granted an O-licence. However, the companies had the same registered office, proposed operating centre and maintenance provider, as well as other connections.

ARC (Shotts), which sought permission for two vehicles with the intention of operating one initially, did not have any vehicles or drivers as it did not want to make a commitment until it was granted permission to operate.

Murphy said she planned to get her own CPC and wanted to be the business’s transport manager. The company had appointed an alternative transport manager until she passed her exams, but the transport manager resigned shortly before the PI.

She admitted that it could no longer demonstrate the required financial standing as the money had since been used as a loan to RCL Transport (Shotts).

Aitken said that aside from the application automatically failing because of the firm’s lack of financial standing and transport manager, there were concerns that Murphy would not be in control of the business if the O-licence was granted.

The TC said: “The issue of repute is a live issue given Ms Murphy’s association with others who have not been granted an operator’s licence. It is blatantly 
clear to me that this application by 
Ms Murphy was the latest endeavour by at least Mr Connor and others to get an operator’s licence.

“No doubt it is very useful to 
Mr Connor, given his background, to have a life partner who can be put in place to assist in business. I consider this application to be the latest manifestation of fronting activity.

“In short, Ms Murphy has not satisfied me as to repute – the onus is on her in an application case and for that reason this application also fails,” Aitken added.

About the Author


Share this article

Vehicle Type