Slideshow: Taxi drivers protest against planned rank move
By Elaine King FURIOUS taxi drivers massed their vehicles at the Wisbech Horsefair yesterday as part of their protest against plans to move their rank away from the bus station. They won support from at least one councillor, Roger Green, who turned up to
By Elaine King
FURIOUS taxi drivers massed their vehicles at the Wisbech Horsefair yesterday as part of their protest against plans to move their rank away from the bus station.
They won support from at least one councillor, Roger Green, who turned up to watch the protest.
"Fenland District Council has got it on their agenda to move the taxis, but I have not talked to anyone who wants that. It would be flying in the face of public opinion," he said"
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Councillor John West, visiting from March, said: "I can't see anything wrong with where they are at the moment. With a little bit more talking and negotiation, the problem could be easily resolved."
More than 30 drivers lined their vehicles up across the site in a bid to counter a claim from Fenland District Council that 45 taxis had once been counted in the area.
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Watched by police, councillors, and council officials, the taxi drivers poured into the site at 11am.
"This was a quick exercise being conducted by angry taxi drivers, to show you cannot get 45 taxis on the site without impeding buses," said Dave Patrick, chairman of the Wisbech and District Hackney Carriage Drivers Association.
Cllr Jan French, who sits on the council's licensing committee said: "The drivers have shown it would be impossible to get 45 taxis on the site. The drivers have come here today, and not caused any problem."
Mr Patrick added: "We planned to get as many taxis as possible on the site. Of course we don't normally use all the area, or the buses would not be able to reverse. With 31 taxis here the buses could not move, so someone made a false statement."
Mr Patrick, who handed copies of a letter to the police and councillors, added:
"I am delighted with the response from taxi drivers, and would like to thank everyone for their attendance."
Fenland District Council is suggesting a new taxi rank is created near The Case pub on Canal Street, because the current rank causes "serious dangers to pedestrians," and "congestion problems that have led to an increasing number of accidents."
One taxi driver had his number taken by a council official after leaving his vehicle to visit the toilet during the protest.
"I was told I should not leave my vehicle, that has never been a problem before," said independent taxi driver Jonathan Shinn.
Beverley Shinn, the former owner of Bev's Taxis, said: "I have been working here for 20 years and there has never been a problem with taxis using this area. I have never known a bus to hit a taxi, or vice versa."
Taxi driver Colin Kilby wants the council to make the current taxi rank safer, by marking out bays and erecting signs.
Cllr Green, who watched the protest, said: "I think the taxi drivers have proved their point, I would be interested to know who saw 45 taxis on the site and when."
Several members of the public told Councillor Mac Cotterill they wanted the taxis to remain at The Horsefair.
"At the moment I have an open mind," he said.