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Cabbies’ fury after rank bid is thrown out
TAXI drivers are angry after a proposed taxi rank extension in Witney was rejected.
West Oxfordshire District Council refused plans to increase taxi spaces in Market Square from eight to 11 following objections from disabled people and businesses. Instead, three new taxi spaces will be put in at Welch Way, near Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre.
Witney Town Council member Brenda Churchill, who is disabled and often uses a wheelchair, said: “It is a very sensible decision. You would not have been able to park and get to the shops.
“You would have had to double park or park further along, which is very difficult for people who cannot walk far.”
Businesses – including Sandwich De Witney, CS Wilkinson, Stephen Hodge Associates and Cotswold Kids – opposed the plans. Objections included loss of space for deliveries and shoppers – leading to more loading in the road – and the impact on disabled people.
But Daniel Carr, owner of Ace Taxis, said: “It annoys and angers me. The council has issued licences to so many Hackney carriage vehicles in Witney and the rank provision is very, very poor.”
He said the problem was leading to congestion in High Street and suggested using Market Square itself as a rank.
Steve Vinnicombe, owner of Topcars taxi firm, said: “I think it is a disgraceful decision. The council is just issuing more and more plates and there are not enough taxi rank spaces. Taxis are running around fighting for work at 2am.”
Councillors at the licensing sub-committee meeting turned down the plan but have asked officers to further investigate increasing the rank numbers.
Norman MacRae, sub-committee chairman, said: “We will be carrying out a review to see how things progress.”