Illegal taxi ranks clogging up town

Talbot Square roadworks which are affecting taxi ranks in the town
Talbot Square roadworks which are affecting taxi ranks in the town
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TOWN centre roadworks are forcing taxi drivers to form illegal ranks leading to traffic chaos during busy weekend nights.

Now calls have been made for more consultation between cabbies and council chiefs in order to ease the problem.

Building work is taking place in Talbot Square to create a new pedestrian area in front of the town hall.

It means the existing rank outside The Counting House has moved to a location close to Rumours, while a new taxi rank has been created on the corner of Market Street.

But Mark Marshall, licensing and health and safety manager for Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the licensing committee the disruption was clogging up town centre roads at peak times.

He said: “Due to developments in the town centre, engineering work has pushed the taxis further out of town and this is causing problems with obstructions, especially in Queen Street.

“Taxis are queuing from Queen Street, down Abingdon Street to Springfield Road and are illegally ranked.”

Mr Marshall said complaints had been received from residents and hoteliers in Lord Street who were affected by the queuing taxis.

Bill Lewtas, of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Association, said: “Various developments in the town centre have reduced the number of rank spaces and we would welcome the opportunity of valid consultation on this. Our view is these should be made available in places where people want them. Change is inevitable due to developments, over which we have no control.

“At the moment we have a situation where the authorities turn a ‘blind eye’ to over-ranking simply because there are not sufficient rank spaces where they are needed. This is very much appreciated.

“In the past highways, licensing, police and our taxi association would review ranks every few years and action would be taken. It is our understanding funding is available for new ranks to be created. By law taxi driver licensing fees must be ring fenced and used only for the benefit of the taxi trade.”

Licensing chairman Coun Norman Hardy said the council’s taxi liaison working group, which he also chairs, was aware of the problems.