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Cap on age of taxis pushed back to 2025 in West Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 15:38 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 23 September 2020

West Suffolk Council's cabinet agreed to several changes to its taxi licensing policy.  Picture: ARCHANT

West Suffolk Council's cabinet agreed to several changes to its taxi licensing policy. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Plans to introduce a cap on the age of taxi vehicles in West Suffolk have been pushed back to give stability to operators while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

West Suffolk Council cabinet member for planning and regulation, Andy Drummond, said the decision represented a step forward for licensing in the district, Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILWest Suffolk Council cabinet member for planning and regulation, Andy Drummond, said the decision represented a step forward for licensing in the district, Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

West Suffolk Council had consulted on a series of changes to the licensing of Hackney Carriage cabs – those which can be hailed from the roadside – which included a limit on the age of a vehicle used.

The council said that while that had gained public support, there had been disquiet among some cab firms.

It instead proposed to introduce the measure in 2025 to give cab drivers time to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

MORE: Consultation launched over cab changes in West Suffolk

The council currently operates two licensing zones, effectively the old St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath areas before they were brought together under West Suffolk. These will continue, although the arrangement will be revisited in two years.

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Other changes agreed by West Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night included removing the requirement for cabs in Newmarket to have a livery on the side of their vehicles, which could cost as much as £300 per vehicle for bonnet and boot wraps or re-sprays, as well as improved communication with police and strengthened staff training.

Councillor Andy Drummond, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “I am pleased that we continue to make strong progress.

“Licensing policy has to maintain a sustainable balance in the best interests of all concerned and I believe the measured approach we have taken over the last few years in working with the taxi trade, both to align licensing terms and to introduce good practice, is to the benefit of customers and the trade.

“Taxis play an important role in connecting residents in our rural areas and in towns to the services they need, and I thank all those who took part in the evidence gathering.”

Mr Drummond added: “We cannot please everyone with all aspects of the policy but the proposed policy balances the views of most, it’s fair and protects the vulnerable.”

Councillor Carol Bull said that one less change for the taxi trade given the huge impacts of coronavirus currently was helpful for operators.

Other minor changes included cutting some of the red tape around vehicle inspections and lengthening the period of disqualification for any driver convicted of certain crimes, as part of efforts to protect the public.


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