Taxi ranks are set to remain after review

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 10:08

TAXI drivers have won their fight to prevent spaces on Unicorn Hill being turned in to short stay parking.

Councillors were considering whether four spaces at the top of the rank should be used for shoppers during the daytime to help businesses in the area. But after a 12 week consultation with those affected, they decided they should stay permanently as part of the taxi rank.

Nadeem Naz, from Redditch Taxi Association, said his colleagues were already ‘very short of spaces’, with an estimated 37 in the town centre for more than 230 Hackney carriages.

Speaking at a meeting of Redditch Borough Council’s licensing committee on Monday (December 17), he told councillors drivers had already been hit by the introduction of speed humps on Unicorn Hill, reducing the 12 spaces available for them down to ten.

Further problems are expected to arise when the rank in the bus station is closed temporarily in January.

“Taking those four spaces is going to be really hard for us. We are always asking for more spaces and all the drivers from the bus station are going to come and park there as well,” he added.

But traders argued their businesses were being hit by the lack of short stay parking outside their shops.

Coun Juliet Brunner said: “I’m rather concerned as we do have businesses down there and whatever way we cut it, the businesses are suffering. The whole aim of this was to encourage people to use these shops. I just think you’re coming up to such a busy time for shops in the new year, this would really help them.”

But councillors supporting short stay spaces being permanently introduced were outvoted five to four, with licensing chair Andy Fry saying he had been monitoring the area in a bid to see whether spaces were needed.

“I’m of the view from what I have observed I am reluctant to ask for spaces for short stay parking when there are spaces that already exist.”

Paul Laight, manager at Cheque Exchange on Unicorn Hill, spoke at the meeting and described the decision afterwards as ‘disappointing’.

“If there were certain parking spaces, that would bring trade to this side of the town even if they are only used to pop to the bank. We would certainly have benefited,” he said.

“Hopefully at some stage in the future part of the hill will be dedicated to short-term parking but that remains to be seen. We are disappointed they took the view to oppose it.”

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