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Increase hinted for Coventry taxi ranks.

LICENSING bosses are remaining tight-lipped over possible changes to the number of taxi ranks in Coventry - even though blueprints show increased provisions for Hackney carriage and private hire operators.

Under proposals for the controversial Millennium Place development, traffic orders are needed to ban vehicles from the area, leading to the removal of taxi ranks in Trinity Street and Hales Street. But the moves will see nine new places created on the south side of Fairfax Street, and room for three hackney carriages on the north side of Hales Street, resulting in a net gain of five spaces.

Questioned by Tory councillors about the perceived lack of cab ranks in the city centre, licensing chairman Cllr Eric Linton (Lab, Sherbourne) refused to discuss the issue ahead of talks with Coventry's private hire and Hackney carriage associations.

He told the city council's scrutiny board he was studying a consultant's report commissioned into taxi allocations across the centre of the city.

"The report is now with the Hackney carriage association, with a view to bringing that to the panel," he said.

Negotiations were under way, based on the report, and the licensing committee had given a commitment that the findings would be discussed with taxi associations before any decisions were made, added Cllr Linton.

Conservative councillors brought the traffic orders to the scrutiny board's attention to discuss the implications on the taxi situation.

Councillors were told the orders might change, dep-ending on the outcome of Gala's High Court challenge to compulsory purchase orders made as part of the Millennium Place package: that is destined to be heard in London on November 16 and 17.

Tory group leader Cllr Tim Sawdon (Con, Wainbody) criticised how orders could be made, when the findings of the council's own taxi consultants, and the outcome of the High Court case, were not known.

He said: "It seems to me that we are not talking about joined-up government here."

Members agreed to defer discussions on the taxi changes until after the consultant's report into taxi ranks could be considered by the licensing committee, and the conclusion of the High Court case.
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Author:Magill, Peter
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 30, 2000
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