Taxi owner bids to end single zone

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A CABBIE’S petition calling on councillors to reverse a decision to end taxi zones in Northumberland has opened on the authority’s website.

Graham Cavener, owner of Union Private Hire in Blyth, believes allowing drivers to ply for trade anywhere in the county will create hotspots full of taxis and leave some rural areas deserted.

He fears more Tyneside cab drivers will be attracted to Northumberland.

His petition demands that “Northumberland County Council removes the threat of a single county-wide zoning scheme that is contrary to the aims and ambitions of the council’s local transport plan”.

The petition runs until December 3.

It needs to attract 1,500 names to oblige the county to reconsider its decision to end the old zones inherited from the abolished district councils.

The change to a single zone was backed by most of those responding to council consultation, but will take months to implement.

Councillors were told in June by their public safety and enforcement manager, Philip Soderquest, that the Department for Transport and the Office of Fair Trading backed the dismantling of licensing zones to help customers.

The county council’s licensing and regulatory committee chairman, Jeff Watson, said: “We are not here to prevent people from making a living and if this helps taxi operators to do that, all well and good.”

To view the petition, go to http://committees.northumberland.gov.uk/elps/