Taxi drivers protest at county council meeting

Taxi drivers' protest at Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet meeting, held at The Boathouse in Wisbech.
Taxi drivers' protest at Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet meeting, held at The Boathouse in Wisbech.

WISBECH taxi drivers used a landmark Cambridgeshire County Council meeting to make their feelings known about the proposed move of the taxi rank in the bus station.

Around 30 drivers entered the meeting room at The Boathouse with placards this morning (Tuesday) to let county councillors know they were opposed to the move proposed by Fenland District Council.

The district council wants to move the rank out of the bus station to eliminate the need for taxis to reverse and claims it will make things safer for pedestrians and taxi users.

The drivers stood at the back of room while the meeting continued, but it appeared to be a case of Cabinet ignoring the elephant in the room as attention wavered from the items on the agenda.

But the drivers finally got their say after county council leader Nick Clarke declared the meeting over and opened up the floor to any members of the public who wanted to speak.

Dave Patrick, who is a Liberal Democrat town and district councillor, spoke in his role as chairman of the Wisbech and District Hackney Carriage Drivers Association.

He said: “The public have been spoken to, we have spoken to our customers and we don’t want a change. We felt we had to make our feelings known.”

The placards carried by drivers spoke for themselves, bearing messages such as “Give people what they want”, “Leave the ranks alone” and “14 years. Deaths 0. Injuries 0. So why spend £100K to move the rank?”

Cllr Clarke said he had been happy to allow the protesters into the meeting but was unable to do anything as it is a Fenland District Council matter.

He said: “This is a Fenland issue. It should be dealt with there. But it is useful that you have raised it.”

Mr Patrick added that they had decided to protest at the county council meeting because they did not feel Fenland was listening to them, but he appreciated Cllr Clarke letting them voice their opinions.