CORKYS CARS: Staffordshire taxi firm’s office plans approved
Cannock taxi firm Corkys Cars is set to open a new booking office in the town centre after plans were given the green light by councillors.
The move will help safeguard the business, which employs 100 people, as well as providing a safe place for people to wait for cabs home, Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee was told.
An empty shop unit in Victorian Newhall in High Green will be converted into the taxi booking office, which will be allowed to open to the public from 8am to 10pm. After these hours the office will be closed to customers but staffed until 1am.
Concerns have been raised about taxi drivers inappropriately using a loading bay and disabled parking spaces in the area however, as well as existing congestion at the Stafford Road taxi rank.
A consultation response from the council’s environmental health department presented to the committee said: “Licensed drivers regularly complain about the inappropriate use of the loading bay outside Wetherspoon’s Linford Arms by other drivers. The proximity of the loading bay and its usefulness to the proposed taxi office has been highlighted as being convenient for Corkys Cars to use.
“Our experience tells us that some drivers may abuse this facility and park in the loading bay whilst they take a break or use the toilet facilities at the proposed taxi office. Licensing officers have invested a great deal of time trying to prevent taxis from using the said loading bay inappropriately and if Corkys Cars are seen to use it in this way, then others, with some justification, will undoubtedly want to do so as well.
“Customers will also know that they can take advantage of not having to queue at the Cannock taxi rank but may instead, find their way to the proposed booking office. From there they can order a taxi which will appear a few minutes later in the loading bay outside.
“At busy times however, customers will probably be waiting outside or in the foyer of the shopping parade. The result may be a second unofficial taxi rank in the town centre which is dedicated to one particular taxi company rather than to the wider benefit of all of our licensed trade.”
But committee member Councillor Paul Witton said: “Those are issues that are not relevant here – they are for licensing and police. It’s about time we had police on the street because I don’t see any.”
Community members voted unanimously to approve the change of use of the shop unit.
Sarah Pritchard, who spoke in support of the application at Wednesday’s meeting, said: “There will be no parking outside the premises. Vehicles, when booked, will be on the taxi rank with other taxis as usual.
“The change of use of this shop will bring some vitality to this part of the town and the presence of a taxi office will increase footfall for the arcade. It will provide a safe haven for vulnerable people at night, where they can wait in a place of shelter with CCTV.
“The operator will have a close link to the police office and they will be another set of eyes in the town centre.
“Corkys provide employment for 100 people and this is an opportunity to safeguard the business by promoting it in the town centre.”
Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter
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