Taxi rank or short stay parking? Decision for space outside Thing Me Bobs in Ely is delayed until July

Market Street, Ely, Taxi rank.

Market Street, Ely, Taxi rank. - Credit: Archant

A decision on whether to turn two short stay public parking spaces in Ely into a taxi rank has been delayed until July.

Will Noble of Noble cars in Ely PHOTO: Noble Cars

Will Noble of Noble cars in Ely PHOTO: Noble Cars - Credit: Archant

The idea to create a taxi rank out of the 30 minute parking spaces outside Thing Me Bobs prompted 71 letters, with 39 people in favour, 23 against and nine neutral responses.

One taxi driver said there was a desperate need for rank space and said their license and plates had been inflated to an extra £84 per car per year yet drivers saw nothing to benefit them in return.

Members of the East Cambs Licensing Committee are considering:

• Rotating the existing taxi rank and public parking bays so the lead car on the rank is nearest the High Street Back junction.

• The public parking zone, currently bigger than two cars, but not big enough for three, be reduced to the minimum permitted and the remaining area be incorporated into the taxi rank, which subject to approval from Cambs County Council should achieve one extra dedicated taxi space.

• Ask county council to renew worn out markings on the Market Place rank to ensure it is obvious it is not a public space.

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• A review of potential city centre sites as a “holding area” for taxis.

• Taxi provision at the new leisure village.

• A taxi trade meeting is on Friday June 16 at 9.30am in the council chamber to discuss the taxi rank consultation among other businesses.

There are 121 licensed taxis so the revenue from the latest inflation is £5,082 a year.

William Noble said: “Turning the two parking spaces into taxi parking has been the talk of the ranks for weeks and yet only 22 taxi drivers have written in to officially support it.

“I can assure you there are more drivers than that who agree we need extra ranks.

“I could take every space in Ely alone never mind all the other firms.

“Ely is expanding, taxis are needed. There isn’t even taxi ranks set aside at the new leisure village.”

Some councillors worry that losing the two parking bays will mean less chance for the public to pop to nearby shops and banks.

In a series of letters to the council one resident, Donna Wallis, said: “These would be better served as disabled bays.”

James Dening said: “This extension is unnecessary and reduces the ability to nip into town and park for 10 to 20 minutes.”

Little Downham, Haddenham and Littleport Parish council oppose the plans as do a selection of 13 district, city and county councillors.

Councillor Joshua Schumann said: “The vitality of some of the small independent shops hinge on people being able to park in this location for a short time.

“I cannot see the benefit of increasing this taxi rank as I have never seen a demand from users or the necessity to stack up more taxis in this location.”

County and district councillor Bill Hunt said: “Village residents pop into Ely many times in the week and need to park for a few minutes.

“This move if adopted would in my view harm the viability of city centre shops and businesses.”