Cab company considers its future
OWNERS of a Felixstowe taxi company are considering the future of the firm after losing an appeal over their trading licence.The ruling by South-East Suffolk Magistrates, who backed councillors' decision to take away the operator's licence, means Independent Taxis (Lifts) Ltd of Felixstowe will have to cease trading.
OWNERS of a Felixstowe taxi company are considering the future of the firm after losing an appeal over their trading licence.
The ruling by South-East Suffolk Magistrates, who backed councillors' decision to take away the operator's licence, means Independent Taxis (Lifts) Ltd of Felixstowe will have to cease trading.
But the company does have one last option open to it – the right to appeal to the crown court against the magistrates' refusal to allow its appeal.
If the firm's owners, Ian and Sheila Cable, of Roman Way, Felixstowe, take this route they can carry on trading until the court makes its final decision.
Suffolk Coastal council took away Independent Taxis (Lifts) Ltd's licence to operate last November after councillors had been informed of a serious breach of the authority's licensing rules.
In December 2000 a car working for the company failed its mechanical inspections carried out by an independent garage and the owner returned the council plate which allows the car to trade lawfully as a taxi.
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Reports were received by the council that the car was continuing to operate as a taxi, and the police subsequently stopped the vehicle, which was found to have paying passengers on board.
The car was not taxed, did not have a valid MOT, and was fitted with a forged plate that had a photocopy of the old one with the expiry date changed.
"This was a grave breach of the rules we have in place to ensure that the residents of this district are guaranteed a safe and reliable journey," said Stan Hewitt, chairman of the licensing and health committee.
"The company concerned continued to allow members of the public to use a car which had failed essential safety checks and which would not have been covered by insurance if an accident had occurred.
"It is probably one of the most serious incidents that councillors have had to consider at this committee and we felt that we had little choice other than to take the ultimate sanction of refusing to renew the operator's licence.
"This strong action shows the people of Suffolk Coastal that we are determined to ensure that they can use a licensed vehicle in the knowledge that they are travelling in a safe and insured vehicle, with a trustworthy driver.
"I am confident that the rest of the licensed trade will support the stand we are taking as it in everyone's interests to guarantee that people can continue to rely on their local taxi companies, and I am pleased that the Magistrates Court has backed our decision."
The company was able to carry on trading until the appeal case was heard, and is now understood to be considering its next move.