Ipswich Volvo driver looking at music industry after council row
PUBLISHED: 14:55 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:01 30 June 2020
A former Ipswich taxi driver is hoping to move into the music industry and private hire after losing a battle against Ipswich Borough Council.
John Winlow was told by the council’s licensing committee earlier this month that he will no longer be able to use his beloved 28-year-old Volvo 940 GL as a taxi in the town over environmental grounds.
The 64-year-old was left devastated by the decision, but said he may have found a silver lining after selling his license to another driver – and will keep the car he’s owned for 18 years on the road to use for private hire.
He said: “I didn’t have much time to consider my options.
“It is great that I get to keep my Volvo, as I honestly would not feel comfortable in any other car.
“If I would ever to have to sell it, it would like losing a part of myself.
“My little grandson Alfie, he was born at 23 weeks, his first words weren’t mummy or daddy – they were ‘grandad’s taxi’.
“He’s 11 now and is disappointed it won’t be a taxi anymore, but he’s happy I’m keeping the car.”
Mr Winlow added the car will still have to go through the same rigorous safety tests required for a taxi, but he will not be subject to borough council vehicle age restrictions.
But it isn’t the new private hire business which excites Mr Winlow the most – it is the chance to make his break into the music industry.
He said receiving the all-clear from having tonsil cancer last year has inspired him further.
He added: “Last year was very eventful for me, I’d been doing a few Frank Sinatra cover shows at care homes and a Bob Dylan and Neil Young tribute at the Steamboat Tavern.
“I was just beginning to be quite optimistic about music and possibly doing some busking, but that all stopped and I had to go through six weeks of radiotherapy.
“There was a chance my voice could have been detrimentally affected in the long run, but thankfully it has been fine and I’m all recovered.”
Mr Winlow will now use some of his free time to write new material.
He said: “I’ve written half a dozen songs and was originally supposed to record my first album this summer – but I’m still very hopeful I can do something in that respect.
“It was a bit of a worry initially, but when I think about it, the situation could be a lot worse.
“It is going to be a bit of a struggle financially, but hopefully it will all be OK.”
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