Waterfront: Plans could see official taxi rank added to the quay

AN official taxi rank could be created on the Waterfront if new proposals are given the go-ahead, it emerged today.

Earlier this year, community representatives spoke out about the need for a permanent cab pick-up point following the rape of a young woman who climbed into a car she wrongly believed was a waiting taxi.

The county council has been in contact with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the town’s taxi drivers association over the idea.

Now plans will be put before councillors which would see the creation of the taxi rank outside Pizza Express in Key Street West.

Councillor Liz Harsant, who represents the Holywells ward, had previously called for a dedicated Waterfront taxi spot.

“I think it’s great that a taxi rank will be brought to the Waterfront,” she said. “It attracts a lot of people and the restaurants are thriving down there.

“People are having to either walk a distance to get a taxi or stand around waiting after calling one.”

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The county council has also set out proposals to pedestrianise the quayside in places.

After a long public inquiry into rights of way on the Waterfront, the area running between Foundry Lane to Ship Launch Road, via Wherry Lane, has now been defined as a restricted byway – meaning vehicles would not be allowed in the area. Private vehicular rights for businesses will be unaffected.

The plans will mean that the public will have the right to walk, cycle and ride a horse on the northern and eastern quays but no longer have the right to drive along it.

The only area to be excluded from the vehicle ban is the section of road circulating the Old Custom House.

A restricted parking zone between the Old Custom House and Shiplaunch Road will also be created with dedicated bays for unloading.

A traffic order consultation will take place before the plans are rubber stamped.

Councillor Guy McGregor, who has responsibility for transport, said: “The taxi rank idea came from the Chamber of Commerce and I think it would be a great facility for people down on the Waterfront.

“These proposals come after a very complex and complicated Rights of Way inquiry and since then we have had a dedicated team working to strike a balance between what the findings were, what traders want, and safety.”

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