Taxi drivers lose battle to stay at town depot

Premier Cars, Bull Green, Halifax.

Premier Cars, Bull Green, Halifax.

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Drivers at a Halifax town centre taxi firm are up-in-arms after a successful appeal to change the business use of the Bull Green site.

In June, Calderdale Council Planning Committee refused the application to change Premier Cars taxi service to office use for applicant National Tyre Service in a meeting attended by dozens of the firms drivers concerned for their livelihoods.

Faisal Shoukat (Lab) who is standin in the Park ward

Faisal Shoukat (Lab) who is standin in the Park ward

Objector coun Faisal Shoukat (Lab, Park) said the applicants proposal for alternative town centre sites were not feasible for the “ethical business enterprise” which takes in excess of 6,000 fares per week.

But objectors and more than 70 Premier Car drivers were dealt a blow this week when the Planning Inspectorate allowed an appeal against the Council’s decision not to permit a change of use on the basis that 70 jobs would be lost for the creation of two National Tyre office jobs.

Planning inspector Helen Heward reported the proposal would not harm the “vitality and viability” of Halifax town centre and the change of use was considered a form of sustainable economic development.

Mr Shoukat said he is “unhappy” about the overturned decision he and councillors made to protect the local economy. “Premier Car drivers can’t simply get work with another taxi firm - companies aren’t issuing radios at the minute and to find town centre premises with parking is proving tough.”

Calderdale Council’s head of planning and highways, Geoff Willerton, said: “The Inspector considered the Council’s objections to the proposed use but ultimately concluded the propsal would not harm the vitality and viability of Halifax town centre and is a form of sustainable economic development.

“The applicant now has three years in which to implement planning permission.”