WINCHESTER'S civic chief has written to a licensing authority to express concerns over the number of Wolverhampton-registered taxis operation in the city.

It has also been confirmed that officers are looking at ways to limit the impact the drivers are having on Winchester's taxi firms.

The news follows fears being expressed by drivers over the safety of non-Winchester registered cabs, work being taken away from locals, and that fees were going to Wolverhampton City Council rather the Winchester.

As previously reported, Colin Smith, a registered Hackney taxi driver, told councillors earlier this year: "At the moment there are 15 or more Wolverhampton taxis working in Winchester... Instead of applying to Winchester City Council as they don’t think they can pass the relatively easy knowledge test, they bypass this and get a licence very easily at Wolverhampton, they then can work (cross border) as a private hire worker."

Responding to a question from Cllr David McLean at last week's council meeting, environment portfolio holder Jan Warwick said: "Private hire taxi’s operating in Winchester under a Wolverhampton licence plate are able to do so by virtue of the Deregulation Act 2015.

"Winchester City Council’s licensing authority is therefore unable to directly control the numbers of these ‘non’ Winchester licensed vehicles, under current national legislation."

Cllr Warwick added: "The leader has written to Wolverhampton City Council, expressing Winchester’s concerns at their proactive practice of licensing private hire operators across the country and its impact within Winchester.

"The city council would add its voice to that of various regulatory licensing authorities, most notably Transport for London, in seeking legislative change, and Steve Brine MP has also given a commitment to lobby ministers for the Department of Transport."

The Echo understands a response has been received from Wolverhampton City Council, but it was not clear what it said at the time of going to press.


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