Taxi firm says new parking rules could drive it out of Chester-le-Street town centre

A TAXI firm claims it could be driven from its town centre base by a council’s enforcement of new parking rules.

ABA Taxis says it used to be able to park three vehicles on yellow lines outside its office in a cul-de-sac near Tesco in South Burns, Chester-le-Street.

But since Durham County Council has taken over parking enforcement from the police it has introduced a new policy restricting each business on the street to one permit only.

ABA Taxis officer manager, Marie Alderson, said a neighbouring hairdresser had offered to transfer her allocated permit to the taxi firm, but was told by council chiefs that it would not be allowed.

Mrs Alderson said: “The hairdresser wasn’t bothered about hers and said she would be happy to transfer her permit to us.

“But when she contacted the council she was told she wouldn’t be allowed to do that and her permit could only be used by the registered business.”

She added: “They haven’t painted the new yellow lines yet, but when they do it is going to have a huge impact on our business and we may have to reconsider whether we can stay here.

“We get a lot of customers who know our business and come and catch taxis here.”

Mrs Alderson said she was not against parking permits as such, but thought the council could be “more understanding and less inflexible”.

She said: “As a private hire firm our drivers have to return to the office when they complete a run.

“We can’t run a taxi business with only one permit. If we could have just one more permit we would be able to manage.”

Adrian White, head of transport at Durham County Council, said: “Whilst we understand the concerns, this is a restricted area and to be fair to everyone, all businesses in the area are only allowed one permit. “ABA taxis is a private hire taxi firm that requires a taxi to be booked in advance.

“They are not permitted to form a taxi rank outside of their property. Where a taxi is being pre-booked and pick up occurs at the office, the permit can be used to allow the taxi to enter the restricted area. “Alternatively, pick up or drop off could be arranged outside of the restricted area.

"There is no requirement for more than one permit at any one time.”

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